Party wants to bring change to South Africa

African Times - - Front Page - AKANI MANGENA AND KARABO NGOEPE

● 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.

Pic­ture: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Vis­ual Buzz SA

Jac­ques Smalle at the DA Pro­vin­cial Congress.

Pic­tures: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Vis­ual Buzz SA

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.

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