It was a privilege to serve as NWest provincial leader – Joe McGluwa

Leon Basson and his team to take the reins for the DA in the province

Thank you DA North West - it was a privilege to serve as provincial leader

21 November 2020

Note to Editors: The below speech was delivered by the outgoing North West Provincial Leader, Joe McGluwa MP, at the DA North West Provincial Congress 2020 today.

Democrats, what a historic moment gathering in this fashion today to participate in and witness the first Virtual Provincial Congress of its kind in North West.

I have travelled across the province from the small village of Syverskuil on the provincial border with Limpopo. From Rustenburg, from Matlosana to Christiana, from Vryburg to the outskirts of this Province, including the most remote and forgotten places. Forgotten places such as Pomfret situated on the cusp of Kalahari.

I was there - more than once, most of you, especially representatives from the far-flung areas where both Winston and Nicol live, they can attest to that.

The mere fact that this is the very last time that I address you in the capacity as the Leader of this Province means the world to me, that you have joined us on this occasion, even those who are present and those who joined online from the comfort of their own homes.

This is what the new norm is all about and, to date, it seems that it is only the Democratic Alliance that has adapted to this new norm.

We are not afraid of holding virtual Congresses.

We are not afraid of digital voting processes. We do not buy votes. We do not throw chairs or tamper with electricity connections to subvert a democratic process. We are an open opportunity and democratic party for all.

Democrats, there is no doubt that there have been some disappointments.

We have lost some support during the 2019 Provincial and National Elections. The fact is, we retained our seats in the Legislature.

We have lost some wards during the by-elections and were able to retain some of them.

While we admit to our mistakes, there are some “political ethnic parties” who have made significant gains.

I believe in the DA and I believe that there is hope and that the DA remains the only alternative to the ANC in government.

Let us build and like David Brooks says in his book, we should not climb the second mountain the same way we climbed the first mountain.

Democrats, with the arrival of Covid-19 and the government’s draconian lockdown regulations we have seen how absolute power corrupts absolutely.

President Ramaphosa announced a series of emergency measures to alleviate the impact of the lockdown on ordinary South Africans.

Such measures were not effectively implemented in the North West due to our failing health infrastructure, the state of departments and municipalities.

We have lost our confidence in our health department, even Premier Job Mokgoro himself confirmed this by running away to receive Covid-19 treatment in Gauteng.

It again shows that there is special treatment for connected cadres of the ANC while ordinary people must contend with the poor services the ANC is responsible for in state institutions.

We now know that more than R5 billion of emergency funding disappeared through irregular tenders and into the pockets of ANC cadres.

We saw how food parcels were stored at ANC Councillor’s houses and only distributed to ANC members.

We saw that many state employees abused the Unemployed Distress Grant process to receive the R350 grant on top of their salaries.

We saw many more people abuse the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) process. Payments were even made to deceased South Africans.

It is shameful that the ANC would use a state of disaster to loot the system at the expense of the poor.

But this is exactly what you can expect from an ANC that even saw its cadres steal money from the state funeral of the late Nelson Mandela.

Of course, there were high lights too.

I recall my time sleeping in a bitter cold shack at Sonderwater in Potchefstroom for 3 days and 3 nights highlighting the inhumane conditions people are living in.

Botsang Mokestane and Ntsuba Mokwena hosted me and it was an eye-opening experience of note.

Then my memory goes to the year in 2016 where I walked 5km, bare feet, in solidarity with children on their way to school who struggle without scholar transport in Tigane – where children place their lives in danger in pursuit for better education – it was a worthy cause because as I am speaking here today, the provincial government has made buses available there.

Who can forget the infamous plan by Supra Mahumapelo for a R6 million Jacob Zuma statue which was stopped by the DA along N4 in Groot Marico?

Democrats these were fights and debates worth every effort.

Our Constituency Heads have worked tirelessly to advance the DA’s agenda in the areas that they are responsible for.

Democrats, allow me the opportunity to briefly touch on each of our Constituencies.

In Tswaing - Kagisano Molopo - Naledi, Carin Visser has been instrumental in the fight for the delivery of basic services like water and electricity supply to our far-flung rural communities who have to endure the collapse of governance at the hands of the ANC.

In Moretele - Moses Kotane, Winston Rabotapi continues to champion the fight for access to water on behalf of residents on remote villages. Together with his Councillors they continue to engage with traditional authorities and the municipality. He has also been instrumental in matters of chieftaincy consultations. He also drove the issue of dilapidated and neglected government building and heritage sites.

In Mahikeng and Ratlou, Freddy Sonakile has been at the forefront to hold the corrupt ANC governments there accountable. He, along with his DA caucuses continue the struggle to improve service delivery. But most importantly, Freddy continues to apply pressure to hold ANC politicians and government officials accountable for their corruption and abuse of power. In municipalities, in provincial government departments and in the Legislature. Corruption makes poor people poorer, and Freddy remains resolute to bring justice to the victims of the ANC in government’s failures.

