Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered by the DA Leader during a #Change19 town hall meeting in Ward 32, Msunduzi, KwaZulu Natal. The Leader was joined by DA KZN Provincial Leader, Zwakele Mncwango, DA KZN Provincial Chairperson, Hannif Hoosen, and Constituency Head, Mergan Chetty.
My fellow South Africans,
I’m here today to ask you to join me in changing things here in Ward 32 of Msunduzi municipality, and in our country, for the better.
If you don’t like what you see around you – if you are frustrated at the high rate of unemployment and poverty, or if you’re angry about the drugs and crime in your community – then change it.
I can’t do this for you. The DA can’t do this alone. It is something that will require South Africans in great numbers to stand together and say: Enough. Things can’t go on like this.
We need to change the path we’re on. Because under this ANC government, our country is heading for disaster.
The ANC stopped caring about the people of South Africa a long time ago. For them, political power is only about personal enrichment. Every thing they do, every decision they make, is all about staying connected to the web of corruption.
A caring government would never endanger the lives of 17 million vulnerable people by playing games with their social grants, like this ANC government has done.
A caring government would never let more than 100 mental health patients die in the most horrific circumstances, the way this ANC government has done.
A caring government would never be satisfied with the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, or one of the worst education systems in the world.
A caring government would not have spent a quarter of a billion Rand on one man’s palace.
Three years ago, to the day, I laid corruption charges against Jacob Zuma at the Nkandla police station. Today we’re told: “the matter is still with the NPA”. In other words, they’ve done nothing and they don’t intend to.
This ANC government thinks that these things are normal. To them, none of this is a crisis. Life is good when you’re on the inside – when you’re an ANC cadre with access to tenders and kickbacks.
But what they can’t see is how hard life is for ordinary South Africans. How difficult it is to survive when you’re an economic outsider. They can’t see this because they simply don’t care.
My fellow South Africans,
I have been traveling around the country speaking to communities just like yours about the change we need to bring to South Africa.
Here, in Ward 32 of Msunduzi municipality, you face many of the same problems that I see in communities across the country. And most of these problems affect our young people the worst.
Unemployment has caused so much damage to the lives of young South Africans. It has stolen their dreams and their future.
I have spoken to young people here in this community, and they have told me that there simply isn’t enough work for everyone. Many of them have given up looking for jobs.
For those without degrees or diplomas it’s even worse. They are made to believe that there is nothing out there for them – that they will always have to struggle to survive. That they will have to write off their dreams.
They have had to leave a broken education system and must now enter a job market where most of them will not find work.
These young people don’t know how they will ever become financially independent. They don’t know how to start building a life they can value – how to one day support families of their own.
Many of them turn to drugs, along with all the crime that supports this lifestyle. I know what whoonga addiction has done to a community like yours. It rips families apart and it turns people on each other.
It’s heart-breaking to see what unemployment, poverty and drug addiction is doing to our young people. But I want to tell you today that it doesn’t have to be like this. We can change it.
One ward at a time, one municipality at a time, we can change the things we are not happy with. We can work together to build communities where hope replaces fear and anger.
The DA has already started doing this. By working together with coalition partners in three new DA-run metros, we have said that we don’t need an uncaring ANC government anymore. We can change this country without them.
And we can do so here in Pietermaritzburg too. The DA won this ward from the ANC, for the first time ever, in last year’s municipal elections. But we did so by only 47 votes. That’s how close it was.
This was a huge blow for the ANC, because they believe they have the right to govern forever here. They don’t know how to handle defeats like these.
And this is why we’re about to vote in by-elections here in Ward 32. The desperate ANC couldn’t accept defeat and offered the DA councillor a job in the Speaker’s Office.
They’re hoping that a by-election might give different results to last year’s municipal election. But that can’t happen, as it would be a massive step backwards.
If you’re serious about change, then you need to go to the polls and tell the ANC, again, that they’ve had their chance and they blew it.
Ward 32 will not go back to the ANC. No matter how many times they intimidate and assault our activists here. No matter how many times they throw rocks and prevent us from canvassing.
Change is coming, and they won’t stop it.
In Shawn Adkins you have a candidate for councillor who will put this community first. He is a man of integrity, and he is committed to fighting for you.
Remember his name and remember his face when you go to the polls to vote in this by-election.
Because if you want to see change around here, then you have to be part of that change.
Ngiyabonga. Thank you.