Give DA five years on its own in Modimolle-Mookgophong – John Steenhuisen

DA leader says his party has grown from just an opposition party to a party of govt in municipalities, metros and even a province

Give the DA five years on its own in Modimolle-Mookgophong to see the real DA difference

15 October 2021

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen, at the Ephraim Mogale Stadium in Phagameng, Modimolle, Limpopo. 

Pictures are attached herehere, and here.

My fellow Democrats,

Thank you for welcoming me to your beautiful corner of the country. This part of Limpopo is looking lovely, but it would look even better under an outright DA government for the next five years.

And that’s why these next two weeks are of such critical importance. We are now just two weeks away from what could be an historic moment for our country, and for the people of the Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality.

As municipalities across South Africa collapse, one by one, under the weight of their failed ANC local governments, South Africans have a once-in-five-years chance to secure the future of their towns or cities by electing a local government that does the exact opposite of these failed ANC governments.

This is the chance to elect a local government that truly understands that there can never be dignity without clean water, reliable electricity and sanitation.

A local government that understands what it takes to create jobs - that it’s not government itself that creates these jobs, but rather businesses that are able to thrive where government works.

A local government that goes beyond its job description and even fights to improve or supplement the services that are meant to be delivered by national government, such as visible policing, rural safety and electricity provision.

In short, a local government that gets things done. And if this is what you want for your municipality, there is only one party that ticks all the boxes and that is the Democratic Alliance.

Now, not all municipalities are ANC governed. Over the years the DA has grown from just an opposition party to a party of government in municipalities, metros and even a province.

In some of these places we govern alone, meaning the voters there gave us an outright majority to bring the DA difference to their town or city. In these places it is far easier for us to implement our vision and to make sure government remains accountable to the people.

In other places, the DA governs through coalitions or, as is the case here in Modimolle-Mookgophong, in minority governments, where no party has an outright majority and every decision and vote is subject to multiple players trying to pull that decision in different directions.

Don’t get me wrong - coalitions and minority governments can work. They must work, because this is going to be the future for many councils across the country. But where possible, an outright majority for a competent and ethical government is a far more effective way to ensure good service delivery and progress.

Since 2016, when a DA-led minority government under Mayor Marlene van Staden took over here in this municipality, a huge amount of progress has been made. This includes major improvements in access to water, as well as general basic service delivery.

In fact, I found it very amusing to hear that the Provincial Premier was upset at the lack of service delivery protests in this municipality since the DA-led government took over. Apparently he was not happy that there were regular protests back when the ANC ran this municipality, but these days they hardly happen.

The Premier should know that this is what’s known as the DA difference. It’s what we pride ourselves on, and it’s what we would like to build on after the 1st of November.

Another aspect of the DA difference is our zero tolerance for any form of corruption.

Wherever we come in to government, the very first thing we do is we cancel all the corrupt and irregular contracts that were signed under the ANC so that the municipality can start with a clean sheet under the DA. That’s the only way to ensure that residents get value for money from their government.

And that’s exactly what the DA did here in Modimolle-Mookgophong too.

Immediately after taking over in 2016, they lobbied National Treasury to pay for a forensic investigation of the municipality, and then implemented every single recommendation in that report, which included dismissing senior officials for gross financial misconduct.

They also immediately established a disciplinary committee to deal with all allegations against officials, and this has already led to steps taken against an official who made fraudulent claims for overtime and travel allowances.

They also got the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent to investigate all Municipal Infrastructure Grant projects - including the stalled Leseding Sports Facility - and this lead to the dismissal and blacklisting of the appointed contractor. This project has now been re-advertised and is once again underway.

Compare this to the scandalous R15m sports stadium built by the ANC in the Enoch Mgijima municipality in the Eastern Cape, which is little more than a rickety pavilion and a dusty athletics track.

And finally, the DA-led government also approved several new policies - including the anti-fraud and corruption policy and the whistleblower policy - which will help ensure clean and efficient governance for the people of this municipality.

Because we believe that every last cent of public money should be spent in service of the people, and this means putting in place every possible measure to hold government to account.

Democrats, what the DA-led minority government managed to achieve here since 2016 is just a taste of what we can do when we, alone, are in the driving seat. When there are no other parties yanking the steering wheel this way and that, or pulling up the handbrake on our vision to deliver better and more services.

That is the ultimate goal here - five years of uninterrupted, uncompromised DA governance. Because that’s when you really get to see and experience the DA difference.

Ask anyone who lives in South Africa’s best run municipalities, and they will confirm this. All the top municipalities in the country are DA-run, and all of them have had outright DA governments for multiple terms.

That is when you start to see the kind of progress that today separates places like Drakenstein, Stellenbosch, Mossel Bay, Swellendam and Midvaal from all the ANC-run towns and cities.

There was a time when voters in those towns also had to take a chance and switch their vote to the DA. I am sure this was not an easy decision for many people who had grown up believing they had to vote a certain way because their parents voted that way.

But they, too, grew tired of broken ANC promises and failed delivery, and chose to switch their vote to a party that came with a proven track record.

And in many of these places, that also meant a coalition or minority government at first. But what set these towns on the path to progress was their decision to then change that coalition or minority government into an outright DA government by the next election.

By giving the DA a full mandate to govern, on its own, they finally freed their towns from the corruption, the mismanagement and the sheer incompetence that had been holding them back all those years.

Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect in every DA-run municipality or metro. Running a government in these hard economic times and with our country’s many social challenges is not an easy job. But the DA knows where its challenges lie and it constantly strives to overcome them.

That is one of the biggest differences you’ll see under a DA government - we are never satisfied with the progress we’ve made. We always look to improve.

I assure you that this will be the case here in Modimolle-Mookgophong too. If you give the DA a chance to show what it is capable of, and to show that it never stops trying to be a better government, you will never go back.

All it takes is for people to open their minds to the possibilities of life under a DA government, and to stop listening to the lies that other parties tell about us.

And there are many such lies. I know there are people going around saying that you will lose your house or you will lose your grant if the DA gets into office.

None of that is true. In fact you are more likely to take ownership of a house, with full title deed, where the DA governs. And no one has ever lost a grant after the DA took over. It didn’t happen after 2016. It didn’t happen after 2019.

The DA believes our country needs a strong and secure safety net of social grants for everyone who needs one. But we also believe the best way to ensure dignity and progress is through a real, liveable income. And that is why our big mission is to lift people out of poverty and into jobs.

And we do that by doing the basics right. By ensuring reliable services, by keeping communities safe, by looking after public money and by staying on top of all maintenance and repairs to infrastructure.

When you do these things right, your town starts to attract new businesses, and this brings new jobs. It is a cycle of progress that starts with clean, efficient governance.

And that is what we want for the people of Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality for the next five years.

Give the DA a chance to prove what we are capable of on our own. If we then disappoint you, you can fire us again at the next election. But if we prove ourselves to you in those five years, you then have the opportunity to make it ten straight years.

That is how your town can end up as one of the best-run municipalities in the country. It all starts with your vote in two weeks’ time.

So go out and vote for a government that will put this municipality on the map - a government that gets things done.

On 1 November, vote for a DA government.

Viva, DA! Viva!

Issued by John Steenhuisen, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 15 October 2021