No child will ever go to bed hungry again in the Eastern Cape under a DA government

13 Mar 2024 in News

Fellow South Africans,

It is my privilege to be in the beautiful Eastern Cape today to launch the DA’s plan to rescue this province.

This is a province with a proud heritage.

It is rich in cultural diversity, natural beauty and was the birthplace of great South Africans, including our country’s first democratically-elected president.

The Eastern Cape also has all the ingredients it needs to become a truly global hub for manufacturing and agricultural export.

But the truth is that, as things stand, the future of this great province has never looked bleaker.

Despite all of its potential, its talented people, and its bountiful natural resources, more than any other part of our country, the Eastern Cape has come to embody the way in which the ANC has betrayed South Africa.

Nowhere in this country do people suffer the hardship caused by three decades of corruption and mismanagement in a more painful and direct way, than right here in the Eastern Cape.

The province that was once synonymous with industrial manufacturing and friendly people, has now come to be associated with something else.


The ANC has turned the Eastern Cape into a province of hunger, starvation and hardship.

It is in the Eastern Cape that a mother is forced to end the lives of her own children, because she cannot bear the pain of watching them starve to death.

Just a few months ago, outside Butterworth, a thirty-eight-year-old mother mixed rat poison with the last food she had in her house, and fed it to her three starving young children before hanging herself.

The bodies of what had once been a beautiful family, were only discovered days later when the debt collector she had turned to as a desperate last attempt to keep her family alive, showed up at the door.

This is just one of the tragic stories of thousands of families that go to bed hungry every night in this province.

Today, as we speak, more than a quarter of all children younger than five are stunted – smaller than they are supposed to be at that age – because of chronic malnutrition.

The South African Human Rights Commission recently reported on thousands of cases where children were diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition in the Eastern Cape.

In today’s Eastern Cape, children are dying from hunger.

This is the ANC’s legacy in the Eastern Cape.

From a province of hope, to a province of hunger.

We must urgently rescue this province from the spiralling crisis of hunger, poverty and the exploding cost of living, before it is too late.

That is why the DA is here today to launch our manifesto to rescue the Eastern Cape.

Like any crisis response, the DA’s rescue plan addresses both acute, urgent needs, as well as the systemic changes we need to get the Eastern Cape back on track.

Immediately after the election on 29 May, a DA government would implement the recommendation by the Human Rights Commission to declare hunger in the Eastern Cape as a disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

This would free up the resources we need in the immediate, to get more food into the bellies of hungry children and families.

The DA’s rescue plan also includes increasing the child support grant to the food poverty line, to R760 per month.

This would immediately put an extra R250 into the hands of caregivers to be able to afford enough food for their children.

But our immediate response to this crisis will go further still.

The DA will also make food cheaper.

Over the past few years, due to the corruption and mismanagement of the ANC, the food they used to eat every day has suddenly become unaffordable for millions people.

The DA is the only party with a plan to directly tackle the cost of living crisis by making food more affordable.

Our rescue plan will achieve this by expanding the number of food items that are exempt from Value-Added Tax.

This will immediately lead to a 15% reduction in the cost of essential items, including baby food, beans and chicken.

In this election, a vote for the DA is a vote to put food back on your family’s table.

But our rescue plan does not only focus on urgent and immediate solutions.

A DA government will also tackle the root causes of the poverty crisis in the Eastern Cape.

There is a reason why hunger and hardship is highest in this province.

The reason is because the Eastern Cape has the highest unemployment rate in the whole South Africa.

Our country as a whole already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

But, in the Eastern Cape, unemployment is the worst of the worst.

Nearly 42% of working-age people in this province cannot find work.

When we include the number of people who have given up on ever finding a job, that figure rises to 47%.

Out of every 100 young people looking for work in this province, over 70 will never find a job if things remain as they are.

But things cannot remain as they are.

With a new government anchored by the DA, we will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in this province.

Instead of stealing public funds, we will invest that money in infrastructure to ignite job creation.

Instead of keeping young people out of work, we will give young people a head start in the job market through our Youth Employment Opportunity Certificate that will incentivise businesses to employ young people.

By taking immediate and urgent action against the poverty and hunger crisis, and by creating the conditions for businesses to thrive and create jobs, the DA’s rescue plan will bring an end to the excruciating suffering of children, of gogos, and of parents in the Eastern Cape.

Our commitment to the people of this province is clear: elect the DA into government here, and we will ensure that no child ever goes to bed hungry again!

Even as we tackle poverty and unemployment head on, rather than ignoring it like the current governing party is doing, the DA’s rescue plan for the Eastern Cape does not end there.

We have a battle-tested plan to end loadshedding and water-shedding.

Decades of neglect by the current governing party has caused the taps to run dry in towns across this province.

All of us depend on water to stay alive, so the fact that the ANC has taken that water away from communities, poses a direct threat to their health and lives.

In addition to dramatically increasing investment in infrastructure repair and maintenance, the DA will roll out in the Eastern Cape the same solutions that have already reduced loadshedding in other places where we govern, including Cape Town.

We will make it possible for private homes and businesses to sell their excess electricity back to the grid, which we will then distribute to those who have no electricity.

We will also fight violent crime in this province like never before, with more boots on the ground in the Northern Areas, in Umtata, and in East London, and fewer generals sitting around in Pretoria.

We will bring to an end the gang crime that terrorises our communities, by employing the latest technology and evidence-based local policing to root out these syndicates.

A DA government will also abolish cadre deployment corruption once and for all.

Instead of appointing cadres to serve the ANC, we will appoint competent police officers and competent officials at all levels of government to serve the people.

I see Deputy President Paul Mashatile yesterday again defended cadre deployment.

He even said cadre deployment has been “brilliant.”

This says everything we need to know about the ANC.

They think it is “brilliant” that their cadres destroyed Eskom so you no longer have electricity in your house.

They think it is “brilliant” that their cadres have destroyed water infrastructure so your taps run dry.

They think it is “brilliant” to send the same cadres who were implicated in state capture by the Zondo Commission right back to Parliament.

I have news for Mr Mashatile.

Cadre deployment has only been “brilliant” for the looters and thieves who have bled our country dry.

And it will truly be a brilliant day when the DA comes to power to abolish cadre deployment and slaps handcuffs onto crooks like him.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The DA has a credible and costed plan to rescue the Eastern Cape from the hardship its people endure on a daily basis.

Unlike other parties, our plan is not plucked out of thin air.

It is based on our decades of experience in government in places like Kouga, like Midvaal, and like the Western Cape.

The DA knows that we’re talking about when it comes to fixing what the ANC has broken.

That is our pledge to the people of the Eastern Cape.

Give the DA a chance by voting for us on 29 May so that we can end hunger, create jobs, end loadshedding and water-shedding, fight crime, abolish cadre deployment, fix our schools, and build quality hospitals and clinics for our communities.

In this election, we must rescue our children from starvation.

In this election, we must rescue ourselves from unemployment, crime, loadshedding and water-shedding.

In this election, there is too much at stake for the people of the Eastern Cape to stay home.

If you want to rescue the Eastern Cape before it is too late, come out on 29 May and vote DA!

Thank you.