Guest Column

DA working for change that builds one South Africa for all

2019-02-21 10:13
Mmusi Maimane. (Deon Raath, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

Mmusi Maimane. (Deon Raath, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

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Ralph Mathekga has missed the mark in his most recent piece of writing which critiques the DA's prospects and activities ahead of the elections, writes Mabine Seabe.

Having read Ralph Mathekga's opinion on the Democratic Alliance's (DA) prospects and activity ahead of the 2019 general elections, I was taken back to the book of Jeremiah, where it's stated, "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not."

I generally enjoy reading Mathekga's pieces, even when they are critical of the DA because as political parties it's good to hear different points of view, as it forces those of us who craft messaging, policies and strategy to hold up a mirror and reflect.

Albeit written beautifully, Mathekga has missed the mark in his most recent piece of writing. Allow me to express to you why, without referencing each point, but by putting forward the current state of play regarding the DA campaign ahead of the "anything can happen" general elections of 8 May.

READ: Ralph Mathekga - DA to be third wheel in upcoming elections

By the time the dust had settled following the 2016 elections, which gave us a greater mandate to govern for around 18 million of the country's citizenry, the DA's operation began working towards the elections which are now just over two months away. We took stock of the campaign (that was also heavily critiqued) which was behind us. We took successful elements of the campaign on board and went back to the drawing board in order to bring on new elements.

Some of the new elements were to launch our campaign and put together a team (Team One South Africa) that would lead campaign activities from a national level. Many couldn't understand this feature, which was unveiled before 5 000 members and supporters at Mary Fritzgerald Square in the heart of the DA-governed City of Johannesburg.

At this launch we put forward to the people of South Africa our campaign message of "Change that builds One South Africa for All". We also broadly presented our five key policy offerings, namely fair access to jobs; stopping corruption; securing our borders; speeding up the delivery of services; and creating an honest and professional police service. This was in September 2018.

Since that day we have worked day and night, seven days a week, across the country to listen to and speak with South Africans about the state of the country and the work that needs to be done to build one South Africa for all.

Our nine premier candidates have also been hard at work, each launching their campaigns in their respective provinces and working daily to position the DA as the only party that can unlock the true potential of South Africa and her diverse people.

While the work on the ground has been happening, where daily we interact directly with at least 20 000 South Africans in their homes and public spaces, we have also consulted widely and worked to put together a practical, relatable policy and content rich 90-page manifesto for change.

Extensive work has gone into putting together this manifesto which speaks to the state of South Africa and our solutions thereof. Our solutions aren't hypothetical, they also showcase what we have already done in the 34 jurisdictions we govern.

What Mathekga misses is the fact the we already govern at both a provincial and local level of government, where by any measure we have done a great job, and we work to build on this every day. I hope Mathekga has taken the time to read through reports of the auditor-general, in the main, and other publicly available reports which can confirm that the DA has done tremendous work in speeding up the delivery of services, attracting investment, building an economy that creates jobs, accelerating land (urban, rural and commercial) reform, and stopping corruption so that money entrusted with DA-led governments is used to better the lives of the people of South Africa and open opportunities.

Ahead of every election, our public representatives go through rigorous training by both local and international experts to prepare for the prospect of leading and running governments. This coupled with our experience in government ensures that we can hit the road running and implement our policies and get government working for the people.

This weekend's manifesto launch and the speech that will be delivered by our leader and presidential candidate, Mmusi Maimane, will speak to the people. It will speak to the needs of the people of South Africa who are looking to have their hope for a better tomorrow reignited and for the DA to commit to making this happen.

The manifesto will again reflect on the DA's Vision 2029 project, which paints a picture of what South Africa will look like under ten years of DA government. The manifesto speaks about, inter alia, the need to minimise the state in order to maximise service delivery, we advance the call for a green economy, we talk about economic redress, and strengthening institutions of the state that hold those in power accountable.

With all this said, Mr Mathekga, again it is important to stress – "none so blind than those who refuse to see, and none so deaf than those who refuse to hear".

- Seabe is the DA's director of communications.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    da  |  elections 2019
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