DA SETS SIGHT ON DETHRONING ANC
Party wants to bring change to South Africa
● DA conferences in Limpopo and Gauteng set the ball rolling to dethrone ANC in 2019 elections
● Limpopo DA leader Jacques Smalle says members need to capitalise on the divisions within the ANC
● The DA vow comes as the ANC is faced with divisions and factionalism ahead of its December elective conference
● Mmusi Maimane warns against local leaders being elected to “get nice offices, cars and senior positions”
THE Democratic Alliance (DA) has firmly set its sight on dethroning the African National Congress in 2019 with Limpopo and Gauteng being two critical provinces for the plan.
Following conferences in the two provinces, party leaders have set the ball in motion and tasked members with restoring the hope of South Africans.
Re-elected Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle did not mince his words in his acceptance speech as he indicated that his mission was to obliterate the ANC come 2019.
Addressing the 700 delegates who had gathered in Polokwane for the party’s conference, Smalle said the party needed to be united in order to dethrone the ruling party. He added that while tightening its own internal mechanisms, they needed to capitalize on the divisions within the ANC.
“We are here to do what should have been done right in the beginning of 1994. 23 years later, we are soon going to be in government. We are going to be the party that is going to lead a way to freedom, opportunity and fairness.
“How the clock keeps on turning, waiting for no man, we have arrived at the right time fellow democrats,” Smalle said to loud applause.
The ANC has been rocked by serious divisions and factions leading to its elective conference. President Jacob Zuma’s leadership style has resulted in the party being at a crossroads. Party members are now calling for unity in a bid to avoid a similar rapture to 2007.
Smalle said by removing the ANC from power, the party would be able to improve the lives of the 1, 2 million residents of the province. His message was echoed by party leader Mmusi Maimane who warned delegates of the dangers of corruption.
“I believe in this province. I know you are working hard to improve the fortunes of the people in the province. In the DA I have no tolerance for corruption.
“We will deal with you. If you are corrupt, we will make sure you end up in jail,” he said.
He spoke about the ongoing crisis in the country involving state capture, KPMG scandals and spy tapes.
He also warned the leadership in the province that his party had no tolerance for corruption and he expected them to serve the interests of the people and not themselves.
“South Africa needs leaders who remind themselves that they are the servants of the people. Our people must know that they have leaders who work for them and not for their own benefits. It’s a new beginning. The DA is a party that is growing. In many ways, it’s bringing a lot of change.
“There has never been a greater moment in South Africa than now. Our people have lost hope. They must know that the DA is the only one available to bring change in the country. They will have a party that will work for them and not themselves,” Maimane said.
He called for the party to serve all people, irrespective of race. He also called on delegates not to adopt a culture of following and serving individuals within the organization.
“At times it gets tricky because certain people say we must be elected so that we get the nice offices, cars and senior positions. This is not a party built on peoples egos.
“If you think you are better than someone else, please check your ego at the door and serve the people of South Africa.
“It is the very same thing that destroys people. In the DA, you are not a member of a member, you belong to the DA,” he said.
The party is also targeting South Africa’s economic hub, Gauteng in the 2019 elections.
Three regions in the province held their conferences over the weekend to elect new leaders. Heinrich Volmink won the chair in Johannesburg while Abel Tau was elected leader in Tshwane and Bongani Baloyi was voted the leader of the party in the Vaal.
Following the conferences, federal council chairperson James Selfe told party members to gear up for the 2019 elections to ensure the DA wins power. Like Maimane, he challenged members to restore the hope of South Africans.
“We must sell our vision of hope to those who have given up hope. We must encourage them to remain engaged in the political system and, crucially, to come to vote for the DA in 2019. Without their votes, we will not be able to bring total change to South Africa,” he said.
Selfe indicated that they were not oblivious to the challenges they would face in turning things around should they win the province.
He used the city of Johannesburg as an example. He said Herman Mashaba inherited wasteland after the local government elections but he has managed to turn things around. He was referring to the state of the city when it was taken away from the ANC.
“Johannesburg had been bled dry from corruption; its infrastructure and institutions were crumbling; its senior staff was, by and large, deployees of the ANC. It was filthy; the roads had potholes the size of craters. It was owed millions, if not billions, but had no idea who owed it what. Whole buildings were occupied illegally,” he said.
Mashaba has declared war on hijacked buildings and has been on a drive to clean up the inner city since coming into office.
There have been regular raids on such buildings and those declared unsafe for habitation have been closed.
Selfe said they should expect the same situation in 2019 when the party wins the province from the ANC.
Jacques Smalle at the DA Provincial Congress.
JOYFUL: Desiree Van Der Walt in a jovial mood with Jacques Smalle at the DA Provincial Congress.
EAGER: DA Leader Mmusi Maimane addressing his party delegates at the Provincial Congress in Polokwane.