NEWS & ANALYSIS

DA and SA need a workable alternative – John Moodey

Leadership candidate says it is not in his nature to oversell himself and under-deliver

The DA and SA need a workable alternative 

24 February 2020

Note to editors: below is a speech delivered by John Moodey MPL at his campaign launch today

In the early 1990s South Africans, mostly White, were emigrating by the hundreds each day.

They were fleeing from South Africa, believing that the country would descend in chaos, that law and order would breakdown.

They believed that their safety was at risk and a future in SA bleak.

Those who decided to stay proved them wrong.

We achieved the impossible by ushering in a new dispensation that sought to uplift all South Africans, particularly those who had been subjected to apartheid, a heinous system of abuse and degradation of humanity- in fact a crime against humanity.

Our first democratic elections in 1994, ushered in a stable government, with a future that looked promising, and the call to build a Rainbow Nation was taken up by all.

Internationally, South Africa was hailed as the miracle Nation.

Fellow South Africans and Democrats, today 26 years on, our beloved South Africa is in a deep crisis.

We are on the brink of becoming a failed State.

Our economy is in tatters.

Poverty and crime spurred on by high unemployment is rife.

It appears that we are on the brink of collapse.

As a result, like in the early 1990’s, South Africans are once more leaving our shores in droves. 

What is different this time around is that it is South Africans from all race groups, mostly the young, highly qualified and skilled people who are taking flight. A brain drain we can ill afford. 

It is these people, who under the malaise of a failed government, see no future. They see no hope. They leave behind millions who only have SA as our home. We cannot give up hope. We must get South Africa working again.

Before we embark upon projects of building TVETs, another university in Gauteng and establishing youth skills development funds, all noble plans, we need to create job opportunities to absorb job seekers. That is why we have to fix our failing economy first.

We need to make structural changes to our economic regime mix to ensure that we arrest the economic slide we are on. We can have an investment and economic summit every other day but unless we address the core obstacles that hinders economic growth, we will not succeed. 

My Workable Alternative to this crisis compels us to step into the unknown, into that space that carefully combines the needs of Labour and Capital, in order to find common ground to shared prosperity.

Senior representatives of all stakeholders, such as Organised Labour, Captains of Industry, Government and Civil Society should get together, be visionary enough to take a serious look at how they can work together to address the issues that inhibit economic growth and be more progressive, more inventive, more imaginative to find the correct mix and workable alternatives.

They have to be willing to put the interests of the country and our people first.

If the two principal stakeholders (Capital and Labour) can come to an understanding that they are partners in the economic realm and not enemies, thatit is not about winning or losing but about how they can contribute to ensuring that not only their business or Organisation interests are served, but that the economy succeeds and grows., then we will create a stable economic environment which will encourage Foreign Direct and local investment. 

Factually speaking Organised Labour (unions) has a vested interest in getting the economy back on a growth path, as large portions their member’s pension funds are invested on the Stock Exchange.

Government should ensure that there is policy certainty, by drafting a universally accepted fair legal framework to stabilize the labour and production market. Furthermore government should ensure the supply of reliable and sustainable power, water and bulk infrastructure to facilitate a business friendly environment. 

Government should also do away with unnecessary red tape, to allow an easy seamless administration to assist in the registration of businesses.

We get our economy to work, South Africa will work. Jobs will be created and the path out of poverty be plotted, with hope restored. We could call this The Social Pact for Change.

SA faces other inhibiting factors and problems that need urgent serious attention.

Unemployment 

The serious matter of unemployment can only truly be addressed if the above mentioned Social Pact for Change is achieved.

With a stable economic and labour environment, the injection of investment into the Economy would create sustainable job opportunities. 

Government should use the R50 billion annual SOE bailout money to create a Development Fund.

This fund should be used to fund skills development programs, provide 

Seeding capital loans for micro and small start-up businesses. 

With this fund an academy for developing local innovation should be established at which talented young innovators are mentored and groomed.

The fund should assist in stimulating the ailing agricultural sector, by training youth in the rural areas in agricultural sciences.

Crime and the Criminal Justus System 

South Africa ranks among the top crime infested countries internationally.

Our police are under resourced, poorly trained and badly lead.

Corruption is rife in the service.

Trade Union involvement hinders the maintenance of disciple and implementing consequent management practice.

Promotions are based on political affiliation.

Crime prevention and crime intelligence technics are practically non-existent.

Arrests and conviction rates are shamefully low.

Workable alternative 

All staff should be subjected to a skills audit.

