The following is an extract of the speech delivered by the DA Leader at the Party’s Phetogo Rally at Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto.
My fellow South Africans,
I want to start out by saying thank you.
Many people have worked tirelessly in this campaign. You have put in long hours and fought hard for the success of our party. Thank you.
Thanks to all of you for coming out here today. Some of you have travelled great distances to be here to support this campaign for change.
To those at home, thank you for following this on television.
Thank you for welcoming us into your communities, and into your homes these past months.
You are the proud and courageous patriots of our great country. You are my inspiration.
Fellow South Africans, I stand before you today as a child of Soweto, a proud son of Dobsonville.
I grew up not far from here, in Mmutle Street. My friends and I used to play in these streets.
As a junior, I played soccer for a local team here from Longtill called Ontario. We weren’t a big club, but we had the kit and we all wore the King Sono boots.
And we believed, with enough hard work, we could beat anyone. It is this self-belief that drives the people of this great place of Soweto. It is a place where people have overcome great hardship to change their lives.
Both my parents worked near here in humble jobs. My mother was a cashier down at the Hyperama and my father worked for a company that made locks.
We weren’t well-off, but we had enough to get by. And my parents believed we were rich in other ways. We had the wealth of family, friends and community.
Today my parents still live in that same house in Mmutle Street. They are here today, and I want to thank them for everything they did for me, and the belief they instilled in me.
Dobsonville, Soweto will always be home to me.
The story of Soweto is a beautiful one. It’s a tapestry of pain and success, of poverty and wealth, of revolution and freedom.
I was nine years old when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and I was thirteen when he was sworn in as our first democratic president. I will never forget those two days as long as I live.
Dobsonville came alive on the day of Madiba’s release in 1990. These streets were buzzing – cars spinning, Brenda Fassie’s “My Black President” blaring – as we celebrated our hero.
What Madiba did for us and what he meant for us cannot be put into words.
His freedom meant our freedom.
His dream for a South Africa free from violence and poverty was our dream too.
Madiba made it possible for us to believe in that dream.
I voted here for the first time in 1999, down at the DSJ Primary School. We knew what we had to do: We had to vote for the man that helped liberate us – the party of Nelson Mandela.
There was no debate. We were ANC, and the ANC was us. And that’s how everyone I knew voted. We did it for Madiba.
Back then, as a young man barely twenty years old, I could not imagine a day when the ANC would abandon its values, abandon its people and abandon me.
But that day came. That day came in December of 2007, when Jacob Zuma was elected ANC President in Polokwane.
That day marked the end of Madiba’s ANC. In its place was born a strange new organisation.
Selfless struggle gave way to selfish accumulation.
Non-racialism gave way to the politics of race.
The politics of the heart gave way to the politics of the stomach.
This once-great movement had become what Thabo Mbeki called “an ignoble, blood-sucking and corrupt parasite”.
Under President Zuma, the ANC has become everything it once fought against. An organisation that looks after the connected few at the expense of the many.
Back in 1994 we were promised a better life for all, but all we got was a better life for some.
The ANC has turned its back on everything Nelson Mandela fought for.
And so, when I decided to make a different political choice, I did it for Madiba.
We call him Tata Madiba because he was a father to all of us. Every single South African – black, white, rich and poor.
And as our father, he instilled his values in us: values like compassion, forgiveness, kindness, humanity, Ubuntu.
He taught us that we are stronger together. That we can prosper together as one nation with one future. A future in which all South Africans have the dignity that comes with a job.
He also taught us that free people should be free to make their own free choices in life.
For him, these values mattered more than party politics. He even warned that the ANC would one day turn its back on the people of this country.
As Madiba said:
“If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.”
Fellow South Africans,
Another great South African, Chris Hani, once said:
“What I fear is that the liberators emerge as elitists, who drive around in Mercedes-Benzes and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and to gather riches”.
Under Jacob Zuma, Chris Hani’s fears have come true.
Because under Jacob Zuma, this government governs like black lives don’t matter.
Under Jacob Zuma, the ANC is keeping black people in poverty while its leaders get rich.
Under Jacob Zuma, the ANC is dividing the people of this country along racial lines.
When you speak to South Africans, you realise just how badly they have been let down.
I spoke to a man in Butterworth who showed me the sewage that runs down his street, into his house. He says he has already voted for too many empty promises.
A young woman in Soshanguve said to me she’s been without a job for years even though she has a degree.
