Defacement of statues a distraction - Mmusi Maimane

DA PL says that reconciliation cannot happen without transformation

Parliament needs to actively work towards a reconciled and transformed SA

9 April 2015

The EFF have taken the very serious issue of overcoming the legacy of apartheid and reduced it to a campaign to vandalise statues, the latest being the Louis Botha statue outside Parliament.

As political parties represented in Parliament, we have a sacred duty to ensure that this institution plays a central role in the transformation of South Africa.

Scribbling on statues outside Parliament is easy. The real challenge for parties represented in Parliament is to ensure its agenda is focused centrally on transforming society. 

The defacement of statues is a total distraction from the heart of the issue. Poverty and inequality remain with us 21 years after Apartheid because of the ANC's failure to transform South Africa. That is the real scandal in our country.

Why have they failed? It is because the priority of those in power today is self-enrichment.

In the process the ANC has failed to build a capable state, provide transformative leadership, and activate citizens by working with them to expand opportunity to more South Africans.

That is why the Democratic Alliance has fought to ensure that lasting, substantive transformation is debated in this institution. 

The goal for South Africa should be to build a nation where all, black and white, live and experience the freedoms of democracy. 

The true cause of transformation must be for more and more South Africans to find their way out of poverty, backed by a capable state that delivers opportunity for more citizens. That is the only path towards a fairer, more equal society.

That is why we have fought in Parliament for the rights of learners to have quality teachers and textbooks on time. 

We have fought for the rights of deserving young South Africans to access higher education through greater funding allocations. 

We have fought for South Africans to feel safer in their communities, protected by a well-resourced and trained police service.

We have fought for greater equality in healthcare, by putting the deplorable state of major public hospitals on the agenda.

We have fought against corruption and the breakdown of basic service delivery.

We have fought for equality before the law, and a criminal justice system that treats all South Africans fairly and ensures that politicians are not above the law. 

We have fought against job-killing legislation and budgets balanced on the backs of the poor. In turn we have advocated for policies capable of growing the economy by 8%, and creating more work for more people.

The preamble of our Constitution states that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. We must make this a reality in our country in a substantive way. 

We cannot erase history, and we cannot escape the fact that our heritage is intertwined as South Africans. The challenge is to build this heritage into a vision for an inclusive future in South Africa. 

The Democratic Alliance will therefore call for a debate on the role of symbols in transforming and reconciling South Africa.

At CODESA we never chose black domination, we never chose white domination, we chose reconciliation. This was a choice that South Africans made, and it remains our historical mission as a nation. 

Today we cannot deny that it is black youth, in the main, who are burdened by the slow pace of transformation in society.

That is why we must not be fooled - reconciliation cannot happen without transformation. But equally, cowardly defacing a statue outside Parliament will never serve the cause of true transformation either.

It is frankly embarrassing for the EFF to be scribbling on statues outside Parliament when they have every opportunity to raise the real challenges our country faces inside this institution, but choose not to.

Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane MP, DA Parliamentary Leader, April 9 2015

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