In Ditsobotla - Ramotshere Moiloa, Jacqueline Theologo and her team continue to work hard to ensure service delivery to residents, under very difficult circumstances. The ANC government has laid waste to communities here. Water, electricity, sewerage problems persist, while corruption and incompetence remain the order of the day. Jacqueline has also been instrumental in highlighting the plight of rural safety, especially on farmers and farmworkers. Under her leadership, we have established successful court watching briefs and continuously engage with agriculture union and organisations, the SAPS, and community policing forums to try and prevent farm attacks that devastate rural communities.

In Greater Taung, Sello Seitlholo has been highly active. He has committed to establishing DA structures in all the villages while calling for the delivery of services and the establishment of necessary infrastructure. Sello launched a petition to reopen a Middle School after the ANC government decided to close it down, which forced learners to walk more than 5km to the next school. His efforts have now paid off and government is set to reopen the school next year.

In Lekwa-Teemane - Maquassi Hills, Councillor Don van Zyl was thrown in the deep end at his appointment as Constituency Head, but he has learned to swim very quickly. Under very trying and difficult circumstances Don and his team continue to champion the concerns of residents, again, specifically with regards to basic service delivery, accountable and responsive governance, and water and electricity supply.

In Matlosana, Gavin Edwards is working closely with his caucus to ensure that the City delivers on its mandate. Roads are dilapidated, service delivery is erratic, water problems persist, raw sewage leaks pollute almost every community and the municipality is basically bankrupt while ANC cadres continue to loot and abuse the privileges associated with their office. Gavin has also been instrumental in holding the Provincial Department of health accountable for it’s poor response to the medical needs of people under the Covid-19 lockdown period. He submitted almost 4000 names of families in need of food relief aid to the Department of Social Development.

In JB Marks, Chris Hattingh and the DA Caucus have not had a moment’s rest. Their determination to root out corruption and hold the ANC government to account has paid off. Recently the Hawks arrested the JB Marks Mayor and two senior municipal officials on a host of charges relating to fraud, corruption, and maladministration. The continue in their efforts to ensure proper service delivery to the benefit of residents and are working extremely hard to have the DA again elected to govern JB Marks next year. Chris will continue to rebuild trust with the residents in JB Marks and to convince them that the DA is ready to serve them in government.

In Madibeng, Leon Basson and his Caucus deal with continuous service delivery concerns, whether it be water supply, electricity outages, sewage flows, refuse removal, and roads repairs. Leon also works very hard to find a solution to the hyacinth infestation on the Harties dam. Together with his team, they have tabled a motion of no confidence in the Mayor. They will continue to put the interests of residents first and foremost in this tourist town which has so much potential.

In Rustenburg – Kgetlengrivier, Cheryl Phillips and her Caucuses have been at the forefront to solve persistent electricity and water outages, sewage flows, unsafe and unhealthy piped water supply. They are on the ball applying pressure on every stress point to jolt the incompetent and unwilling ANC government into action. They have also tackled increases lawlessness and the invasion of private property, on vacant land and in the suburbs despite the reluctance of the SAPS, the Municipality and the mining companies to prevent invasions and illegal occupation.

Democrats, the DA is hard at work. And from what you can see in every constituency the ANC in government fails to deliver services. Every ANC municipal government in North West are completely corrupt and unwilling to serve the people. The ANC does not have the will to change. They cannot change.

It is only the DA that can rebuild what the ANC has destroyed.

Democrats, we are today what we are because of you – you have strengthened us in so many ways, especially those going out in their blue t-shirts working tirelessly for this organisation every single day

We need each other – One of my biggest dreams when elected as Leader was to instil unity, and I am grateful for what we have achieved in this regard. Indeed we are stronger than before. We have learned to accept one another, agree to disagree. At times we fought, we cried, we laugh but most of all we have remained resolute to the cause

We underwent a restructuring process, which saw some of our professional support staff lose their jobs. Many of them remain committed to the DA and have availed themselves to stand as councillor candidates in next year’s election. This is true dedication to the cause. Some party members have left, while others have joined the DA. It will always be like this; it is not the end of all things.

We have one purpose, one vision. Let us build a stronger DA as John Vuligate said, we have to build a branch in every ward. Let us make our branches great again.

Democrats allow me to say this to our new leadership that will be announced here later today, we are ready for Leon Basson and his team. We are willing to follow and together we will serve and stand in solidarity to strengthen our efforts for a stronger opposition and a party of government.

Again, to every single soul in our Province, you were the best audience ever. I will cherish you for the rest of my life. Wherever I go, or whatever I do you will remain my best friends, forever.

And for those who continuously ask what’s my next step, I am here to assure you that I am not going anywhere. I will stay resolute and loyal to the Democratic Alliance, the party that has played an integral role in my political career. It was a privilege to serve you as provincial leader.

Stay safe. Maintain the required social distance and enjoy the festive season.

I thank you.

Issued by Joe McGluwa, Outgoing DA North West Provincial Leader, 21 November 2020