You are the boss
Note to editors: This is an extract of a speech prepared for delivery today in the Mataffin village which is part of the Mbombela (Nelspruit) local municipality in Mpumalanga. DA Leader Helen Zille was addressing beneficiaries of a land reform project whose land was given away to the Mbombela municipality to build the World Cup stadium. The houses, jobs and services the community was promised in return never materialized.
Fellow South Africans,
I am here today because I have heard about the way you were treated by your municipality.
I have heard how the Mbombela municipality colluded with a representative of the Matsafeni Trust to steal your land so they could build a World Cup stadium. Your land - which is worth R12 million - was taken away from you and given to the municipality for just R1.
The World Cup has come and gone. But you are still here, living in the informal settlement. Where are the houses and jobs you were promised? Where is the clean water, sanitation and electricity?
Look at this beautiful stadium. It is one of the best in the country. We all love soccer and we are so glad that we have these beautiful venues where our teams can play. But every soccer match here is a cruel reminder of what the municipality did to you.
Why should you have to use candles when the stadium is lit with flood lights? Why should you use long-drop toilets when the stadium has flushable toilets? Why should you have to wait for the water tankers to bring your water when there is clean, running water at the stadium?
The truth about Mbombela is that the money that should have been used to improve your lives has gone into the pockets of municipal officials and councilors. The corruption here is so bad that people are killed for speaking out about it.
Some people think that corruption is not their problem. They think it is something you must just accept, that it is a way of life.
I am here to tell you that corruption is your problem. When politicians are corrupt, they are stealing your money. They are taking away your opportunity for a better life. It is because of corruption that you live without water, sanitation and electricity. It is because of corruption that only one third of the people in Mbombela have access to basic services.
Politicians are not born corrupt. They become corrupt when they realise they can get away with it. They become corrupt because they think that people will always vote for them, no matter how corrupt they become.
It is time to show them who is boss. In a democracy, you have the power. In a democracy, you don't have to put up with corrupt politicians who don't care about you. You can use the power of your vote to make a change.
The DA does not tolerate corruption. We make sure that all councilors declare their business interests so there are no conflicts of interest. We open up tender processes to the public. We protect whistle-blowers. And we fire councilors who are found guilty of corruption.
Everything the DA does in government is designed to benefit the people, not the politicians. This is why more poor people living in DA-governed municipalities have access to more basic services than anywhere else. In Cape Town, households that earn less than R3,000 per month receive a 100% rates rebate, free refuse collection, 10 500 litres of free water and 50 kw hours of free electricity per month.
DA municipalities work. This is why more and more people are moving to DA-governed municipalities like Cape Town. They want to see the DA difference for themselves. But you don't have to move to Cape Town to see the DA difference. You can have it here in Mbombela.
We won't promise to get rid of all your problems. And I can't promise that you will get houses, jobs and basic services overnight. But we will gradually turn this municipality around. We will improve your lives step-by-step.
We will put a stop to the corruption. We will sort out the financial management. We will allocate money to projects that benefit the people. We will make this municipality work. So, whatever you do, make sure you go out and vote on 18 May.
And vote DA.
Because the DA delivers for all!
Issued by the Democratic Alliance, April 14 2011
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