Together we can make ‘The Western Cape Story' South Africa's story
Note to editors: This is a speech delivered by DA Leader Helen Zille in Blue Downs, Cape Town today.
Two weeks ago we launched our national election campaign in Polokwane, Limpopo. Looking over the sea of blue that day, I saw a party ready to fight the most important election of our generation. Never has the DA's resolve been as strong as it is now. That's why we're in Blue Downs today! And I see the whole of Blue Downs is Blue!
Die blou golf het Blue Downs getref. Amaza aluhlaza ayeza eBlue Downs.
This election is about bringing change to South Africa - change that will end corruption, and change that will bring real, permanent jobs.
That is our call in this election: for every South African to stand Together for Change, Together for Jobs.
Saam vir verandering. Saam vir werk.
Siyasebenzisana ukudala utshintsho. Siyasebenzisana ukudala imisebenzi.
We want voters to be clear about their choice this election. The questions each South African must ask before they vote is this: which party is going to honestly fight corruption in government and open opportunities for all? Which party is going to bring changes that create real, permanent jobs and bring down unemployment?
In this election, there will be a lot of people saying they will cut corruption. But those are the same people who are the most corrupt. It doesn't make sense.
Hulle oggend praatjies stem nie saam met hul aand praatjies nie.
In this election, there will be many others telling you that they will create jobs. But those are the same people that promised the same jobs last time. And what happened?
More people are unemployed than ever before.
Daar is meer mense sonder werk vandag as ooit vantevore.
But voters will also know that they can make their choice not just based on party slogans and big promises, but on track record in government. For the first time, the DA enters a national election as a party of government, not just a party of opposition.
Where the DA governs, we have shown that we can deliver change that ends corruption and creates jobs.
While others speak of the better life for all, we are actually delivering it.
That is why we are here today to launch the Western Cape Story, the story of how we have begun to deliver a better life for all where we've been elected to govern. Yes there is still a long way to go, but we are moving, and moving fast, in the right direction.
In this election, we want voters to know what the DA can do if we are given a chance to govern where they live. We want to bring the same story of progress to every corner of South Africa. And we can only do that if the voters give the DA a chance to do so.
And of course, we want to keep improving on the Western Cape Story right here in the Western Cape. And we can only do that if you keep the Western Cape DA.
Over the last five years, the DA has laid the foundation of our vision of an Open, Opportunity Society for All in the Western Cape. Where the DA governs, citizens and government work together to make the economy stronger and society fairer.
If voters stand with us in this election, then step by step we can begin to improve the lives of more and more people around South Africa.
Our rallying call to all South Africans is to stand Together for Change, Together for Jobs.
This is the DA's mission, it is the reason we are so committed to seeing our country prosper and flourish.
But the greatest enemy of this vision is poverty.
Ons grootste vyand is armoede.
Poverty prevents people from using opportunities, because every day is a struggle for survival. Poverty ruins the promise of freedom.
That is why DA's number one priority where we govern is to beat poverty.
We know that for South Africa to succeed, everyone must experience the benefits of freedom. Our country will never be the best it can be unless, in the famous words of the Freedom Charter, "South Africa belongs to all who live in it".
So everything we do has this one goal: to fight poverty by growing the economy so that it creates more jobs.
And we have the formula to do it: clean corruption-free government, good service delivery, improved education and skills training and investment in infrastructure; supporting small business, stimulating job creation, increasing the budget for bursaries and providing internships to give young people work experience. Together these ingredients lead to a growing economy that attracts investment and creates many more real, permanent jobs -- jobs that people can get because they have the necessary skills.
The most important opportunity you can have in your life is a good education. Then, it is possible to get the next great opportunity, which is a job. Where the DA governs, we work Together for Jobs. Ons werk saam vir meer werksgeleenthede.
But we can only do that where the DA governs. And it is only the voters that can put us into government so that we can do what is necessary to create jobs.
