The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, while casting his vote in Dobsonville, Soweto. Maimane was joined by family and friends.
My fellow South Africans,
My parents moved into this area and lived here under the Group Areas Act. Never did they imagine, back then, that they would one day cast their votes right here in Dobsonville in a democratic election.
But apartheid fell and 1994 came around, and the people of Dobsonville, Soweto, joined millions of other across the country as they elected their first ever democratic government.
But even then, they could not have imagined that less than two decades later, they would be living here under a DA government. Yet here we are today – Johannesburg is blue, and the people of Dobsonville wake up every day under a DA government. And although there is still a long way to go, the changes this government has brought are already being felt.
People change. Governments change. This change is a normal and necessary part of any healthy democracy. And now, after 25 years of failed ANC government, it is our duty to bring the next wave of change to our country and to this province of Gauteng.
This morning I joined my parents and my sister here in the neighbourhood of my childhood to cast my vote in South Africa’s sixth national and provincial election. I feel honoured to vote in Soweto, where a large part of our struggle for freedom was forged and where so many of our past leaders hail from. And I am extremely proud to say that, through my vote, I played my part in bringing change to our country.
Today I stand with millions of other South Africans who are tired of the empty promises, the lies and the corruption, and who want something better for South Africa. My vote for the DA is no secret, but for many South Africans it is a far harder decision, and certainly a far harder choice to declare.
Change is scary. For people who’ve only ever known one party their whole life, choosing a different option could mean turning their back on the party of their parents and stepping into the unknown. I know how difficult this is, because I too was once in the same position.
But I know this is precisely what millions of South Africans will do today. They will say: “This election is not about the past. This is about the future.”
Voting is an expression of what is possible – it lets us imagine a better tomorrow. Your vote today has to express this hope for a better tomorrow, rather than your fear of the unfamiliar.
I am voting for change today. I am voting for the almost 10 million South Africans who don’t have jobs. I am voting for a safe South Africa where people are not held prisoner by criminals in their own communities. I am voting for a prosperous, inclusive and united country. I am voting for the South Africa of the future, not the past.
Your vote is a right for which many South Africans paid a very high price. It is your democratic duty to use this right and build the country you want to live in. It is a chance that only comes by once every five years, and it is absolutely crucial that you don’t waste it.
I am asking all South Africans: Please go out in great numbers today and make your democracy work for you. Go to your voting station and stand alongside your fellow countrymen and women. Get to know them as you share this historic day. Together, you are choosing the future of our country. You are writing our new chapter.
And when you make your mark on the ballot paper, remember that you are not alone in wanting to chart a new course for South Africa. Many others around you are doing the same.
So be brave and choose change. Vote for the future. Vote DA!