SPEECH BY INDEPENDENT DEMOCRAT PRESIDENT, PATRICIA DE LILLE, TO THE ID FINAL ELECTION RALLY, APRIL 19 2009
Good morning, goeie more, molweni, dumela, sanibonani,
ID leaders, branches and structures, ID members and supporters, and fellow South Africans.
Welcome to the Final Election Rally of the Independent Democrats and thank you all for being here today.
Over the past 3 months the leadership of the Independent Democrats, supported by our structures and our national membership of 360 000, has embarked on a journey around our great country. We have visited all 9 provinces.
Because our support base is so diverse, we have visited black, white, coloured and Indian communities and have spoken to South Africans in all our wonderful languages. We have spoken to the young, the old, the rich and the poor about the challenges you face.
But we did not visit all of you sitting here today and watching on TV only so that we could talk to you.
We also visited your provinces and cities, towns and communities so that we could listen to what you had to say. Because you know the challenges you face better than anyone else.
A number of issues arose repeatedly during the ID's visits to your communities across the country.
Again and again we were told stories of how poverty and unemployment, poor service delivery and education, crime and corruption have thrown millions of our people into a daily struggle for survival. These challenges have stripped too many of us of our dignity and are often the result of poor governance and incompetent, or greedy leaders. They are also proof that most of our people have yet to taste the fruits of our democracy.
In the Eastern Cape it took us 1 hour to cover the 10 kilometres of road that had huge potholes and even ditches, to reach the village of Nyandeni. We stopped to help an ID member after one of the ditches broke the chassis of his car. The road was so bad that the SABC got completely lost.
When we arrived over 300 people were waiting patiently for us in the village, with men sitting next to the kraal and women on the other side. We were welcomed by a group of dancing young girls. When we asked about the road, we were told that no ambulances could get through to the village and that when someone fell ill they had to walk over those ditches themselves to get to the main road. But the biggest issues for everyone were the lack of services that affected the children - the dilapidated school, and the lack of clean drinking water, which results in children falling sick.
In Galeshewe, outside Kimberley, a man in a wheelchair told me he had been sent home from a place for the disabled with a promise that home-based care would regularly send people to his home to wash him. But they never arrived. This man, in his early 30s, was covered in bed sores and his family never had the medical expertise to treat his condition. In Limpopo, in a village outside Phalaborwa, there was no water, while another village in Limpopo - Strydom Tunnel - also had no clean water, in spite of the fact that a big river runs past it.
Residents in Madibeng, in North West province told us how their pride suffered blow after blow because of livestock theft, but police hardly ever investigate. Mama Patricia Mogale, a resident of South Soshanguve near Pretoria, showed us a water bill from the council for R21 000, but there wasn't even a water metre on her plot.
In Winterveld, in North West Province, Joe Baloyi complained to us that only ANC members get government tenders.
Meanwhile, residents of Delft, here in Cape Town, have told us how drugs are tearing their community and families apart and causing destructive social problems.
Some problems were common to people across the country, like those that complained of a lack of housing.
The Independent Democrats would fix and transfer the thousands of houses in our country that have been rented by people for 20 to 30 years.
I wish there were elections every week because there was definitely an increase in service delivery in the weeks running up to the vote. For the first time in years you could see people cleaning the streets and delivering water to communities that were almost always without it.
Others stories that were also extremely worrying were those that involved political parties that often talk about how they want to create jobs and alleviate poverty, but have shown that they have no respect for the poor. The ID was also affected by the ruling party's intimidation tactics when the lights were turned off in the town of Warrenton, in the Northern Cape, just 30 minutes before I was due to speak. But the electricity cut had the opposite effect as hundreds of residents left the darkness of their homes and joined the hundreds already waiting to hear the ID speak about our Solutions.
Many, many people all over the country have told us that the ANC has handed out taxpayer-funded food parcels in exchange for votes and to lure poor South Africans to their rallies. In the Western Cape we have also heard stories of the DA handing out food parcels in Zoar. Others have told us that local ANC leaders have made threats that if they do not vote for the ANC they will lose their social grants and pensions.
These are intimidation tactics of the worst kind and show complete contempt for the poor. I would like to say to all that have been victims of these threats - do not allow yourself to be bullied. No matter who you vote for you will continue to receive your pensions and grants - and if you do not then you can tell me!
I would also like to make a final appeal to leaders of all political parties to behave in a way that will ensure free and fair elections and to preach and teach tolerance to their supporters.
There were also many funny and positive stories.
Oom Joop, who is 77-years old and lives in Pretoria, sent us an email saying that I should challenge Jacob Zuma to take a lie detector test.
Some of you spoke about the hope you have for our country and how you want to help the ID fight for rights and offer Solutions to the challenges we face. Still more of you have told us that rather than sit around and complain, you have decided to be a part of the Solution.
On our travels over the past 3 months since our Election Manifesto Launch on 1 February, we have been spreading our positive and empowering message. Unlike some other parties, we have not played on people's fears and the divides that have been created among us. Instead we have offered well thought out Solutions and the belief that things can get better if all of us contribute to making a difference.