We know that the greatest job creators are entrepreneurs. When entrepreneurs start new businesses, they create jobs.
The DA has enabled entrepreneurs to do what they do best: to turn their ideas into successful job-creating businesses.
In this province, we have helped thousands of new businesses to grow and thrive, by making it easier to run a business, and by cutting red tape.
We have assisted 22 000 entrepreneurs with support and finance, and we've opened 20 small business access points across the province.
We also understand that young people need opportunities to get work experience, so that they can get their foot on to the first rung of the ladder to build their careers.
Up until January this year, we were still the only party in South Africa to have actually implemented a youth wage subsidy. President Zuma was forced to implement it finally, after delaying for nearly four years, because he saw that it was working where the DA governs. That's a great example of how the DA leads the way with good policies that get more people working and spread opportunities for all.
We've spent R2-billion on training and skills programmes for nearly 99 000 people. We have offered over 4000 young people work opportunities in our Work and Skills programme.
Zikhona Sangotsha lives in Gugulethu and currently works for Precision Press, a metal pressing company based at Sacks Circle in Bellville. She matriculated from Isilimela Comprehensive School in 2008 but struggled to find permanent work after finishing school.
She submitted her CV to our provincial government during 2012 in the hope of finding some kind of employment. The department contacted her and told her about the Work and Skills programme and offered her an apprenticeship.
Zikhona was then placed at Precision Press and after completing her training was offered a permanent job as an operator at the factory.
That is one small but wonderful example of how we can beat poverty with the right policies. Zikhona's story has been repeated many times over in the Western Cape. We want to repeat it thousands of times over in the rest of South Africa.
We also know that entrepreneurs do not invest in businesses where governments are corrupt. If you want more jobs, you need clean government. Corruption chases away investment and makes poor people even poorer.
Pantsi ngoRhwapilizo pantsi!
This is why the DA's anti-corruption measures go further than any other party.
We are the only party that has passed a law preventing politicians, and officials and their families from doing business with the government. We have opened government tender processes to the public. We have put an end to blue lights and first-class travel.
When we came to office in the Western Cape, not one of the government's departments had received a clean audit under the previous administration. In the DA's first year in office, seven departments achieved clean audits. And last year, we achieved 12 clean audits.
Even President Zuma can't deny it. In 2013, The Presidency rated the Western Cape the best performing provincial government in the country.
The Presidency is not the only national government body that has noticed the DA difference in government. Recently, Statistics SA released a report that shows that the Western Cape created 98 000 jobs in the last quarter of 2013. 70% of all new jobs in South Africa were created under a DA government, and we only govern in one province.
That's not us saying it - it is Stats SA. Imagine what would happen if we governed the whole of South Africa? Everywhere I go, people say to me: Helen, can't the DA come and fix up the place where we live. My answer is: We can. It is up to the voters. We first have to be elected into government.
Let's look at our greatest problem of all: unemployment: At the end of 2013, South Africa had a broad unemployment rate of 34%. Where the DA governs, here in the Western Cape, the unemployment rate is 22%.
That is a massive 12% difference. 12% means tens of thousands of more people have work where the DA governs. We are giving people opportunities to work for a better life.
Since 2012, the number of unemployed people in South Africa has grown by 121 000. But in the Western Cape, the number of unemployed people has actually shrunk by 48 000. That means while unemployment grew in the rest of the country, there are 48,000 fewer unemployed people in the Western Cape. Each extra person in a job means a person who has hope and a family that has food.
In Gauteng, the DA governs in one municipality - Midvaal. And Midvaal has the lowest unemployment in the whole province of Gauteng.
With clean government and a focus on policies that support entrepreneurs and young people, the DA has proved that high unemployment does not have to be permanent in South Africa. We can create real, permanent jobs!
That is the change that we can bring to South Africa. That is the change that South Africa needs.
Everything the DA does is focused on providing opportunities to the poorest citizens. Everything!
We know that nothing is more important to open opportunities for all than fixing our education system.
