SONA DEBATE: Rescue Tintswalo’s South African Dream

13 Feb 2024 in Speeches

Madam Speaker, my fellow South Africans, Mr President,

Thank you for sharing with us the story of Tintswalo, the child of democracy.

There is no doubt that the South Africa she grew up in after 1994, was a hopeful place.

It was a place built on the South African Dream: the promise that her life would be better than the life of her parents, and that her children’s lives would be better still.

What the President did during his address, was to tell us the story of Tintswalo’s start in life during the 1990s and the 2000s.

It was far from perfect, but it was a time of hope and possibility.

But Tintswalo’s life story does not end after childhood.

Today, she is a thirty-year-old woman.

She has entered the next phase of her life, as a wife, a mother and a provider.

Over the past decade, she has watched with growing horror as the dream of her childhood was betrayed.

Tintswalo’s social consciousness started to develop during High School, as she watched the ANC elevate a man accused of corruption and rape to the highest office in the land.

She grew steadily more disillusioned when she found out that R246 million in public money was used to build a fire pool and chicken coup for the President at Nkandla, even as many people around her sank deeper into poverty.

In 2015, she graduated from TVET college.

A year later, Tintswalo realised that she was not alone in her growing unease about the future.

In the 2016 local government election, she watched as voters in all major cities rebelled against the ANC.

And she too started to think about voting differently at the next election.

She simply could not stomach the idea of voting for the ANC after it unleashed Jacob Zuma, state capture and loadshedding on her country.

But, in 2018, her spirits lifted.

Tintswalo was delighted when the ANC ejected Zuma from the presidency in February of that year.

In fact, Mr President, in 2019, Tintswalo voted for you.

Like many others, she did so for one reason: because she believed that you would restore South Africa to the path it was on when she was a child.

That you would rescue the South African dream.

But tragically, her hopes were shattered again soon after.

In the same year that Mr Ramaphosa was elected, Tintswalo lost the first and only job she ever had, because the loadshedding crisis shut down the factory where she worked.

She was forced to move into a tin shack on the outskirts of the city, returning to the same life of poverty she thought she had left behind for good.

She has been unemployed ever since.

In 2021, Tintswalo joined the growing group of South Africans who refused to vote.

She was simply too angry, after the Ramaphosa administration broke all the lofty promises it had made of a New Dawn, including by protecting the President’s comrades implicated in state capture.

Things went from bad to worse.

In 2022, her father became one of the 75 people who are murdered in South Africa every day.

He was killed by a loan shark, from whom he was forced to borrow money after the collapse of Transnet shut down the export company where he had worked since Tintswalo was a baby.

It felt like her whole world had come crashing down.

She had lost her livelihood, her home, and her father.

Her South African dream lay in ruins.

Yet, amidst the darkest hour of her life, light entered when she gave birth to a daughter of her own.

Called Esona, Tintswalo’s greatest gift.

The miracle of new life gave her a newfound determination to fight to rescue her South African dream.

Tintswalo is done waiting for the ANC to change.

She has accepted that it never will.

She acknowledges the opportunities she got as a young person, which her parents never had.

But she now thinks about the future of her own family above all else.

You see, Mr President, like millions of other South Africans, Tintswalo cannot afford to live in the past.

She must survive in the reality of what South Africa is in 2024, not in the memory of what South Africa was in 1994.

When she is reminded of her hopeful childhood, it fills her with sadness for the childhood that awaits Esona.

When she remembers how her family moved from a shack into a formal house with running water and electricity when she was a young girl, it hurts and shames her that she ended up back in a shack with no running water and constant power cuts as a grown woman.

The memory of how excited she was at her graduation, quickly turns to anger when she realises that she has now been unemployed for twice as long as it took her to obtain her qualification.

When Tintswalo listened to her President on Thursday, it did not make her grateful, as he may have hoped.

For here is the hard truth, Mr President, whether you like it or not: you betrayed Tintswalo’s South African dream.

Hearing the President speak about her life without acknowledging that the same people who once gave her permission to dream went on to shatter those dreams, only made Tintswalo more resolute that the time for change has come.

She knows that the only reason she had a better start in life than her parents did, was because her parents stood up and fought for change when it was required.

The South African dream she tasted as a child did not come about by accident.

Dreams only come true when we fight to make them true.

She knows that it is now her turn to fight for change, by removing the ANC from power.

To rescue baby Esona from the nightmare she is set to grow up in.

And it’s not only Tintswalo.

In Eldorado Park, Aunty Fatima is ready to fight to rescue her South African dream, so that her children may be free from the tyranny of violent gangs.

In Citrusdal, farmer Johan is ready to fight to rescue his South African dream, so that he can spare his children from the agony of watching the fruits of their labour rot on the docksides of broken ports.

In London, Sipho the engineer is ready to fight to rescue his South African dream, so that his children can grow up in the country he had to leave to find opportunity, but which he still loves dearly.

Watching the President stand at this podium and sing the praises of a country that no longer exists, made all South Africans more resolute that this is the year we must remove the ANC to rescue our dreams.

When the ANC says that 2024 is the year we must defend our freedom, they are right.

