The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the unveiling of a billboard in the Johannesburg CBD. Maimane was joined by DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga; Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, Jack Bloom; Acting Regional Chairperson, Tshepo Mhlongo; National Spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe; Provincial Leader, John Moodey; Campaign Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi; Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen; Team One SA Spokesperson on Corruption, Phumzile van Damme; Team One SA Spokesperson on State Capture, Natasha Mazzone, and Federal Youth Leader, Luyolo Mphithi.
Fellow South Africans,
Today we reflect on the true state of our nation, which is divided into haves and have-nots. Insiders and outsiders. The fact is, there are two South Africa’s.
There is a South Africa of the politically connected – those who have jobs and access to good education and other opportunities. They are the insiders.
And there is a South Africa of the excluded, those who are forgotten and left out. Those who have no jobs and no hope of getting one. Those who go to school and will never finish. Those who use pit latrines. They are the outsiders.
The truest state of our nation is that too many are on the outside. Fellow South Africans, we must never accept this division. We must throw our hearts and minds and souls into building one South Africa for all.
The ANC will never do this. Because they don’t care about the outsiders. Today, we are here to honour the outsiders. To honour the people whose lives have been trampled on by the ANC.
Democrats, the ANC is harming and killing South Africa. When I say this, I don’t just mean they’re harming our economy and killing our dreams. I mean they are literally harming our bodies and killing us.
People – men, women and children – are dying completely avoidable deaths because of ANC neglect and corruption. Many of our brothers and sisters have died unnecessarily and many more will die because the ruling party has long since stopped caring about the people of this nation.
Neglect and corruption are not victimless crimes. The people who suffer their consequences have names and faces.
We are here today to remember the 144 Esidimeni victims. These people died horrible, cruel deaths from starvation, hypothermia, dehydration and neglect. The ANC government here in Gauteng chose to deny food and basic care to hundreds of the most vulnerable, all in the name of “saving money”. But we all know the money eventually found its way into the pockets of ANC cadres and crooks.
Democrats, the ANC government has lost R700 billion to corruption, but it chose to save money by cutting food and care for the most helpless and vulnerable among us. It’s the ANC first, and the people of South Africa last.
The Esidimeni mass murder was committed in Gauteng under David Makhura’s watch, and yet he is still Premier. ANC officials can literally get away with murder. Because the ANC cares only about themselves. Accountability and justice are foreign concepts to the ANC.
Fellow South Africans, today we also remember the 34 victims of the brutal Marikana Massacre. On 16 August 2012, members of the South African Police opened fire on these 34 men, brutally shooting them – many of them in the back.
On that fateful day, bullets from police assault rifles entered the bodies – young and old – of those 34 men. Blood splattered from their bodies. It seeped into the South African soil. That same blood is on the hands of the ANC and it will never wash off.
On 16 August 2012, the ANC government massacred South Africans. Like the 144 Esidimeni victims, these 34 Marikana victims could have been spared. No one had to die. Every single one of these deaths came down to a greedy, detached, and uncaring government.
Fellow South Africans, the ANC care only about themselves. They don’t care about us. And they care even less about your children.
We are here today to mourn the tragic, pointless, unnecessary, untimely, ghastly deaths of all the innocent little children who have drowned in faeces in pit toilets at schools across the country.
We remember five-year-old Michael Komape who drowned in a pit toilet at his school in Limpopo in 2014. After that, the Education Department promised to replace all unsafe school toilets by 2016.
But that promise was broken. Over 3000 schools across South Africa still have only pit latrines.
So today we also remember five-year-old Lumka Mketwa. She drowned in a pit toilet in March last year at Luna primary school in Bizana in the Eastern Cape.
And we remember three-year-old Omari Monono. His innocent life was cut short in July last year when he fell into a pit toilet in Limpopo.
These and countless other children have paid the ultimate price for ANC failure and incompetence. They have paid with their young lives.
These tragic deaths remind us that corruption is not a victimless crime. It is ANC corruption that has eaten a hole in SA’s budget. The hole they filled by slashing the school infrastructure budget.
Deputy President DD Mabuza took money meant for school infrastructure and used it to open ANC branches and buy political support. That money could have provided our children with safe toilets. Instead, DD Mabuza chose to kill his way to the top. Corruption is not a victimless crime.
I ask now for a moment of silence for the Esidimeni victims, the Marikana victims, the pit latrine victims. A moment of silence for…
Mmusi Maimane to read out their names. A moment of silence.
Fellow South Africans, these men, women and children are the most high-profile victims of the ANC in government. But there are hundreds of thousands more victims of crime, who have suffered and died unnecessarily because the ANC is incapable of providing a professional, well-trained police force.
Since 1994, almost half a million people have been murdered in South Africa.
Since 1994, over a million people have been raped.
Despite these shocking numbers, we can never know the full human cost of ANC neglect and corruption. But we do know that the more the ANC focus on themselves, the more they forget South Africa.
The ANC has been getting away with murder for too long now.
Fellow South Africans, the best way to honour all those who have died at the hands of the uncaring ANC government is to choose a new government in the 2019 national election. A government that will build one SA for all.
The DA is the only party with a track record of good, clean governance. We are the only party that can turn the tide against crime and lawlessness, and against deteriorating infrastructure.
In government, we will spend every rand of the police budget on training and resourcing SAPS to keep people safe. We will spend every rand of the school infrastructure budget on improving school infrastructure.
Just think how many lives will be saved and how much suffering will be avoided under a DA national government. So, register to vote DA, for an honest, caring government that builds one South Africa for all.