Tell us about your favourites and win
Our research tells us that it is possible – but far more powerful than that, the people tell us it is possible, says Mmusi Maimane, the DA candidate for premier of Gauteng.
Johannesburg - A varsity lecturer of mine used to say that analysts are people who spend all their time telling you why something is impossible – then, when the impossible happens, they spend the rest of the time telling you why it was inevitable.
My lecturer’s truism came to mind last week when I read Dumisani Hlope’s emphatic prediction that a DA victory in Gauteng was a pipe dream (“DA 2014 Gauteng ‘victory’ a fallacy”, August 14).
Hlophe reaches this conclusion without having done any research or opinion polling for himself, but simply because he claims to better understand politics and the voters.
The DA has always said that winning in Gauteng would take an enormous effort, and it would require that we win many new votes from South Africans who have never voted for the DA before.
But both of those are possible – indeed they are a lot more likely than Hlophe is willing to accept – and we will work day and night between now and election day to achieve that goal.
Our research tells us that it is possible – but far more powerful than that, the people tell us it is possible.
They believe in a better Gauteng more than anyone, and they’re prepared to use the power of their vote to get it.
Everywhere you go in this province, in every street in every township, there is a tangible sense that this election is going to be a tipping point for the DA and for South Africa. I am visiting communities all over Gauteng, but already the message from voters is loud and clear – they want a government in this province that takes creating jobs and growing the economy seriously, and that spreads opportunities, not only looking after a circle of connected friends and family.
It is the stories, the hopes, and the unwavering belief of ordinary South Africans that inspire us to win.
They are saying: “We will never allow Nelson Mandela’s dream of a united and prosperous South Africa to fade away. We are taking charge of our own destiny.”
And more and more, they are finding expression for this belief in the DA.
Coupled with this powerful belief that a better future is possible, we will show voters in Gauteng that we have the policies and ideas for creating jobs, clean government and the delivery of better services.
We have shown this where we govern, and we can do it here too.
I have already made five pledges to the people of this province, should they give the DA the opportunity to govern in Gauteng at next year’s elections. First and foremost, we need to give people an opportunity to work so they can improve their lives. We need a government that is focused on creating jobs above all else.
A DA government in Gauteng will implement our own version of the youth wage subsidy to give young people an opportunity to gain work experience and unlock the door to permanent employment. We are still the only government in South Africa that has implemented a youth wage subsidy.
Second, we will scrap e-tolls. The people of Gauteng can’t afford and don’t want e-tolls, but they are being forced on the residents of this province without consultation or properly researched alternatives.
Third, we’ve made a simple pledge to improve education – we will ensure that there is a textbook for every child, in every subject, every time – no exception.
Fourth, we have pledged to exercise real oversight over the SAPS to make our communities safer.
Last, we will help entrepreneurs succeed in growing their small businesses by cutting red tape.
That is the kind of government I will create in Gauteng if I am elected premier. A clean government that creates jobs, and educates our children better.
We need to change the course we are on, to get Gauteng believing in itself again. This is what I want to do in my campaign over the next seven months.
I want to show people a new vision of Gauteng. A place where services are delivered, where corruption is the exception not the rule, a place where young people have the job opportunities they need to make a success of their lives.
I used to be an ANC supporter, and I still think that the ANC deserves the highest praise for leading the liberation Struggle. And it deserves credit for reversing some of the worst aspects of apartheid, through programmes of social grants, land reform and black economic empowerment.
But I no longer believe that the ANC deserves my vote. The ANC under Jacob Zuma has let us down by failing to create jobs.
We need to change the culture of self-enrichment in government and replace it with a culture of self-belief in society.
We believe that is what the people of Gauteng are calling out for, and that is why we are campaigning to win in this province.
The commentators and analysts will say it is impossible, until we do it. The voters of Gauteng believe that we can win, and we know we can win.
* Mmusi Maimane is the DA candidate for premier of Gauteng.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.