South Africa chose hope over fear

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The following speech was delivered by the DA Leader in the National Assembly during a debate of national public importance on the 2016 Local Government Elections.

First of all, let me thank the Chief Whip of the Majority Party for tabling this important motion for debate, in what must be a very difficult time for his party.

It is indeed crucial that we take stock of where we are as a nation following the local government elections on the 3rd August.

Because, make no mistake, South Africa woke up to a different country on the 4th of August.

On the 11th of August, Patricia de Lille was re-elected as Mayor of Cape Town, after the DA won 66.61% of the vote.

On Thursday, our former leader in this Parliament, Athol Trollip, was elected unopposed as the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay.

On Friday, Solly Msimanga was sworn in as the Mayor of our nation’s capital, Tshwane.

And, I have just returned from our economic heartland, Johannesburg, where we witnessed the election of Herman Mashaba as Mayor last night.

This caps the election of opposition-led governments in towns and villages across the country from Kouga in the Eastern Cape, to Mookgopong in Limpopo and to Metsimaholo in the Free State.

So let me take this opportunity, from the bottom of my heart, to thank every South African that voted for change in this election.

You showed us what we are capable of as a nation.

You showed us that, when things go wrong, we have the capacity to choose a different path.

It is indeed fitting to evoke the memory of Nelson Mandela who once said:

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

In this election, millions of voters chose hope over fear.

They refused to succumb to divisive race-based rhetoric, because they know that we are better together.

So, to my ANC colleagues on the other side of this House, the lesson of this election is very clear:

Never take the voters for granted.

The voters are watching us, and they will throw us out of office if we disrespect them.

And so I say to my DA colleagues in the 33 governments we now lead:

Let us never arrogantly claim that we have a divine right to rule, or that we will “govern until Jesus comes back”.

Let us govern with grace and humility.

Let us listen to the people who put us in power.

Let us do our best, at all times, for all the citizens of this country.

Let us never take the voters for granted.

Madam Speaker, now that the dust has settled, we can start to look ahead to the future.

This election is a tipping point that heralds the complete realignment of our politics.

The age of the arrogant dominant party is over.

A new dawn of vibrant, multiparty politics is upon us.

In this election, we have sown the seeds for victory over our enemies in the coming years.

And when I say enemies, I am not referring to any particular person or party.

Because, for us, politics has never been about that.

When I say enemies, I refer to the three-headed monster of poverty, inequality and corruption.

These are our sworn enemies. And we will keep fighting until they have been defeated.

Let us never compete for power for its own sake.

The DA will always remember that power is a means to an end – a tool that, if used wisely and with humility, really can bring about a better life for all.

Ke a leboga!

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