All employees should be screened in order to weed out criminals.

Promotions should be based on merit and qualifications.

Recruitment process should be stringent so as to weed out job- seekers and identify careerists

SAPS functions and command to be devolved to provinces.

Establish well trained and equipped Specialised Units to combat organised crime, drug cartels, commercial crimes, rural safety, murders and Cash in transit heists.

Public Service and Service delivery 

Incompetence in the Public Service is the main cause of poor service delivery standards across all public service departments.

Much of the demise in service standards in our public services is due to a poor work ethic, union interference, poor management and leadership, with no consequence management.

Corruption through the abuse of Supply Chain Management Processes is rife.

Workable alternative 

Professionalise the public service, through on the job training programs.

Re-introduce discipline and accountability together with consequence management.

Establish a public service academy to provide compulsory induction training. Further promotion in the service should be facilitated via compulsory accredited training courses at the academy.

State Owned Entities

We have 700 failing SOEs, costing the country no less than R50 billion in bailout funding every year. Wherever possible these entities such as Eskomshould be unbundled, restructured and where necessary be submitted to PPP business arrangements or be sold off. The monopoly Eskom enjoys must be stopped.

Health

Our Health system has all but collapsed. The NHI is not the solution, it has the threat of collapsing the private health sector too. 

Workable alternative 

Explore the feasibility of entering into Public Private Partnerships with the private sector.

Go back to the basics, fix up the fundamentals, and restore professionalism

Each hospital should be run as an Independant business entity, managed by professionals.

Each citizen should be provided with a basic medical health insurance grant. They can seek medical attention at a facility of their choice.

NHI will become but another source of funds to be looted.

Land and property rights

The erosion of property rights will destroy investment and growth in ways even more disastrous than all the sordid deeds committed by the present government over the last 26 years. 

I can understand the fear farmers face of the possibility of their farms being without compensation. This would put food security at risk. 

Farm murders is a form of terrorism and must be addressed as such.

Alternative solution

The Constitution as it is makes adequate provision for land restitution.

Use of State owned land should be used as a restitution mechanism.

The principal of willing seller willing buyer should be upheld.

Well trained and resourced specialised rural crime prevention units should be established to combat farm murders.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are a few of what I deem the most pressing problems we face.

My team is busy drafting my manifesto which would address education, Transport-infrastructure and other ailing entities prevalent in government and the private sector.

Fellow South Africans, Democrats, a few weeks ago I declared my intention to contest for the position of Federal Leader of the Democratic Alliance.

I believe that I am the best candidate.

I have travelled the journey of life, from an Apartheid past to the present and had learnt many life lessons along the way, in the process I had acquired two PHDs; one from the university of Life and the other from the University of Hard Knocks. I have never been an idol critic. As an activist I had opposedapartheid by getting involved in civic movements and the trade union movement.

At the age of 6 I had my first real unforgettable experience of apartheid etched into my memory. My family was forcefully removed from Doornfontein to Western Coloured Township, a ghetto. This event totally changed my life. I got to experience first-handwhat poverty is, going without food isn’t strange to me. 

I do not have the time to tell you my life story, however I need to share but one experience from which I learned to forgive and work on reconciliation. My experience of forgiveness and reconciliation is embedded in the South African psyche.

I was about 10 years old, we were involved in an accident and my brother was badly injured. An ambulance arrived within a short time and the paramedics began to tend to my brother. When they realized that he was Coloured, they immediately stopped assisting him, radioed in and directed that a K .... ambulance be dispatched. If I had not applied pressure to my brother’s gaping wound, he would have bled out and died by the time the K..... ambulance arrived.

Despite many years of discrimination in everyday life and in the workplace, I not only overcame my frustration and inner anger, but was able through numerous life experiences, to meet and interact with people of all races, cultures from all walks of life, from the slums in the townships to the boardrooms of Sandton. Through this ongoing experience of transition, I am able to interact and communicate with anyone. This is how I further developed my leadership qualities. 

What the party stands for resonates with my own ethos.

During my 22 years in the party I have served at various levels of its structures.

I have been a Branch Chairman, a Deputy Regional Chairman. I have held the office of Gauteng Provincial Chairman and subsequently as Gauteng Provincial Leader for a total of four terms.

Rising gradually through the ranks of the Party, I have been afforded the opportunity to engage with members of the party at various levels. The opportunities I have been afforded have allowed me to understand the hopes, dreams and desires of our people.

Equally, it has allowed me to take stock of their fears, frustrations and challenges.

