The following remarks were delivered today by the DA Leader at the launch of the nationwide #BackToThePeople tour in Beaufort West, Western Cape. The Leader was joined by the DA’s Western Cape Leader, Patricia De Lille.
Today we launch the #BackToThePeople tour, in which I as Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) will visit every new DA-run municipality across the country, to outline the DA’s vision and action plan at local government level.
The 2016 Local Government Elections proved to be a tipping point in the South African political landscape. The DA grew exponentially, and we now govern an additional 16 municipalities, with an opportunity to change the lives of millions more South Africans.
In total, the DA now governs 37 municipalities across 6 provinces. Of those, 4 are Metros, 4 are District municipalities and 29 are Local Municipalities. This means that DA governments now directly affect the lives of over 16 million South Africans.
We are not just an opposition voice anymore. We are building the alternative for South Africa – a movement of people who believe that we South Africans are better together, that our country belongs to all who live in it. We are a party in government, and a party of government.
There’s no debate about the fact that where the DA governs, life gets progressively better. Our work is not done, and we need to ensure that we work harder so that the social contract with communities like this is respected upheld. This social contract with you and the DA is to deliver an environment that creates jobs; we need to work to deliver quality services, especially to the poor; finally in order to deliver services and create jobs we must stop corruption.
In everything that we do as the DA in government we are held firm our foundations and values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity.
We are adamant that we must deliver title deeds so South Africans can be owners of their properties, which enable them to unlock economic opportunities. Furthermore, our governments must always be open for business. We must ensure that investment into our towns is increased.
Our focus is on working for and with the people, not working to advance the economic interests of politicians.
But what does this mean for ordinary citizens?
The DA is not the kind of political party that you will only see once every five years, just before each election. It is about time that South Africans have a government that works for all the people of this beautiful country.
That is why I am travelling to every new DA government to tell not just the community, but the mayors and councillors that here in the DA, the people come first.
Democrats, make no mistake, the ANC is active in communities. We see it once every 5 years.
Just before election time, they come into communities, and try defend the indefensible. With their flashy cars, they think that some food parcels and some “dabbing” is enough to fool our people into voting for them.
The ANC treats us like we’re fools!
But in between elections, where are they?
When you have no houses, no jobs, no running water, and no flushing toilets?
Where are they?
I’ll tell you where: they’re busy defending Jacob Zuma and all his corruption.
And that is why Beaufort West saw through these lies, and voted for change in the Local Government Elections.
The DA didn’t ask for your vote to sit in “ivory towers” and steal money like the ANC. On the contrary, we asked for your vote to be your voice, and your champion in government. And to implement our Manifesto for Change, which seeks to cut corruption, create jobs, and deliver better services.
We campaigned on change; now we must bring change!
From Mogale City to Metsimaholo, from Thabazimbi to Tshwane, the people of South Africa must experience the change they voted for!
You may ask, why launch this tour here in Beaufort West? Why not in a big city like Johannesburg or Tshwane.
I’ll tell you why.
Because the story of Beaufort West sums up perfectly what these elections were all about, as the people of Beaufort West voted for change.
Since our first democratic dispensation, the Beaufort West Municipality has always been under the political control of the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC governed here like the people of Beaufort West would vote for them “until Jesus returns”.
An uncaring government, with a corrupt Mayor, the ANC believed the people would elect them unconditionally.
However, since the 2016 Local Government Elections, the political landscape within the Municipality has changed. This municipality is now DA governed, and is headed towards a better future.
The previous Mayor of Beaufort West needs no introduction. The infamous Truman Prince is anything but “true” to the principles and values of the Constitution.
He is the man who presided over the financial meltdown of this municipality, which has had far reaching consequences for job creation and service delivery.
The DA government inherited a debt of almost R80 million rand from his administration. Of that, R50 million is more than 60 days overdue.
So our first job must be to sort out the finances. This will be a challenge. But we will do it. We will run a municipality that pays its bills on time, and comes in on budget.
This is also the man who – in the epitome of corruption – wrote to local businesses urging them to donate to the ANC if they wanted to successfully bid for tenders.
The culture of corruption runs so deep within the ANC that they consider stooping to such levels.
Turning this town around is not an easy task. But I ask you to journey with us as we turn this town, like every other new DA municipality, into a vibrant and growing community in which the lives of every resident are changed for the better.
We now have a new mayor and a new political leadership here. The political leadership of the Municipality is totally new, with 5 of the 6 Mayco Councillors being elected to office for the first time.
It will obviously take time to change this culture within our municipality, but it will be done.
In the coming months and years, you will start to experience the DA difference, bringing honest, caring government to the people of Beaufort West, Murraysburg, Nelspoort and Merweville.
I thank you!