Judging by the response to the Independent Democrats on the ground and our growth in membership, we are expecting a significant increase in support. We have also found that South Africans are growing tired of negative campaigning and are starting to want to be a part of the Solution. By now I am sure that all of you have heard all sorts of promises. During elections many parties come up with promises that they cannot deliver on. Some make the same promises that they have been making for 15 years. While others think you are on a game show or buying a lottery ticket by telling you that if you vote for them you will `win'. Others may have told you that the best person to reduce crime and corruption is a crook that understands other crooks.
The Independent Democrats has not made any empty promises. Instead, we have offered real, practical Solutions. We have costed all of our Solutions so that implementation is realistic. Another difference between us and other parties is that we have been innovative. Our Manifesto was described by the Sunday Times as comprehensive and Die Burger as "exceptionally good". South Africans have responded overwhelmingly to our Solutions.
Many of our people that live in grinding poverty and do not receive any social assistance from the Government have responded well to the first of our "Top Ten Solutions", which is to introduce a Minimum Income Grant. With the global economic meltdown, which is being felt most by the poor, the Minimum Income Grant will bring immediate relief.
Those that have all but given up their years-long search for work have taken note of another of our "Top Ten Solutions", which is to position South Africa as a world leader in renewable energy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next two decades.
They have sat up and listened when we have spoken about how we will use the sun and the wind to power our nation, while at the same time contributing to the international effort to slow down climate change. It is unbelievable that we are not using the natural resources we are blessed with. We could be world leaders in this field - all we need is the political will to do so.
The unemployed have agreed that the ruling party cannot be serious about job creation when there are hundreds of thousands of vacancies in the public sector. They have agreed with us that filling these vacancies will also speed up service delivery. Our Solution to provide all schools with electricity, water and sanitation in 2 years and a science laboratory, library and free Internet in 5 years has also been popular because you all know how important education is for the future of our children and our nation.
Our commitment to take on the root causes of crime by deploying thousands of social workers to violence-prone communities and schools across the country has also been met with great approval. We know that we need more police, more resources and tougher bail laws, but we also have to get to the root of the problem. We must fix our communities so that young people do not turn to crime. We must heal the wounds that cause the social problems. We must get to the bottom of alcohol and drug abuse, violence against women and children and violent crime. We cannot continue like this!
There is also massive support for our stance on corruption, where we say leaders must lead by example and with integrity and honesty.
We are saying that we must put criminals in jail! Not in government!
Sit die skelms in die tronk! Nie in regering nie!
We will continue to fight for a society that is guided by the morals and vision we fought for in the struggle and which are contained in our Constitution.
Not only do we have a plan, we also have the political will to implement it.
When it comes to service delivery, the Independent Democrats has come into this election with a proven track record. Where we govern in 26 Municipalities across the country, we have received acknowledgements for our performance.
- In the Matzikama region we received a best-run Municipality award.
- In the West Coast District we were awarded for being the best run District Municipality in the entire Western Cape.
- In ID's Witzenberg Housing Portfolio also won an award for excellent delivery.
Under the ID the Swellendam government received an unqualified report for the first time since the municipal government elections in 1996. In the City of Cape Town, where we are in a coalition government, we always fight for the rights of the poor. For example, we opposed the budget in the City of Cape Town until the DA put in safeguards for the poor and ordinary Capetonians.
Our work at the Parliamentary level, where we have held Government to account, is also well-documented.
We have submitted a Private Members Bill with the goal of holding company directors criminally liable for stealing from the poor through price fixing. And we are the only party that has brought a motion to regulate political party funding, because we believe that without knowing who gives money to political parties, we can never free our society from corruption.
We have taken Government Ministers to court when they have failed to uphold the Constitutional rights of our people - and many times we have won!
And of course there is the Arms Deal corruption, which you have seen the ID fighting against over the past few years. I blew the whistle on Arms Deal corruption on 9 September 1999 and the ID continued to expose more and more corruption in the Deal. We have also laid a charge against the previous Minister of Justice for interfering with the independence of the NPA and we have begun a private prosecution against 23 other people that received discounted cars through the Arms Deal. As they say in Cape Town: ons skrik vir niks!
To those of you who call us and write to us, I want to say thank you. You are already a part of the Solution.
After you have voted on 22 April, you must continue to hold politicians to account for the next 5 years. Your vote is not a blank cheque for them to do with what they please.
There are many other ways to be a part of the Solution. Get involved in your communities, in community organisations, community policing forums and religious organisations. Sign the ID's crime and corruption pledge and report crime and corruption. We will need your patriotism and your commitment to build a great South Africa.
To the undecided voters out there today I want to say that while as a nation we face many problems, you must not lose hope. Every vote counts and you can make a difference. You have a choice: to do nothing, to just complain, or to be a part of the Solution. Unlike what some leaders have told you, there is no such thing as a wasted vote because we have a `proportional representation' system, which means that every vote counts. A vote for the ID will also not split the opposition. On the contrary, when you vote for the ID you will be strengthening the opposition, because a vote for the ID will increase our representation in Parliament, adding to our strong and principled voice of fighting for your rights and offering Solutions. So we invite you to be a part of the Solution. And Vote ID.
Thank you, dankie, Ke a leboga, siyabonga, Enkosi.
Issued by the Independent Democrats, April 19 2009
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