Joburg’s plight shows why we need to unite to rescue SA

John Steenhuisen says we can't allow a fragmented vote to plunge whole country into similar instability and dysfunction


1 September 2023

Yesterday’s tragic fire that has claimed over 70 lives, and last month’s gas explosion that caused havoc in Johannesburg’s central business district, are not isolated incidents of bad luck or unavoidable “acts of God”.

Rather, like last year’s KZN flood damage, they are avoidable disasters, the consequence of an incapable government that has failed to get the basics right and failed to take proper precautions on behalf of residents.

South Africa’s capital city is literally falling apart, as are the lives of its residents, as they slide deeper into poverty and unemployment.

Meanwhile, the Joburg council is rocked by instability, the natural result of a highly fragmented vote in the November 2021 local elections that put 18 parties into the 270-seat council, with 8 of those having just one seat yet holding the balance of power.

No party or group of likeminded parties won a majority, and each side needs the tiny parties and the delinquent, unreliable Patriotic Alliance to get into government, meaning the council is up for sale to the highest bidder, with extortion being the order of the day. This has led to a merry-go-round of motions of no confidence and five changes of mayor.

This week, the DA put the only workable solution on the table: fresh elections. The constitution allows for this two years after an election, if instability has ensued.

Now that Joburg residents have witnessed and experienced the instability and breakdown in services that results from a fragmented vote, they need the opportunity to rethink and re-issue their mandate.

Joburg’s plight is a valuable lesson for voters ahead of the 2024 provincial and national elections. We cannot allow a fragmented vote to plunge South Africa into the same instability and dysfunction, nor can we endure another five years of neglect and decay at the hands of the ANC.

Rather, the way forward is to unite behind a new government that can build a capable, professional, people-centred state. This is the motivation for the Multi-Party Charter For South Africa, a pre-election agreement signed two weeks ago to offer South Africa an alternative with a credible path to power.

The DA is committed to the Charter and to the shared governing principles that the seven parties have pledged to uphold.

The South African Constitution, the rule of law, and equality before the law.

Decentralising power to the lowest effective level of government.

Accountable, transparent government with zero tolerance for corruption.

Capable government that spends public money efficiently to deliver quality services to all.

Caring government that puts people first and prioritises the poor.

An open market economy.

Policies guided by evidence that they produce positive results for society.

Redress our unjust past by promoting nonracialism and unity in our diversity.

In 2024, South Africans need to unite around these winning principles. The Charter is South Africa’s best, indeed only, hope for replacing chaos and suffering with progress and prosperity.

The DA is bigger than all the other Charter parties combined. Our role is to provide the strong centre that anchors the Charter to these values. The very best way to ensure stability and avoid the situation that has played out in Johannesburg since 2021 is to vote for the DA in 2024.

Please direct your friends and family to kickstart their registration process online by visiting check.da.org.za. Every one of us has a role to play in rescuing South Africa and building a resilient, successful country.

Yours sincerely

John Steenhuisen

DA leader