I’d like to thank every single voter that came out on Wednesday to support the DA’s mission of building a non-racial alternative at the centre of South African politics. Thank you for sharing our vision of One South Africa for All and for your vote of confidence in our project. Thank you for voting for your hopes and not your fears, and for a future which we can all be proud of.
We are happy to have retained the Western Cape. We thank those in that province for renewing our mandate there and I want to assure you that we will work hard there over the next five years, to extend more and more opportunities and services to all the residents of that province, not just to those who voted for us.
Where we govern, we will continue to do so to the very best of our ability
We are also pleased that the ANC has been brought below 60% for the first time in democratic South Africa. We hope this trend will continue, so that South Africa’s democracy can move beyond one-party dominance, and become a fully-fledged, mature democracy in which corruption and poor governance is held accountable.
Our loss of support nationally is a both a disappointment. We will reflect and evaluate the reasons for this and make the necessary changes. Ultimately, our mission to build a non-racial consensus at the very centre of SA’s politics in alive and well on track.
Let me be clear. The DA will continue to hold the constitutional line. We will continue to fight for the rule of law and for a market-driven economy. We will never give up working for a united, prosperous South Africa. I am 100% committed to this project. It is a massive responsibility, but it is worth each and every blow we may take along the way. We will soldier on and ultimately, we will be successful, because we stand on principle and for what is right.
So now we will work harder than every before. We will work to win support for our vision of a united, prosperous South Africa in which Black, White, Coloured and Indian work together in the knowledge that we are better together. This has always been our mission and it will always be our mission. And we will work with all those who share this vision.
We will be working towards the local government elections of 2021 with vigour and energy. We are energised by the knowledge that we are doing the right thing. Over the past quarter century, we have established a solid foundation for growth. We have held the centre and we will build on that foundation.
Exactly four years ago to the day, I was elected to lead the Democratic Alliance. On that day, I inherited a party that was on its way to becoming a governing party of the future – a, non-racial party at the centre of building and realising the dreams, hopes and aspirations of all South Africans. I have taken responsibility for this project and I will continue to fight for it each and every day.
Today I am proud to say that the DA I lead is rapidly building upon this mandate – growing across racial, cultural, language and culture divides in many communities across the country.
Breaking the stranglehold of a liberation movement on our people is the fight of our lives, and this fight is no easy task. Never before in the history of our country – or our continent – has this brave and valiant dream been achieved. It promises to be filled with valleys and mountain tops, with highs and lows. But I am confident today that in the end we will be triumphant, in achieving what is difficult but possible – building One South Africa for All.
Indeed, the realignment of politics in South Africa is now well underway. Our history is one of division – a history of competing forms of nationalism. And breaking out of that way of thinking will take time. But we are not deterred.
While change is uncomfortable, change is required if we are to achieve the dream of building One South Africa for All. Shifts in the electoral landscape, and in support levels for different parties is a natural part of what our project requires. This means that the electorate is fluid and everchanging – something we haven’t seen in our young democracy.
Today, the DA I lead has diversified its support to never-before seen levels. From race to culture, from language to religion – we are holding the moderate non-racial centre ground. We remain the only party that is attracting all South Africans – Black, White, Coloured and Indian – coalescing around our shared values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity.
And we’ve shown this. In terms of growth amongst black South Africans, the DA is set to grow in 7 of the 9 provinces. This is not by chance, but by change. By focusing on a compelling offer that speaks to all South Africans. In contrast the ANC under Cyril Ramaphosa is at its weakest its ever been. Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered the ANC a worse result than Jacob Zuma. The ANC is also fighting hard to keep a majority in Gauteng – the economic heartland of South Africa.
We cannot run away from the ANC’s legacy of stagnant economic growth and rampant corruption. The stark reality is that resources are scarce and drying up. Opportunity is limited chiefly due to ANC corruption and an inability to manage and grow our economy.
The reality is that people are scared, and many are resorting and retreating back to what they’ve always known. People are organising into the familiar – grouping of those who look like us, sound like us, or pray like us. This is not our fault, but a lingering legacy of our past which must be defeated.
However, as a nation, we cannot respond to nationalism and radicalism with more radicalism and more nationalism, be it in South Africa, or in so many countries around the world where these forces are on the rise. The counter to increasing nationalism, division and radical populism is unity and principled politics. And this is what the DA stands for.
The sad reality is while the posters come down, the campaign buses are decommissioned and the sloganeering ends, the harsh conditions under which the majority of South Africans live under still remain, and as the DA we will continue to fight for them.
Where we occupy the opposition benches, we will hold those in power accountable; where we are in government, we will use our power responsibility to ensure that services are delivered, our people are cared for and that we build a working and inclusive economy.
Change that builds One South Africa for All is not just a slogan, it’s a call to action which we will apply in all we do going forward. When we adopt budgets in governments where must ask “will this bring change that builds One South Africa for All?” When we stand up as MPs and MPLs in opposition we will put forward credible alternatives that build One South Africa for All.
We now look forward to the local government elections in 2021 where we look on track to win more municipalities and bring our track record of good, clean governance to millions of more South Africans.
Our project has arisen. While it is easy to shout divisive slogans and make unachievable promises, it is much tougher to build a principled organisation for the future.
We will continue to build a non-racial alternative at the centre of SA’s politics. We will work to bring more and more people on board, and to win back those who have left us. Always, we will work to build a united, prosperous South Africa. We will never lose hope for the future and we will never give up.