The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at Nkululeko House – the Party’s campaign HQ in Gauteng – following a two-day sitting of the DA’s Federal Executive (FedEx).
The Federal Executive (FedEx) of the Democratic Alliance met over the last two days to discuss matters of importance to the party and our national programme ahead of the 2019 general election. This statement serves to communicate the outcomes of this weekend’s sitting.
The central focus of this weekend’s FedEx meeting was to discuss and consider the Party’s strategy and plans going into next year’s National General Election. The 2019 Election is set to be the most hotly contested and competitive national election since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
The growing dissatisfaction with the ANC saw historical shifts in government in the 2016 Local Government Election – with DA governments taking office in the country’s largest cities. We are confident that in 2019, we will grow even further as many more South Africans will choose the DA as the flagbearer for a united, non-racial and prosperous South Africa where jobs and wealth are created, our streets are safe, corruption is eradicated, and services are delivered to all.
FedEx moved to adopt a number of resolutions this weekend, which will form the basis of our election campaign. FedEx has set the party the following non-negotiable targets for the 2019 election:
- To become the biggest party in Gauteng and form a government in the province;
- To become the biggest party in the Northern Cape and form a government in the province; and
- Retain the Western Cape with an increased majority.
Therefore, the focus lies in Gauteng, Northern Cape and Western Cape with these being our “strategic” provinces. In addition to this, we plan to substantially increase our percentage of the national votes cast. This means that the provinces of KwaZulu Natal, the North West and the Eastern Cate will contribute significantly to the growth targets of the party based on our strong structures and electoral performance.
Our recent performance in these provinces in both by-elections and university and TVET college SRC elections shows the DA in breaking new ground as voters choose the DA’s vision for a One South Africa For All. From Letaba TVET college in Limpopo, to the symbolic and historic Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape – the DA is growing and winning elections on campuses across the country as young people agree that the DA is the only party with a plan for the future.
In recent by-elections, the DA has grown significantly in both rural and urban areas – in suburbs and in townships. Just this week, the people of the Eastern Cape endorses the DA’s agenda for change. We grew from 88% to 96.01% in the Ward 18 by-election in Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) yesterday, and from 6.24% to 24.94% in Ward 9, Ingquza Hill Local Municipality.
Pursuant to these targets, we have resolved that during this Parliamentary constituency period, all DA Members of Parliament will be undertaking an intensive 75-day period to interact with voters in their constituencies and beyond. Public representatives will engage with South Africans to present our offer, while reassuring voters in areas where we already govern the we will continue our efforts.
The party will go into official campaign mode during the month of June, with a view to officially launch the national campaign in July 2018. Alongside the Party’s Presidential Candidate will be a diverse and capable team who will each be mandated with one of the key strategic issues that affect South Africans daily.
Following that the party will launch Premier candidate campaigns across the country. It is our belief that we field Premier candidates in each province who are capable, dedicated, and able to speak to voters directly on our plans to bring about real change.
In addition to this, campaign groups and units are being rolled out across the country with DA members and volunteers delivering our offer of hope and change to thousands of South Africans on a daily basis. Structures are ready, our field redesign is complete, and our activists are eager to get going.
Lastly, we call on interested South Africans to put forward their name and apply to be a DA public representative in Parliament and in the Provincial Legislatures. We are looking for excellent people from all walks of life to build caucuses that represent South Africa in all its diversity. Application officially close on 30 June and can be accessed at www.da.org.za
We believe that no matter who is in charge of the ANC, it cannot bring about the real change need to move our country forward. A DA-led government in the future is the only way to fight poverty, create jobs, and to bring about a future of peace and prosperity for all.
The lead up to 16 June requires us as a nation to reflect on the current situation our young people find themselves in, and what more needs to be done to honour the young of 1976.
While the struggle of ’76 was about personal and political freedom, today’s struggle is the struggle for jobs and opportunity. After 24 years of democracy, young people are still provided an inadequate education that doesn’t prepare them sufficiently for the job market.
Young people are the worst affected by unemployment. Over 50% of our youth are without jobs. That means half of the country’s most productive workforce is unemployed.
Job creation is the only way that we can empower our young people.
FedEx notes and congratulates DA-led governments across the country that are creating job opportunities. It is fact where the DA governs, unemployment levels are lower than in the rest of the country.
At national level, a DA government would provide access to a national civilian service programme which would provide young school-leavers an opportunity to receive industry training in the fields of their choice; provide free higher education for students who are unable to afford it; and grow the economy to enable true access to jobs and other job opportunities such as the EPWP programme and the Vukuzakhe programme which partners school leavers and the private sector.
That is why it is a core focus of ours to ensure young people register to vote in next year’s election. Youth apathy at the polls is simply not an option. The DA’s youth structures will continue their programme of action this month, led by newly elected DA Youth Leader, Luyolo Mphithi.
To commemorate and celebrate Youth Day this year, the Party will be holding two national events. On 15 June, we will conduct a wreath laying ceremony at the Hector Peterson Memorial in honour of the youth of 1976 and those who bravely lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom. On 16 June, we will hold a Youth Day rally at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Eastern Cape, the academic home of many ANC stalwarts including Nelson Mandela. DASO just recently won the SRC elections at Fort Hare, where students chose to vote for a fresh mandate and real change.
The state of our economy remains one of the DA’s key focuses. Without a growing, vibrant and inclusive economy, we will never address the injustices of our past, and create opportunity for our young people to pursue their own destiny.
FedEx notes with major concern the latest GDP figures, and unemployment rate. Since Cyril Ramaphosa’s election, the economy has taken a huge blow. Unemployment is at a post 1994 record high with 9,4 million South Africans looking for work. Added to this, economy shrunk by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2018 – its worst faring in close on a decade. This included high employment sectors such as agriculture (-24%), mining (-9.9%) and manufacturing (-6.4%).
This is compounded by the financial war Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC government has launched against poor, working and middle-class South Africans. In addition to a 1 percentage point VAT increase, an Income Tax increase, “Sin tax” increase, and an increase in RAF and General Fuel Levy – the price of petrol skyrocketed earlier this week to an unprecedented R15.79 per litre. This will mean the cost of living – mainly food and transport – will increase, adding a further financial burden to ordinary South Africans.
I have therefore requested that this matter be dealt with in Parliament as a matter of urgency. I have approach the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate of public importance to consider the current structure and composition of RAF and General Fuel Levies, and this can be altered to relieve ordinary South Africans from this financial strain.
Despite these negative conditions, DA governments continue their work in creating jobs and providing support to job creators. Next week I’ll be visiting two projects – one in Cape Town and one in Tshwane – where DA-led governments have shown creativity and innovation in spearheading economic growth and job creation.
Indeed, as a nation we have all hoped a Ramaphosa Presidency would yield positive results for our economy. However, the latest GDP and unemployment figures tell South Africans what they already know: an ANC government can never grow our economy at the rate we need to create new, permanent jobs for the almost 10 million unemployed South Africans.
The ANC is about big government, big business, and big labour – with the poor and unemployed way down in the pecking order. It is only the DA that is relentlessly focused on providing jobs and opportunity to those left behind.
The fight for an alternative, post-ANC South Africa is in full swing. We are forging ahead in creating a shared future for all South Africans.
Between now and 2019, we will use every opportunity in government, every single day, to win the trust of voters, and to show South Africans that there is another choice; a better choice, and that choice is the Democratic Alliance