We must defend our freedom – from the ANC.

The people of South Africa understand that, in 2024, the single greatest threat to our democracy, to our freedom, and to the South African dream, is the African National Congress.

A labour market where seven out of ten young people cannot find work, is an existential threat to our freedom.

Loadshedding and water-shedding are existential threats to our freedom.

Rampant crime is an existential threat to our freedom.

Corruption and state capture that steals food from the mouths of the poor, is an existential threat to our freedom.

A President who protects his Deputy despite Zuma-level allegations of corruption and capture, is an existential threat to our freedom.

Every time the lights go out, every time the taps run dry, every time criminals attack us, every time a small business shuts down, it reminds us of the dream we have all lost.

But we are determined to take our dream back.

This year, the people will fight to rescue the South African dream using their most powerful weapon: their vote.

Mr President, you recently made the baseless and dangerous claim that mysterious foreign agents want to bring about “regime change” in South Africa.

Let me assure you: what is coming your way in this election, is not regime change by foreigners.

It is democratic change, by the people of South Africa.

Voting out a failed governing party is not a threat to democracy.

It is the ultimate vindication of democracy.

And it is the only way to rescue our South African dream.

In 1994, the dream we believed in was that the lives of this generation would be better than that of our parents.

But, in 2024, the nightmare that confronts us is that the lives of our children could be much worse than our own.

I don’t say this abstractly.

I, too, am a father to three young daughters.

I, too, have great dreams for them.

But, like Tintswalo and millions of other citizens, I too am fearful over the future of my children, of your children – of our children – in this country.

That is why the people of South Africa must rise to the call of history in this election.

No matter how old you are, over the past thirty years, we have all grown up as democracy’s children.

We have learnt, sometimes painfully, that democracy only works when we use our votes to hold those in power to account.

In 2024, the people of South Africa will vote to hold accountable those who have diverted South Africa from the promise of 1994 through their corruption, their greed, and their incompetence.

And they will vote for those who can practically restore South Africa to the path of promise, through a proven track record of delivery, of good governance, and an ability to fix what the ANC has broken.

Last week, I announced the DA’s blueprint to rescue South Africa.

Within the first 100 days in office as the anchor tenant for a new multi-party government, the DA will introduce the most comprehensive legislative reform agenda seen since 1994.

We will rescue South Africa through concrete reforms and legislation.

Not talk and empty promises.

Reform and legislation.

The reforms and legal changes the DA will introduce within the first 100 days in office, will be aimed at the five following priority areas:

  1. Fixing the institution of Parliament itself, in order to turn it into the engine room of reform;
  2. Ending loadshedding by embracing privatisation;
  3. Abolishing cadre deployment corruption in favour of merit-based appointments and a capable state;
  4. Halving the rate of violent crime, including murder, attempted murder and gender-based violence; and
  5. Growing the economy while protecting social grants.

If you had any doubt that the DA is the party to defeat the ANC and rescue South Africa, look no further than the Constitutional Court ruling issued yesterday, which compels the ANC to hand over complete records of its cadre deployment committee dating back to 1 January 2013, when Mr Ramaphosa became its chairman.

The DA expects the ANC to abide by this ruling to expose its dirty cadre secrets and how Mr Ramaphosa’s committee laid the foundation for state capture and the collapse of service delivery.

If the ANC tries to subvert the rule of law, we will not hesitate to send its leaders to prison for contempt of court, using the precedent created when Zuma was sent to prison for the same offence.

So mark your calendars: in just four days’ time, we will find the President’s fingerprints all over cadre deployment and state capture, the very things he spent six years telling us he is against.

My fellow South Africans,

Tintswalo, Fatima, Johan and Sipho all voted for different political parties over the years.

All of them, like all of us, have had different lived experiences over the past three decades.

But what we are all united on, here and now, is that things cannot go on as they are.

What we all agree on, is the urgent need to rescue the South African dream before it is too late.

That is why, in 2024 and for the very first time, Tintswalo, Fatima, Johan and Sipho will all vote for the same party – for the one party that has the proven ability to rescue South Africa and restore the dream they all shared in 1994.

That party is the DA.

They will not do so because they all agree about everything.

They will do so because they all agree about one thing:

That without more jobs, without electricity, without running water, without an end to cadre deployment, without an honest government, without functioning schools and without working hospitals, all of our children will be doomed to lives far worse than our own.

For, at the end of the day, we South Africans are all in this together.

So, let’s be honest with each other.

After all the damage and destruction wrought during the fifteen wasted years under Zuma and Ramaphosa, the 2024 election is sadly not yet about truly fulfilling the dream of 1994.

Instead, this election is about keeping the dream alive.

When you cut through all the noise, there is only one real choice we face in this election.

Either our great South African dream finally dies if the ANC comes back into power, especially in coalition with the EFF and other destructive populists.

Or we rescue our South African dream through a new multi-party government, with the DA at its heart.

The truth is that there is only way to keep Tintswalo’s dream alive – to keep all of our dreams alive.

That is by drawing our crosses next to the DA.

In this election, don’t vote out of fear.

In this election, if you want to rescue your South African dream, vote DA.

Thank you.