Be brave and choose change here in KZN – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says he is not asking voters to be loyal to the party for life

Be brave and choose change here in KZN

7 May 2019

My fellow South Africans,

Tomorrow we all have a date with destiny. We have one chance to do something great for our country and for our future generations. If we don’t use this opportunity, it will be five more years before we get to do so again. And South Africa cannot afford another five years under this ANC government.

Never before has the fate of our country hung in the balance as it does in this election. In several provinces, as well as nationally, the ANC is facing the prospect of losing its majority. And that includes KZN.

Change is within our reach. But if that is to happen, then everyone who wants change, has to go out and vote for it. Because that’s the only way democracy works for you.

I know that change isn’t easy. I understand why people are hesitant to step away from that which they’ve become used to. I understand why it sometimes feels more comfortable to stick with what you know and to do what you’ve always done. But this won’t deliver the country you want.

I also know that choosing the DA can be hard when our opponents fight by different rules. Choosing the road less travelled takes courage. Just this week one of our young activists here in KwaMashu was viciously attacked by IFP supporters for wearing a DA T-shirt and refusing to attend their meeting.

Thankfully he has recovered from his injuries, but the fact that people aren’t safe in choosing their party and stating this publicly is unacceptable. This behaviour does not belong in our modern democracy. I am sorry that this happened to one of our young supporters, but I am also extremely proud that he vowed not to be deterred by undemocratic thugs, and that his vote will still be for the DA, and for change.

It takes bravery to choose change. And now is the time for South Africans to be brave.

I don’t need to tell you that we can’t continue on the path we are as a country. Under this ANC, we are heading for certain disaster. You only need to look around you in this metro of eThekwini to see that the ANC, as a party of government, is a failed experiment. They served their purpose as a liberation movement, but their toxic factionalism and greed has made of them a complete failure as a governing party.

The strikes you have seen recently across this city are a direct result of ANC patronage and corruption. This is what happens when you have a Mayor who makes deals to secure her own power. A Mayor who offers jobs and positions to those in her party structures in return for their support. She would not have become the Regional Chair, and then Mayor, were it not for those deals with the MK Vets, the Youth League and the Women’s League.

But this meant hiring connected people at pay grades way higher than those already in the jobs, and clearly this was going to cause much unhappiness. That is why this city has been brought to its knees by strikes. That is why this city’s water infrastructure has been repeatedly sabotaged, with pipes cut and reservoirs damaged. That is why Durban is filthy, with Durban Solid Waste Unit workers on strike.

ANC politics always ends up like this. Patronage and corruption lead to factions and internal wars. And when this happens, it is the people of the city who suffer. This is why we need change – here in KwaMashu, in Durban, in KZN and in our country. The ANC, as a government, is dead.

President Ramaphosa was here just the other day, but he didn’t bother to intervene in this situation. He was quick to step in when Alexandra in Gauteng was burning, because that was part of his ANC’s campaign. But here in Durban he clearly has no intention of restoring order and ensuring that services continue for the people of this city. As far as he is concerned, you are on your own here.

The good news, fellow South Africans, is that change is within reach. The DA looks set to retain the Western Cape, as well as bring new governments to Gauteng and the Northern Cape in this election. And the latest polls show that KZN is also ready for change. If everyone who cares about turning this province around goes out to vote tomorrow, the ANC will drop below 50% here, and KZN could get a brand new coalition government.

This is the future of South African politics – coalition governments. But in order for them to work in the best interest of the people, we have to agree on the terms of such a coalition. For the DA, there are three non-negotiable “P’s” which we will demand from partners, and which we will never violate ourselves. These three P’s refer to Principles, Plan and People.

The principles that are essential to any functioning coalition involving the DA are a commitment to a non-racial future, the protection of the Constitution, the building of a market-based economy, the development of a capable state and the eradication of corruption.

The second P – the plan – refers to our agenda for reform. There is no point in bringing in a new government if this doesn’t bring with it the change we so desperately need. And so we will need broad agreement on a credible plan for change. The DA has such a plan for complete reform, including set goals for our first 100 days of government.

And the last P refers to the people appointed to any government managed by DA-led coalitions. And here I mean competent, fit-for-purpose people who are able to turn the administration around. Our coalitions will reject the cadre deployment and nepotism that have become synonymous with ANC governments. Here in KZN we have seen what happens when comrades are appointed and offered inflated salaries and big bonuses in exchange for loyalty. We will never allow this in a DA-led coalition government.

Coalitions built around these agreed-upon conditions will bring change. And that’s all this election should be about: Working together for change. Don’t listen to those who tell you your vote should be an expression of your race or your language or your religion. Those are not people on a mission to build one South Africa for all. Those are not people interested in change.

If you are tired of the politics of greed and patronage, choose change.

If you are tired of chaos and neglect in your city and your neighbourhood, choose change.

If you are tired of feeling like a prisoner in your own home while the criminals walk free, choose change.

If you are tired of seeing our young people locked out of opportunities, choose change.

If you are tired of the same old empty promises from the same old failed government, then you must choose change. It is your democratic duty.

I’m not saying change will be easy. Many of you will have to be brave and do something you’re never done before. But I am saying to you that your bravery will be rewarded. It will be worth it, I guarantee you.

When we look back at this moment in history, you will say: I was part of that generation that changed this country for the better. I was among the first in my community to stand up and say “Enough is enough!”

So let us go out tomorrow and make this democracy work for us. Let us put the power of our votes to use by firing a government that has let us down, and hiring one with a proven track record of delivery.

Let us vote for a government that has shown it can put a job in every home.

Let us vote for a government that has a clean record when it comes to corruption.

Let us vote for a government that has a plan and policies to put young people in jobs.

Let us vote for a government that will fix our police service and keep our people safe.

Let us vote for the only party that gets things done, and that’s the DA.

I am not asking you to be loyal to the DA for life. I am asking you to think about your future and to think about your children.

I’m asking you to give change a chance.

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 7 May 2019