At every turn I have always championed for the voice of each member to be heard and valued as an individual, just as I had done during the time of the struggle, I continue to oppose injustice and oppression in any form or guise, without fear or favour. 

Today I officially launch my campaign to serve as the Federal Leader of the DA.

I do so, because of the 44 odd years of experience in actively serving SA. I believe that if the work of the opposition fails, then so too does our nation fail.

The party has been through numerous difficulties in the last 12 months.

In all but a handful of places, we have regressed.

The reasons for this are numerous. Some of them are of own making. Some of them have been external issues.

But, the time for blame is over.

The time has come for us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and work tirelessly to win back those South Africans who felt betrayed by us and to regain the trust of those who may have contemplated us as a solution to the Nation’s numerous challenges.

It is not in my nature to oversell myself and end up under delivering on my promises.

I also believe in addressing the root cause of the problem and not treating the symptoms for fear of losing support.

I will admit that our poor showing at the polls has had a negative impact upon our public representatives, activists and our loyal supporters.

Our poor performance and indecisiveness on sensitive issues has had a negative impact upon the Nation.

All democracies are strengthened when there is a strong, vibrant opposition.

I do not believe that the DA is decimated and in disarray due our poor performance at the polls last year. Furthermore, I do not believe that we have lost our moral compass or shed our core values.

However, I recognize we  went fundamentally wrong at times and alienated our support base in its entirety, as we did not only loose White Afrikaner support, we lost White English, Coloured, Black and Indian support as well.

The scripted and banal introduction of the Diversity clause as a pillar of our Values of Freedom Fairness and Opportunity at our last congress, the unfortunate reposting of racist social media messages, Tweets on colonialism - advancing violence on social media in response to a painful racist abuse of a farm labourer and charging into a volatile potentially racist argument in SchwiezerReneke, are but some of the issues that did us no favours.

So too did the exclusion of elected branch leadership and public representatives in our newly adopted campaign model and the jettisoning of tried and tested methods, add to our demise.

To be blunt, we had at those critical times been our own worst enemy.

But we have already started to work to put right that which has ailed us.

The acceptance of the recommendations made by the review panel, is a step in the right direction.

We are however plagued by policy uncertainty, with the issue of Race occupying centre stage. 

It is not a unique situation that we find ourselves in.

Twenty six years after freedom, we are still grappling with issues of inequality, poverty and hopelessness.

The questions are placed at our doorstep because, despite our recent short-comings, it is the DA that people look to for hope.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to ensure that the DA works, and that it works well.

We owe it not only to ourselves as elected public representatives, activists and volunteers. We owe South Africans from every walk of life, a strong, vibrant DA that champions the plight of every citizen of this country.

If we want to live up to our vision of establishing ONE South Africa for all, grounded on the pillars of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity, we have to deal with and find a solution acceptable for all South Africans. It has to start right within our Party. The great Mahatma Gandhi said, “Let the change you want to see begin with yourself”.

These cannot be solutions for some while not addressing the needs of others.

Policies such as BEE and Affirmative Action, attacks on property rights and continued threats to private citizens remain contentious issues.

We cannot wish them away.

We must stand steadfast in our beliefs and engage in robust debate on these important issues, not just through the prism of the Party, but with broader society.

We need to live out the principles of liberalism, not only believe in them or argue whose liberalism is the one true faith.

It is imperative that we are pragmatic in our approach, while we argue about the meaning of liberalism and destroy our brand in the process. These issues do not touch on the lived experiences of ordinary citizens, most battling to irk out a living, concerned about putting food on the table.

We must learn to respect each other’s views, practice tolerance and more than anything else accept the fact that as individuals - diverse in character, of different beliefs, different life experiences, diversity of culture, we sew together the colourful tapestry of the DA.

We should find strength in our diversity, not weakness. 

If we embrace this philosophy, it is the strongest weapon we have in our arsenal to not only fix the errors that have set us back, but to elevate South Africa to the status of a thriving, prosperous nation.

There is a saying that goes, “if you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you do something, anything can happen”.

That is why I have chosen action over complacency.

And it is in the spirit of this that I stand here today to tell you that I am committed to my Country and my Party. I am a believer, a Democrat, a Liberal and I am a South African.

I extend my hand to each of you and invite you help me achieve the greatness that I know is inherent in each of us.

If the DA works, South Africa works.

Let us build One Nation with One Future.

Issued by John Moodey MPL, DA elective congress candidate: Federal Leader, 24 February 2020