13 May 2019
Dear public reps, staff members, activists and members of the DA
Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice during the campaign. Thank you to the professional staff, Team One SA members, provincial leaders, members of the federal executive and, most importantly, thank you to the DA's activists. As a party, I believe we pulled together and ran a solid operation, motivated by noble intentions. Unfortunately, we did not get the result we wanted. For the first time in the history of our party we have lost ground.
This has indeed been a setback, but only a temporary one. We can and must recover.
Without doubt, we made mistakes and many issues should have been better handled. For the sake of our country, we need an honest assessment of why we failed to achieve our objectives. Then we need to make the necessary changes however tough that might be, so that we can emerge stronger than before.
The most crucial thing is that we must continue to stand for One South Africa for All. We must continue to build with and for all the people of this country. We have a moral duty to occupy the rational centre of South Africa's politics. We dare not pander to the left or right; we must occupy the centre.
I remain 100% committed to continuing the work of uniting people, be they black, white, coloured or Indian, around the shared values required to build a successful South Africa that generates opportunities for all. The imperative to build a non-racial alternative at the centre of SA's politics is, if anything, stronger than ever.
As leader of the DA, I take full responsibility for the outcome of this election. I can honestly and in good conscience state that I did my very best and gave everything of myself in the run-up to this election. I appreciate the support of the federal executive and members of the party. I will be working with the federal executive to address the challenges.
I have commissioned a review process chaired by an impartial person from outside the party, to ensure that we properly evaluate the reasons behind the result. It has been endorsed by the partys federal executive. All aspects of the campaign will be honestly assessed.
I will be meeting with all the structures in every province, to hear from people first-hand their opinions of what went wrong and what changes are required. Federal Council will be brought forward to expedite the changes required. Dates will be sent to you in due course.
The DA remains the only party with the size, structures, experience and policy framework required to govern South Africa successfully. Let me be clear. This party remains South Africa's best, if not only, hope.
We cannot afford to undertake a period of self-destruction. We also cannot afford not to undergo a period of constructive change. We have to use this outcome as an opportunity to change what needs to be changed and then we must build on from there.
Ultimately, we may disagree on the finer details, but we all agree on the key ingredients of SA's success: The Constitution, the rule of law, and a market-driven economy and capable state that together generate opportunity for all.
And so, our only option now is to come back stronger than before. Votes are our currency.
We rmust work hard to win back lost support, to retain the support we have, and to win new support
Where we govern, we must govern to the very best of our ability, with humility and distinction. Where we are in opposition, we must perform our roles as MPs, MPLs and Councillors with dedication and determination. We must build a core group of people who share our values and are willing to fight for them.
Of course, it must also be acknowledged that the election played out in a context which was tough for the DA, and over which we had no control. It is widely accepted that the ANC would have imploded were it not for Ramaphosa, who enabled his party to escape punishment for grand-scale corruption and maladministration.
Be that as it may, I remain adamant that we are fighting the right cause, and that it is worth the fight and worth the blows we will inevitably take along the way. When the fight seems impossible to win, that's when our country needs us most of all.
Our focus now is towards 2021. In particular, we must focus on the places we already govern.
Ward by ward, we must do the groundwork necessary to build trust and confidence in our party and in our vision of One South Africa for All.
Congratulations to all those who got elected. To those of you who didn't get elected, I urge you to stay the course. It is going to be a long, hard journey but our hope and love for this country will carry us through.
Yours with heartfelt gratitude