Sharpeville survivor endorses DA – Mmusi Maimane

Party leader says he is humbled by Ntate Tswakai Ngale's support

I am humbled to receive Sharpeville Survivor Ntate Tswakai Ngale’s endorsement of the DA

6 May 2019

Almost 60 years ago, thousands of South Africans peacefully assembled outside of the police station here in Sharpeville in a brave and principled protest against the unjust “pass laws” – which rendered black South Africans second-class citizens due to the nothing but the colour of their skin.

On that day, 69 brave South Africans made the ultimate sacrifice as they were killed by the Apartheid state police force. These are our heroes because of their bravery and courage. In the face of injustice, thousands of people refused to accept the status quo and chose to courageously fight for change.

Today I am humbled to visit Ntate Tswakai Ngale, who himself could just as easily have been one of the 69 people who lost their lives, but that day, fate decided it was not his day to make that sacrifice. Ntate Ngale – today a father of 5 and a grandfather to 8 – was one of the brave South Africans who took to these streets in the Sharpeville protests, to fight for a better tomorrow.

In his youth, Ntate Ngale was a member of the band called “Sharpeville Sing stars”, which used to actively raise funds for the ANC through their performances during the 1950s and 1960s. Ngale - who was the band’s saxophonist – today struggles to reconcile that ANC with today’s ANC that has forgotten and rejected many of those who fought so hard for our democracy.

Today, 60 years after 69 of his friends and neighbors were massacred, Ntate Ngale has come to the conclusion that the promise of a better South Africa, immortalized by his friends making the ultimate sacrifice that day, has been squandered and dishonored. It has been sullied by the empty promises and corruption of the ANC. 60 years later, Ntate Ngale has little to celebrate despite the sacrifice his neighbors made.

25 years after our political freedom, Ntate Ngale sees economic despair and lack of job opportunities for his family. He sees a corrupt government that eats the money, protects the privilege of those in power, and even struggles to provide running water, working toilets, housing fit for human beings, and reliable electricity for his community.

And even worse, Ntate Ngale had to endure the full effects of our failed public health care system in his recent battle with cancer.

Today he has chosen to take a brave decision – much like the brave decision he took almost 60 years ago – and has formally endorsed the DA in Wednesday’s election. I am truly humbled and honoured by this and wish to commit to Ntate Ngale that the DA will always fight for what is just and what is right, no matter the circumstances.

In fact, Ntate Ngale’s support made me reflect back on the sacrifice the Sharpeville heroes made 60 years ago for a better South Africa. And the more I thought about that sacrifice the more I got angry about the state of affairs we find ourselves in under ANC rule.

While we were liberated from the horrors of Apartheid so that Sharpeville could never happen again, when you look at the horrors of Life Esidimeni and Marikana, it becomes clear that it is high time we liberate ourselves from the liberators.

Life Esidimeni also represented an uncaring government willing to put their selfish financial interests before human life and dignity. Marikana represents a government so protective of their power and privilege that they could not accept any challenge to that power, even if it meant shooting people protesting in the same manner as the 5000 protesters surrounding that police station here in Sharpeville 60 years ago.

We need a brand new government that honours the sacrifices of the past while delivering on the dream of building One South Africa for All. And that government is a DA-led government.

So today I make this pledge to Ntate Ngale. Under a DA government, there will better service delivery, and an honest government that puts a job in every home. And most importantly, a caring government – that honours the heroes of the past, not forgets and rejects them.

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 6 May 2019