Over the past three days, the Federal Council of the Democratic Alliance (DA) – the party’s highest decision-making body between Federal Congress - convened in Cape Town for its final sitting ahead of the 2019 national and provincial elections to be held on 8 May.
The 2019 Elections
Tomorrow marks 29 years to the day that former President Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Mandela was committed to a vision of a united, reconciled, prosperous and non-racial South Africa for all. The DA continues to champion this vision, and we remain the only party in South Africa capable of delivering on the dream of One South Africa for All.
The choice that lies before South Africans when they cast their votes on 8 May this year is a choice between another 5 years of talk shops, summits, corruption and empty promises from the ANC, or DA's agenda for immediate change that builds One South Africa for All.
From the outset, Federal Council reaffirmed the party’s 2019 election targets of:
- Winning Gauteng;
- Winning the Northern Cape;
- Retaining the Western Cape; and
- Growing our share of votes nationally.
We are more convinced than ever that we will achieve these targets as our own research shows significant weakness in the ANC across the country – particularly in the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Northern Cape. Our research shows that the ANC is well below its 2014 election results, whereas the DA is polling ahead of our 2014 election results. This is encouraging and shows that South Africans are tired of the status quo and are desperate for immediate change.
Federal Council also reflected on the final registration weekend that was held on 26 & 27 January. The party delivered a strong result, having out-registered our opponents in the Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the battleground of Gauteng.
The party has been in full election mode since all structures returned to work on 2 January this year. Since then we’ve put up hundreds of thousands of posters, delivered hundreds of thousands of leaflets, made thousands of phone calls to voters, held hundreds of events, and our activists and public representatives have criss-crossed the country delivering our offer of One South Africa for All.
With 87 days to election day, the party is united, focused, and equipped to deliver our strongest campaign in history.
Federal Council unanimously adopted that party’s manifesto which will officially be launched on 23 February at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg.
At the manifesto’s core is a compelling offer to build One South Africa for All where there’s a job in every home, our communities and streets are safe, our borders are secure, basis services are delivered to all, and corruption is eliminated. The manifesto is centred around a solid plan with workable solutions to fix our economy, and we believe it will resonate with South Africans who want immediate change in our nation.
On the matter of redress and empowerment, the manifesto is clear: we believe race is a proxy for disadvantage and an accurate reflection of who is still excluded from opportunity. The party has not decided to move away from race-based redress policies, however we unequivocally reject the ANC’s version of redress which operates to enrich and re-enrich the connected elite. Our offer is truly broad-based in that it seeks to break down the wall that exists been the “haves” and the “have nots”. This is how we intend to build One South Africa for All.
State of the Nation Address
Federal Council considered President Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered in Parliament just days ago. The SONA must be viewed within the context we find ourselves in as a nation. Today almost 10 million South Africans do not a job or have given up looking for a job, with around 40% of our households without a single job. Almost 80% of our 10-year-olds can’t read for meaning, and each night 14 million South Africans go to bed hungry. This is the real State of the Nation - a nation of insiders and outsiders.
In this light, the President’s SONA was inadequate and failed to address the real, structural challenges we face. It was an attempt to reassure rather than reform. The President failed to announce any real measures for reform, resorting to his now trademark style of talk-shops, summits, commissions, and meetings which to date have brought about very little tangible change.
SONA demonstrated that for South Africa to work we need a new bus, not a different driver of the same broken bus. President Ramaphosa cannot effect change because he is part of the ANC, and the ANC is past the point of no return. The ANC is incapable of managing the real problems South Africa faces.
If Thursday night’s SONA was the best the ANC has to offer, then South Africans need to take power into their own hands and remove this ANC from government on 8 May 2019.
Federal Council noted and congratulated DA governments on their numerous successes since the beginning of the year.
This month, the Premier of the Western Cape will deliver the 10th State of the Province Address (SOPA) under DA governance. On all objective indicators and measures of success, the DA run Western Cape is the best run province in the country. 10 years of DA governance has seen the province being transformed into a hub of opportunity and job creation. This experience shows that over time, DA governments significantly improve the lives of all residents and increase access to opportunities.
In the past year, over half the jobs created in South Africa came from the Western Cape – a province with one eighth of the country’s population. This is due to an obsessive focus on attracting investment, growing tourism and supporting an agriculture sector hard hit by three years of drought. The Western Cape government got 83% clean audits in the last Auditor General’s report – well ahead of second-placed Gauteng at 52%. Our track record says we don’t tolerate corruption and mismanagement of public funds.
Federal Council also welcomed the passing of the City of Johannesburg’s adjustment budget last month. This adjustment budget goes a long way in speeding up the delivery of services to residents. The adjustment budget includes:
- R185 million further into road resurfacing and reconstruction
- R82 million further for electrification of informal settlements
- R25 million for 5 mobile clinics to service communities
- R15 million for mobile sub-station to maintain supply while repairing aged sub-stations
- R18 million to extend the operating hours of 4 further clinics
- R130 million for electrifying 2 mega housing projects
- R50 million for upgrading Council Flats and Old Age Homes
- R20 million for hardware installation of Integrated Intelligent Operations Centre for JMPD CCTV Camera Smart City Network
- R20 million for upgrading of informal trading stalls
- R20 million for new street lights
- R15 million for capacitation of development facilitation unit
- R400 million investment into broken IT System.
Lastly, Federal Council noted the discovery of large amounts of oil in the Southern Outeniqua basin in the Western Cape. This presents an ideal opportunity for gas to be used to address our current electricity crisis. We propose that Eskom mandates its open cycle gas turbine unit at Atlantis – which has previous used diesel for energy – to now use gas as a source of power to ensure the lights stay on.
Holding public representatives to account is a priority for the DA, as we prescribe high standards of ethics when it comes to our premiers, MEC, mayors and other elected officials in government.
Federal Council this weekend adopted the “Mayoral Handbook” which outlines rules and regulations for DA representatives in local government. Much like the Western Cape Government’s ministerial handbook, the Mayoral Handbook seeks to regulate government finances and travel, and to eliminate all conflicts of interest.
Elected officials must always do the work of the people, and we believe this handbook will ensure the DA’s high standards for government are upheld at all times.
This year’s election is a referendum on the ANC in government. South Africans must go to the ballot box and vote for the future country we all dream of – and for the party they believe can best deliver on that dream.
For the next 87 days, thousands of DA public representatives, activists and staff members will traverse the country – going door-to-door to deliver our offer of One South Africa for All to millions of voters. We are confident South Africans will choose the DA at the ballot box on 8 May 2019.