Johannesburg - Complacency is the reason for the situation South Africans find themselves in today, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.
Speaking at the DA's 2019 national elections campaign launch at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg, he said it was necessary to be "completely honest about how we got here".
"It is complacency that got us here. This [African National Congress] government realised it didn’t have to work for the people to still be voted into office. It is indifference that got us here. We have a government that has long forgotten the sacrifices made for our freedom. A government that simply no longer cares," he said.
"And it is greed that got us here. The more they stole from the people, the more they wanted. This is why we lost our way. If we now want to fix our country then we have to ask ourselves which South Africa do we want to live in?
"Do we want to continue down the road we’re on, where the gap between the insiders and the outsiders just grows and grows until there is no way to close it up? Or do we want to return to the dream of one united South Africa, working together to build a future in which everyone is included? A South Africa that has dealt with the inequalities of the past and where everyone has access to opportunities. Because if it is the latter – and I know, in my heart, that it is – then there is only one party fighting for this cause and that party is the Democratic Alliance," Maimane said.
Saturday marked the start of the DA’s election 2019 campaign, and from now until the polls, he and his colleagues would spend every day telling South Africans what they could expect from a DA government.
It was a simple message - the DA would bring change that built one South Africa for all. But captured within this message was everything the country needed to reach its enormous potential. In particular, the DA would focus on the five key issues of corruption, crime, jobs, immigration, and service delivery – the “agenda for change”, Maimane said.
"These are the issues that really matter to South Africans. And they are issues which only the DA has a clear and credible plan to deal with. Our message speaks to fighting corruption and state capture and ridding our country of this scourge for good," he said.
"The same corrupt people that sold our country to the Guptas under [former president Jacob] Zuma still occupy the top positions in this new government. No one was ever charged. No one was ever prosecuted. So when we say we will jail those found guilty of corruption for 15 years, you know we’ll do it. Our message speaks to fixing our police force so that it can actually protect and serve the people."
The DA's message spoke to the crucial issue of employment, and how to ensure that all South Africans had fair access to real long-term, sustainable jobs. Only the DA had a plan to harness the power of the private sector and the power of the entrepreneur to create these jobs.
"We have proven this beyond all doubt in the province and metros where we govern. In the last year, three-quarters of all new jobs were created in the DA-run Western Cape. We must break down our state-owned enterprises [SoEs], we must make sure our cities can build sustainable infrastructure, and we must allow small businesses to thrive. This is our agenda for change.
"But our goal is not only to help create new jobs. It is also about making sure that young people have the skills and experience to make the most of these opportunities. We have some big plans to achieve this, like a year of voluntary national service for school leavers and a network of job centres throughout the country."
The DA's message spoke to the urgent need to secure the country’s borders, welcoming those who wanted to come here legally, but shutting out those who tried to do so illegally. No country in the world could afford uncontrolled immigration, and particularly not a country where resources were as scarce as South Africa's.
"Our message speaks to a better quality of life for our people by speeding up the delivery of basic services to all communities. Living without these basic services is robbing people of their dignity. All over South Africa, there are still communities without access to water. There are still communities with no electricity. There are still communities that use bucket toilets. All the promises made by government to the people living under these conditions have turned out to be empty," Maimane said.
In under two years, the DA-led coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay had managed to rid the metro of 60 percent of its bucket toilets – something its previous government could not do in two decades. The DA had a plan to speed up the delivery of basic services. By cleaning up local and provincial governments it would ensure that the people’s money was spent on the people. This included managing the allocation of government housing in a fair and transparent manner.
"And finally, our message is about justice. And it is justice that lies at the heart of the land question. We will ensure that more black South Africans are able to own land through secure private property rights."
These issues would form the core of the message the DA would be taking to every corner of the country over the coming months. "It will be our most ambitious election campaign yet. And to do so, we will rely on the efforts of the biggest team we have ever assembled. We call it Team One SA.
"This team is not only DA public reps, staff members and campaign spokespersons. It’s not only signed-up DA members either. Team One SA includes every single South African who wants to join us in building the country of our dreams, no matter how big or small their contribution.
"The DA today runs a massive election operation, and in recent years we have spread to every corner of every province. It is out in these communities where the election will be won or lost, and our vast network of activists and volunteers will form the heart and soul of Team One SA. South Africa's diversity is precisely what makes us strong. Our future lies together. Never let anyone tell you otherwise," Maimane said.
African News Agency (ANA)