The DA spends over 80% of our education budget on the poorest 60% of our learners.
In 2009, when we came into office, there were 85 schools in the Western Cape that were underperforming - schools with a pass rate of below 60%, where children were not getting the quality of education that they deserve. Five years later, we have reduced that number to just 23. In the next five years, if the voters give us the chance to govern again, we will reduce it to zero.
We have more than doubled what the previous ANC government used to spend on food for poor children at schools. We now spend R260 million a year on our school feeding scheme, so that children eat in the morning when they come, and during the school day.
This year, we will add another 216 no-fee schools to the 673 schools that already are on the no-fee programme.
And we are still the only province where matric markers have to pass a competency test before they are allowed to mark matric exams.
Where the DA governs, children are getting a head start in life. And that attracts businesses, including major international companies that need skilled staff. They know they will find those skills where the DA governs. This is part of the virtuous circle of opportunity!
We also know that we cannot beat poverty unless poor communities have access to basic services.
That is why in the Western Cape we spend 76% of our budgets on poor communities. That means that nearly 8 rand out of every 10 rand is spent delivering services, health, education, housing and social services to those people who need it most.
And it shows in the results. We have delivered the best overall performance scores in health, education and social development. Where the DA governs more people have access to water, flush toilets and electricity than anywhere else in the country. Let's look at the numbers - kom ons kyk na die syfers - 99.1% of people have access to running water, 90.5% have access to flush toilets, and 93.4% have electricity.
We have invested billions in upgrading the poorest communities with new roads and infrastructure.
We want to ensure that every single person has access to basic services that they need to improve their lives, including quality health care.
We have built two brand new state-of-the-art hospitals in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, which together service 500 000 people.
Nearly 80% of the Western Cape's health budget is spent on providing health care in poor communities in Cape Town and the rest of the province. When the DA took over the Western Cape in 2009, there was a vacancy rate of 34% for nurses. In the last five years we have brought that down to just 1%. That equals over 6 000 additional nurses working in our hospitals!
I cannot give you all of the detail of The Western Cape Story in one speech. The document we release today details all of this and much more.
It talks about how much money we have invested in the fight against drugs and alcohol abuse - building new rehabilitation centres and clinics. People often ask me about crime and policing. It is important for me to stress, once again, that Provinces have no power over the SAPS. We only have oversight powers. And we are doing all we can to monitor the SAPS to ensure a proper police service for the people. But to really fix policing, the DA must win a national election. It is the people's choice.
Our story shows how we've delivered more houses and handed over more than 80 000 title deeds, making people land owners for the first time. And it shows how we have helped our agricultural and rural economy to thrive.
The Western Cape Story is one of hard work and dedication to the voters. We don't take any voter for granted.
Nelson Mandela's dream for a united, prosperous South Africa where everyone has a chance in life is happening right here in the Western Cape. It is alive where the DA governs.
Step by step we are building the South Africa that we all wish for, and that we know is possible.
There is a still a long way to go in the Western Cape and across South Africa. Too many people still live in poverty. There is still a huge divide between the rich and the poor. There are still people living without access to basic services. There is still much we can do to improve their lives.
The Western Cape Story shows that we are moving in the right direction. We think every citizen in South Africa deserves the same change where they live. The chance to work together for change, together for jobs.
If you want to see the direction in which all of South Africa can go, look at the Western Cape Story.
If you want to make this story the South African story, then vote for the government that did it here, and that it can do it everywhere.
And so our message in this election is very simple and clear:
If we stand together for change, we can turn the Western Cape Story into the South African story.
If we stand together, we can bring down unemployment, open up opportunities to all and create real, permanent jobs.
Stand together with the DA on May 7.
DA 7 May DA 7 May. DA all the way, DA all the way.
Staan saam met die DA!
Stand together with the DA to write the next chapter of the Western Cape Story.
Together for Change, Together for Jobs.
Viva DA! Viva DA!
Issued by the DA, March 8 2014
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