People feel betrayed by this government. They voted for jobs and services, but instead they got more unemployment and more corruption.
It is time to do to the ANC what we did to the Apartheid government.
It is time to rise up against the injustice that is perpetrated daily against the people of this country.
It is time we took our inspiration from Helen Suzman, who stood up alone to fight for justice for all.
It is time to rise up against the ANC government.
The time has come for a revolution in our country.
We don’t want bloodshed, and we don’t want a war. We will not take power through the barrel of a gun.
Because we have the power of our vote. And, as somebody once said, the ballot is more powerful the bullet.
We have a choice at this election.
And yes, it is a choice.
Nelson Mandela fought for us to have a choice. He spent his life in prison so we could be free.
We can choose more corruption, more unemployment, more poverty and more failed service delivery.
Or we can choose change. Change that creates jobs, change that stops corruption and change that delivers better services to all the people of South Africa.
At the DA, we are continuing to build a nation that is prosperous for all.
Where we govern, life is improving for every citizen – black, white, rich and poor.
Where the DA governs, we have the lowest unemployment in South Africa.
In Midvaal, under Mayor Bongani Baloyi, unemployment is half of what it is in the rest of Gauteng.
In Cape Town, under Mayor Patricia De Lille, unemployment is 15 percentage points lower than the national average.
And why is unemployment in DA governed towns and cities lower than everywhere else?
It’s because we do the basics better. We provide better transport, better services, better housing and better internet. We run the kind of city that attracts business and creates jobs.
That’s the kind of efficient government we want to bring to you.
Where the DA governs, we don’t tolerate corruption.
Last year, the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay lost R2.2 billion to corruption. In DA-run Cape Town, that figure was zero.
How do we run a corruption-free metro?
It’s simple. We don’t allow government employees to do business with the metro, we open up all our tender processes and we hold councillors accountable for their actions.
That’s the kind of clean government we want to bring to you.
Where the DA governs we connect more people to basic services – to water, sanitation and electricity – than anywhere else.
We also provide more free services to poor households than anywhere else.
How do we deliver these services to over 95% of households?
We don’t give jobs to friends, family and politically connected people
Your political affiliation is not important either. All the DA cares about is whether you can do the job. We are not working for the connected few but for all the people of this country.
We make sure all tenders are awarded fairly, and when people get tenders, we make sure they deliver.
The DA is also the only party that fires councillors who don’t perform.
That’s the kind of honest government we want to bring to you.
Where we govern, life is better. But it is still not good enough. We know we have more work to do in many communities, and I promise you we will do better.
Our opponents will tell you lots of lies about the Democratic Alliance.
But our record where we govern speaks for itself.
We are the only party that is carrying the values of Nelson Mandela forward.
We are doing it for Madiba.
Fellow South Africans, this election is a fresh start for our country.
The choices we make on Wednesday will determine our future.
With the power of our votes, we can reduce the ANC’s power across the country.
The ANC knows this, and they afraid of losing power in towns and cities all over South Africa.
We can win in Johannesburg.
We can win in Tshwane.
We can win in Nelson Mandela Bay.
And we can win in many other municipalities across South Africa.
But we can only do it if enough people vote for change on 3 August.
It is going to be so close but I can taste the victory. I can feel the change.
Every week the DA is getting stronger and the ANC is losing ground.
People are choosing a party with values that they recognise as their own.
People are choosing a party that will help them find a job. A party that will deliver services. That will fight against corruption.
Like my old soccer club, Ontario, people are realising that the underdog can have a fighting chance for success in this beautiful land.
People are using the freedom that Nelson Mandela gave them to make a different choice.
They are doing it for Madiba.
In a democracy, you don’t need to be loyal to a party forever.
When a party betrays you, you have a chance to punish it.
A vote is not a tattoo that stays with you forever, or that everybody can see.
You are free to change your vote, and your vote is your secret.
Just because you voted for the ANC before, does not mean that you must vote for the ANC again.
You don’t need to pledge your lifelong allegiance to any party.
You are free to make a different choice at every election.
And on August the 3rd, you can join the millions of other South Africans who are voting for change.
Fellow South Africans,
We have the power that Madiba gave us.
We have hope in this election for governments of cities and towns that are inclusive, where freedom reigns.
So let’s do it for Madiba on Wednesday.
Let us choose clean government.
Let us choose jobs.
Let us choose service delivery for all.
Let us choose change that moves us forward again.
Let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa our land.
Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika.
Change is coming!