DA Leader Mmusi Maimane at the DA's 2019 elections provincial manifesto launch in Cape Town: Photo: DA Twitter

CAPE TOWN - South Africans have a duty to defend and protect the rights of all citizens to achieve the dream of 1994, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

Speaking at the DA 2019 elections Western Cape manifesto launch rally in Bellville, Cape Town, he said he was immensely proud to stand before a "diverse, beautiful bunch of South Africans", and "see the power of diversity, and the power of what happens when we come together around shared values and build our towns, cities, provinces, and our nation".

"In 1994, we had a dream of One South Africa. A dream where opportunities for learning, earning and owning would be open to all. Regardless of our race or background, we would be able to stand together as one, living free and dignified lives.

"Today it is only the Democratic Alliance shares that dream, and are working every day to realise it. We call it One South Africa for All as we believe passionately that we South Africans are better together. And where we govern, this dream is becoming a reality," he said.

When former president Nelson Mandela walked free from Victor Verster prison in Paarl, north of Cape town, and proclaimed a dream of freedom for all "we were all filled with hope and optimism as we put an end to the dark era of apartheid. And it is here under a DA government that we are realising that dream".

"Our constitutional flag reminds of the words of a great servant of nation and of this province, Archbishop Desmond Tutu that we are indeed a rainbow nation. A nation of many races, cultures, languages - a nation rich in diversity. You see, the unique beauty of diversity is that you don’t have to surrender who are you to 'fit in' or to assimilate. I want to affirm this value in both our party and our nation, and to ensure our rights are always be protected.

"That is why I reject those who claim that certain South Africans don’t have a place in our nation. If you are Afrikaans, you have rights in our nation. You can learn in Afrikaans and speak the language of your choice. An assault on Afrikaans is an assault on our fundamental constitutional values of diversity, freedom, dignity and equality.

"And the same goes for all other languages, too. We have a duty to defend and protect the rights of all if we want to achieve the dream of ’94," Maimane said.

For past 10 years in the Western Cape, the DA government had worked hard to ensure the dream of One South Africa for All became a reality. "We did our best to build a capable, honest state that works for the people and that gets the people working. We’ve had many successes in that time, working with communities, proving that we are better together.

"For example, the Western Cape has more households with at least one job than any other province. In SA, 20 percent of households have no job at all. But here in the Western Cape, it is only nine percent of households," he said.

"It is my dream to see a job in every home, and when you elect us into government here for the next five years, we will work hard to ensure that every home in this province has a job. In the past 10 years, we’ve created 508,000 new jobs in this province, growing employment by 24 percent, well ahead of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Our expanded unemployment rate of 23 percent is 14 percentage points lower than the national average of 37 percent. And we have South Africa’s lowest rural unemployment rate at 15.7 percent. No matter where you live in this province, there is access to jobs.

"We’ve achieved this by creating an environment that attracts investment. And by focusing scarce resources on the sectors of our economy that create the most jobs, such as tourism and agriculture," Maimane said.

Investors prefered to start businesses where the government was honest. When the DA took office 10 years ago, the province achieved zero clean audits. Today, at 83%, the Western Cape received the highest number of clean audits in SA across all government departments and entities last year, well ahead of the next province Gauteng with 52 percent clean audits.

"Today we are the cleanest government in South Africa. Clean audits matter, because they mean that every cent of public money is spent on delivering for the people. Even though policing belongs to the national government, we have done more to fight crime than any other provincial government does. We have done oversight over police stations, have fought hard for more police officers, we work closely with neighbourhood watch groups, and we monitor thousands of cases in courts across the province," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)