Register to rescue Gauteng and South Africa

Issued by John Steenhuisen – DA Federal Leader
11 Jul 2023 in News

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered by the DA Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen, during the launch of the party’s voter registration campaign in Soweto as South Africa gears up for the 2024 General Election.

It’s wonderful to be with you here today in Soweto.

A place deeply embedded in the history of South Africa, where so many lived who fought for, and won, the vote for all the people of this country.

Those who fought so hard and sacrificed so much for the right to vote did so knowing that voting is the easiest and most peaceful way to install a better government. A government committed to working for all the people of South Africa, not just some of them.

We owe it to those struggle heroes – but more than that, we owe it to ourselves – to use our vote to install a new government that can rescue Gauteng and South Africa. A government that can grow the economy for jobs, keep the lights on, and keep people safe.

I don’t need to tell you that our beloved country is going backwards fast. Never before in the history of democratic South Africa has it been more important for us to use that hard won right to vote.

And nowhere else is it more crucial to use your vote than right here in Gauteng, the country’s economic powerhouse, where the Moonshot Pact is so close to getting into government after next year’s election. So close we can smell success.

The DA’s polling shows that the opposition parties that have come together in the Moonshot Pact already have 48% of the vote in Gauteng.

This is the greatest source of hope for South Africa. This is the lifeline we need to rescue our country.

Because if we’re at 48% already, imagine how many more people will be energized to register and to vote, once they hear that a new government has a real prospect of victory here in this province.

If the Moonshot Pact parties get over 50% in Gauteng next year, it will be a gamechanger for South Africa.

By applying the same tried and tested approach that the DA takes in the Western Cape – an approach based on honest government that gets the basics right and makes it easy to start and grow businesses – the Pact parties will fix and build Gauteng.

A healthy, thriving Gauteng, the economic heart of South Africa, will go a long way to getting South Africa’s economy growing again and creating jobs.

But it doesn’t end there. Because the Moonshot Pact parties are also within striking distance of getting across the line in KZN. In fact, for a couple weeks running now, the Pact parties have been on 52% of the vote in KZN.

This has massive significance for rescuing South Africa, because together with DA-governed Western Cape, these two provinces account for two thirds of our economy and almost two thirds of our population.

But the Moonshot Pact parties are not just aiming to govern these two provinces next year. We’re aiming to govern the whole country.

And it’s not an unrealistic aim if you consider that we’re already on 35% of the vote, and that 13 million non-voters and 14 million unregistered voters now have a real reason to register and vote, because now there is a credible pathway to success for a new government that can rescue South Africa.

Fellow democrats. I’m here today to urge you to register. And to get your friends and family to register. Because rescuing South Africa starts with registering to vote.

Before you can vote, you must register. This is my message to you today. Power is in the hands of the registered.

Between now and September, I’ll be taking this message to all the provinces of South Africa.

I’m kicking off my registration drive here in Gauteng, because as I’ve said, nowhere is there more hope, and nowhere is this message more important than in Gauteng.

Just as the people of Soweto were the change makers that brought democracy in 1994, so the people of Soweto must be the change makers that rescue South Africa in 2024.

If you don’t think your vote can make a difference in Gauteng , consider that the DA won uMngeni Municipality in KZN in 2021 by just 42 votes. And uMngeni is not looking back. It’s going from strength to strength, because the DA government there is getting the basics right, taking a people-centred, servant leadership approach to service delivery.

When the Moonshot Pact parties win Gauteng next year, our focus will be on growing the provincial economy by making it as easy and attractive as possible for people to start and grow and operate successful businesses in the province.

Because successful businesses create jobs, and jobs bring dignity and prosperity.

The enormous opportunity that Gauteng presents in 2024 is one of the reasons the DA is working so hard to get more powers devolved to the Western Cape province – especially energy generation, passenger rail and policing. Because it opens the way for other competent provinces to follow suit.

The other great benefit of a successful Gauteng Provincial Government is that it will go a long way to fixing the Gauteng metros.

Cape Town works because it has a provincial government that works for the City rather than against it.

With the Moonshot Pact parties already in government in Tshwane, it will be so much easier to fix and build the capital city.

And when the residents of Joburg and Ekurhuleni see Tshwane drawing ahead, they too will lend their votes to the Moonshot Pact.

I know many in Gauteng are concerned about coalitions, because of the instability in the Gauteng metros. But consider that the DA is in coalition in 20 governments around the country and 90% of them are successfully delivering to residents.

In addition, the DA is working hard to get new laws passed that will go a long way to stabilizing coalitions. Laws that are already common in other countries with the same proportional representation electoral system as South Africa’s.

The fact is, it is time for South Africans to replace the ANC with a new multi-party government that can rescue South Africa.

And the Moonshot Pact means that for the first time, voters now have a credible multi-party alternative with a realistic path to victory.

Democracy is about accountability.

Democrats, it is time to hold the ANC accountable for the destruction they have wrought in Gauteng and South Africa.

Ramaphosa is wanting voters to give him yet another chance to govern, saying he’s had the most challenges of any president, due to the pandemic, a struggling economy, and the ripple effects of state capture.

But don’t be fooled.

His lockdowns did far more damage to lives and livelihoods than the pandemic did.

As for state capture, he was Deputy President from 2014 to 2018, and was part of the same ANC under Zuma that created these problems in the first place. Now he’s trying to distance himself from what took place. But as head of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee during the height of the state capture years, he was a chief engineer of cadre deployment and has defended it ever since.

And he points to the struggling economy as if he has nothing to do with the damaging economic policies that have brought South Africa’s economy to its knees.

It is his party’s obsession with centralizing and controlling every aspect of the state that has crippled South Africa’s economy.

The ANC’s insistence on centralizing all power generation in Eskom has caused the loadshedding that is stunting our growth.

And now they want to do the same thing to SA’s healthcare sector. Insisting on being at the centre of every solution has meant the ANC has been at the centre of every problem.

And don’t be fooled.

The reason they want to centralise and control everything is because it maximizes the opportunities for looting.

Even their crazy foreign policy of siding with Russia has everything to do with what the ANC can get out of it, and nothing to do with SA’s best interest.

Just this morning I visited a vehicle manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, which risks losing its market access under AGOA, because of the ANCs’ cosy relationship with Russia. In total, R157 billion in South African vehicle exports and 122 000 jobs are under threat.

Democrats, no one can afford to sit out the 2024 election.

This is our chance to use our precious right to vote, to rescue our precious country and start to take it forward again, for the benefit of everyone.

The right to vote is a right we should never take for granted. As the adage goes: Use it or lose it. If we don’t use it, we risk losing it.

The people of Soweto brought change in 1994 and the people of Soweto can bring change in 2024.

And that change starts with registering to vote.

Do it to honour those Sowetans who sacrificed so much for your right to vote.

Do it for future generations who deserve to live in a thriving, prosperous, safe South Africa.

But most of all, do it for yourself, because you deserve better.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at