National Convention: We’re hopeful about the future - John Steenhuisen

DA leader says parties have agreed on a shared vision, principles for a new government, and a minimum programme of action

DA Leader John Steenhuisen's closing remarks at the #NationalConvention2024

17 August 2023

Good afternoon colleagues and most importantly, to my fellow South Africans.

As we wrap up an intensive two days of this National Convention, we emerge hopeful about the future of our country.

Much like the historic negotiations which took place here 32 years ago at Codesa; and went on to change the course of history; the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa is going to do the same.

When I first announced the DA’s commitment to this project back in April, there were many naysayers who said that this group of parties would never even reach the point of sitting around the same table.

And yet, here we are signing a historic and unprecedented agreement to rescue South Africa.

Today, without any, doubt:

This agreement has brought hope back to South Africa.

Yesterday morning, I asked that you judge the success of the two days of negotiations on whether they provide real solutions to the problems faced by the people of South Africa.

Using that metric, there can be no doubt that this Convention has been a resounding success.

We have collectively agreed on a shared vision, principles for a new government, and a minimum programme of action to address the urgent problems that present an existential risk to our country’s future.

The seven political parties in this Charter have come together to unseat the ANC, keep the EFF out of power, and provide a new alternative government to rescue South Africa in 2024.

Throughout the negotiations, the incredible hardships faced by the people of our country have been top of mind.

South Africa simply cannot continue on its current trajectory, where:

Half of the population lives in abject poverty;

Seven out of ten young people are without work;

80% of learners in school cannot read for meaning;

The electricity crisis is destroying what is left of our economy;

Communities are under siege because of crime and drug abuse;

Corruption has wreaked havoc in our public service; and

Millions of South Africans cannot feed their families.

All of these crises can only be resolved if we remove the ANC from government.

They have broken South Africa.

We – this Charter – are the ones who are going to rebuild South Africa.

I am deeply grateful to the leaders of political parties who have joined hands to undertake this momentous task.

However, we can only achieve a majority for this government if we partner with the people of South Africa.

This Charter does not belong to politicians. It must belong to the people.

So I am now calling on every South African who wants to help rescue our beautiful country.

Go out and claim your rightful ownership of this project.

The best way to do this, is by going out to register to vote.

There are 27 million people in this country who did not vote in 2021.

If you are one of them, now is your moment.

The moment we have been waiting for, has arrived.

Let us go out and register to vote in our millions, and next year, this Charter will sweep the ANC out of power and rescue South Africa.

Thank you.

Issued by John Steenhuisen, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 18 August 2023