The following speech was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the DA Northern Cape Provincial Manifesto Launch in Kimberley.
Fellow South Africans
If ever there was a province crying out for a new government, it is this great province – the Northern Cape.
It is a province that has all the potential to succeed, but it has been run into the ground by an ANC government that simply cannot put the interests of the people ahead of its own greed.
Here you will find an intersection of all of South Africa’s problems. From the brutal legacy of our past when alcohol was often used as a substitute for wages, resulting in the highest rates of alcoholism and foetal alcohol syndrome in the country, to the worst possible modern day ANC government, this province has suffered more than most.
Today the Northern Cape is a place where dreams just never take off. This is a province where children don’t finish school, and even those who do don’t have much of a future to look forward to. At 54% it has the highest school drop-out rate in South Africa, which means that more than half the children who enrol in Grade 10, don’t write matric three years later.
This is a province where small businesses are strangled by a corrupt government, bad policy and unreliable services, until they eventually have to either close their doors or relocate elsewhere in the country. All economic development here has stalled a long time ago, and along with this, all hope of creating jobs. Today almost 40% of working age people here can’t find jobs.
This is a province where many communities still don’t have electricity and water. They have been caught in stage 5 and 6 load-shedding since the beginning of time.
It is a province where the criminals in the ANC are deployed to leadership positions and left to do as they like.
The Northern Cape is truly our country’s forgotten province, and the only time they every see their elected leaders is in the weeks running up to an election.
But there is good news: With only forty days to go to the election, the DA and the ANC are running neck and neck in polling. More residents here than ever before have indicated that they are done with the ANC and that they are ready for change.
This means the ANC is facing the very likely prospect of losing this province to a DA-led coalition, just as it narrowly lost the Western Cape to a DA-led coalition ten years ago. And in the ten years since then, the Western Cape was transformed under the DA into the best-performing province in South Africa by a long, long distance.
Today the Western Cape leads all the other provinces on every measurable criteria, from corruption-free government to education outcomes, and from healthcare and life expectancy to job creation and employment rates.
There is no doubt that where the DA governs in the Western Cape, people are better off. And it all started with a narrow victory for a coalition government back in 2009. This is where the Northern Cape finds itself today. And on the 8th of May the people of this great province must do to the ANC what the people of the Western Cape did back then.
Only then can we start rebuilding this province into a place of opportunity and hope. Only then can we bring stability and growth to the local economy here, and make this a place where investors see a future.
Only then can we stabilise the provision of basic services, and speed up the rollout of these services to those who have been waiting in vain under an ANC government.
Only then can we install a government here made up of men and women who truly want to serve the people.
Just compare the quality of leadership in this province. One the one hand you have people like the ANC’s Premier Sylvia Lucas – whose biggest claim to fame is spending thousands of Rands of taxpayer’s money on fast foods – and the ANC’s Provincial Chair John Block, who is locked up in prison for corruption. And on the other hand you have the DA’s candidate for Premier, Andrew Louw – a son of the Northern Cape who has proven, again and again, his commitment to the people and his willingness to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in. There is just no comparison.
The Northern Cape is ready for change. The polling numbers show it, and the people on the ground have told me they are ready. The ANC knows it is sliding backwards and they know the DA has the momentum.
Never before has there been a better chance of removing the ANC government in the Northern Cape. Never before has there been a better reason to go out on election day and make your mark to choose your own future.
Let us vote for change.
Let us vote for a job in every home in this province.
Let us make this province safe and prosperous with opportunities for all its people.
Let us install a new DA government here and unlock the full potential of the Northern Cape.