This is your time to stand up for South Africa
Note to editors: This is an extract of a speech delivered by DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko MP today at the DA Youth Federal Congress in Johannesburg, Newtown.
My fellow Liberals and young democrats;
I am proud to address you today, not only as a leader of this party, but also as a leader who also happens to be young.
Some people think, and some used to say, that because I am 33 years old, I am too young to lead. One must be older, I was told, to be involved in politics - and certainly much older to play an active role in changing the course of this country.
My response to them has always been clear and simple. It is also my message to you today.
It is the hands of the youth of this country which will build the South Africa we hoped for in 1994.
Our elders and predecessors have laid the foundations for freedom in our country, but it is our hands that will build the South Africa they dreamed of; the South Africa they fought for.
This is why we say "Honour Your Past; Own Your Future; Know Your DA"
We are not too young. In fact, we are precisely the right age for these times.
We have the hope and inspiration and determination to put South Africa back on the path we embarked upon in 1994.
Each and every one of you, in this hall, in your branches, communities and provinces, can help do this for South Africa.
I can feel the change in the air already. I see it in your faces. I see it in the faces of the many young people I have met around the country.
Our time has come!
And not a moment too soon, because South Africa needs us.
Under the increasingly corrupt government of President Jacob Zuma, we are living in a country that is losing its way.
South Africa now makes international news for its scandals, and no longer for being a model of hope and reconciliation.
The most recent in the long line of scandals is the so-called ‘Gupta-gate'; yet another shameless abuse of our state resources.
This latest fiasco, in which our country's security was arrogantly undermined for the sake of friends with political connections, is indicative of an administration that puts friends before country.
Interestingly, President Zuma has been silent on this saga, while his ministers and party hypocritically fall over each other to point fingers at officials and diplomats. But no one will explain how this was allowed to happen, and more importantly, who will be held accountable.
They don't want to answer these questions because they know the answers already: we have a compromised government which has established a culture where friends of those in "high places" think they can do whatever they like.
But we will never allow this to stand. We will use every mechanism available to us to get to the bottom of this - I can guarantee you here, today.
As we look forward to the future, our response as young leaders to these scandals must be to make it clear that we will not accept this culture of no accountability as the government so shamelessly does.
We know what type of South Africa we want, and we must demand nothing less.
Already we are seeing this shift taking place.
This generation is increasingly saying: ‘We deserve better than this!'
And this is why the 2014 general election promises to be a game-changing moment in our history.
Next year, 3 million young South Africans will be voting for the first time. According to a South African Reconciliation Barometer 58% of young South Africans will consider voting for a party different to their parents.
At every election, we hear politicians claim that this one is a turning point.
But this time, it really will be.
Because we are breaking through the old narratives created by ANC propaganda campaigns about what the DA supposedly is - who we are - and we're telling South Africans the truth:
The truth is that our leaders did fight against Apartheid.
Across South Africa, as we speak, we are telling this untold story and South Africans are listening - in fact, they want to know why they were denied the truth by the ANC for so long.
This is precisely what is causing the ANC to have sleepless nights: the campaign is working! It's the reason they disturbed the retirement of our most venerated elder statesman last week, invading his home, posing for pictures with fake smiles on their faces.
The ANC is running scared.
They know that once they can't resort to lies about us, South Africans will begin to vote on the basis of delivery and merit.
The ANC knows that when South Africans hear about the courageous role played by young black liberals during the fight against apartheid, that they cannot claim that our vision for South Africa will not benefit all.
And they know when they see each and every one of us in this room, in all our beautiful diversity that they can no longer deny what everyone else can see - that change is coming!
In 2013, the DA wants to create a new brand of politics which is greater than where you place your cross on the ballot paper.
We believe everyone can participate in putting South Africa back on track - from the city dweller to the resident of the remotest village.
Instead of expecting young people to come to us, we must go to where young people are.
And this is where you - the DA youth - are making the difference.
You are standing up, being counted, organizing and marching.
You are proposing bold answers to complex economic and social problems.
You are tweeting and facebooking and sharing your opinion on Mxit.
You are already leading the way to the Union Buildings in 2019!
We must continue with this hard work. We cannot rest. We must show South Africans who we really are. We cannot allow ourselves to be dictated to by our opponents.
We can all be that generation of leaders that history will honour for defending our constitution and delivering the freedom we can all use.
Democrats, as I look out, I see the best of South Africa before me. There is nothing that we can't achieve if we stand together, stick to our principles and continue believing in what South Africa can be.
Let us declare: our time is now!
Let us stand up for the Constitution.
Let us stand up for a freedom we can use.
Let us stand up for the South Africa we all believe in.
Viva DA, viva!
Issued by the DA, May 4 2013
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