The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Stella, North West Province, as part of the #Change19 Tour.
My fellow South Africans,
It’s great to be here in the North West Province, speaking to you about what we can do to build the kind of South Africa that works for all.
Today in this province, in the North-West High Court in Rustenburg, the trial of 19 men accused of killing non-striking miners in Marikana resumes. This trial will bring some closure for the families of the victims and the community of Marikana.
All those responsible for the terrible events that took place in Marikana must face the full might of the law, and their victims must never be forgotten.
My fellow South Africans,
I have been meeting with residents of this Stella community this morning in their homes, speaking to them about the issues that their families are facing. And what I saw and heard here today has saddened me.
If this is the best that this ANC government of Naledi Municipality can do for you, then you need a new government here. The sooner the better. Because what I saw here this morning is not how citizens of this country are meant to live 23 years into our democracy.
I met families struggling to put any kind of food on the table – some even resorting to collecting expired meat dumped by the local butcher.
I met families who have to walk 500m to the only tap in the area to fetch water for their homes. And very often this tap would be dry.
I met families of three generations where the only income is a child support grant – families that can’t afford the basic school uniforms or books, not to mention any kind of studies after school.
I met people still waiting for electricity, taps, flushing toilets – all the things that a caring government is meant to provide for the people they serve. But that doesn’t happen here, because this ANC government has stopped caring a long time ago.
Throughout this municipality, young people have had to abandon their hope of achieving more, because just surviving from day to day is hard enough. We tell our children they can be whatever they can dream, but we forget how impossible this can seem when you can’t see a way out of your current situation.
This can’t be the way forward for the young people of South Africa. We cannot accept that a whole generation will have nothing to look forward to except unemployment, crime, drugs and teenage pregnancy. We cannot tell our children that they must limit their dreams to the size of a social grant.
No, my fellow South Africans, you are not getting the service you deserve from your government, and you must not accept this.
You must not accept that a single Jojo tank has to provide water to a community of 3000 people. And if it wasn’t for the efforts of the former DA candidate here, Don Diedereck, along with your current DA candidate, Alfred Lekgetho, there wouldn’t even be this one tank.
You must not accept the slow pace of housing delivery here. You must not accept the unfair way in which these houses are handed out. And you must not accept that many of these houses don’t even have taps.
You must not accept the fact that many of you don’t have electricity and that many of you have to share pit toilets.
You have every right to expect more from your government. And if you think the government you voted for has let you down, you have every right to change your vote in Wednesday’s by-election and vote for a government that will serve you.
That’s the benefit of this by-election – it allows you a rare second chance to decide what you want for this community here in Ward 1, and for your municipality.
I want to assure you today that if you put your trust in the DA and in our candidate here, Alfred Lekgetho, we will work hard to repay that trust. We will listen to your concerns, we will respond to your needs and we will make sure that the will of the people of Stella is truly represented in this local government.
And if you then feel that a DA ward councillor has made a positive difference to your community, you can go one step further in two years’ time and vote for a DA government here in the North West province, and in South Africa.
Because the big issues that people face here and across the country – unemployment, poverty and lack of opportunities – need to be solved in national government.
We know by now that this ANC government will not and cannot do so. It is time for change – for a new beginning – and only you have the power of the vote to bring that change.