'This may be President Ramaphosa's last' SONA - Maimane

2019-02-06 16:07

"This may be President Ramaphosa's last State of the Nation Address," DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday morning, in a stump speech presented as an "alternative" State of the Nation Address (SONA) ahead of the real deal on Thursday evening.

In his address to members of the diplomatic corps, party representatives and members of the media, Maimane covered most of his recent criticisms of the ANC – that South Africa doesn't need a new bus driver, but a new bus, and that liberation movements fail in government, before describing what the DA had achieved where it governed: cleaner audit outcomes and higher job growth.

"The South Africa we have become today is nothing like the one we once dreamt of, and I cannot accept this," Maimane said, early in his speech.

"I remember when we were united by a vision of a country that worked, in both senses of the word. A country that functioned like a normal society – fair, tolerant and peaceful – but also a country with dignified work for all its people... A country that protected the rights and freedoms of all South Africans."

Repeating what he said in a recent speech to the Cape Town Press Club, Maimane said a massive gap had opened up between the economic insiders and outsiders in our society.

"Some had ended up on the inside – they had jobs, went to good schools, knew the right people, had the right party connections. And others were stranded on the outside, with no hope of getting in.

 

"It seemed to me that there was a deliberate effort to put up walls to protect the insiders and keep the rest out. Everything felt stacked against poor South Africans, and I could see no attempt nor will from our government to rectify this."

'Liberation movements never make good governments'

He said this was the "profound injustice" that remained in our society, despite more than a decade of democracy.

"Today that gap is even wider, and there is no indication of it closing. We are a country split in two. That is the state of our nation," Maimane said.

"We need to recognise that things are getting progressively worse for us, and we have to acknowledge that the reason they're getting worse is the ANC.

He said that if South Africans took their democratic duty seriously, then this year's election had to be a referendum on the ANC.

"Not an expression of hope for a better version of the ANC, but a referendum on the party's achievements and failures during its time in office, and particularly its performance over the past term."

Using recent events in Zimbabwe as an example, Maimane said the failure to imagine a future beyond a liberation movement had been the undoing of countless nations throughout Africa.

"And if the history of Africa has taught us one thing, it is that liberation movements never make good governments. Their goal – their very reason for being – is to fight oppression and effect liberation, and not to build a new country. The ANC is simply unable to build one South Africa for all," he said.

Maimane said he respected Ramaphosa "as a person".

"But whatever individual qualities he might have, means little because he leads a party that has demonstrated, over and over again, that it cannot act in the interest of South Africa.

"Tomorrow he will sketch out his version of the state of our nation in Parliament. This will no doubt be a carefully crafted narrative that tries to separate him from everything he and his colleagues did to our country just the other day."

'Wild promises'

He said Ramaphosa's ANC wasn't recently parachuted in to save South Africa from an entirely different ANC.

"He was there, side by side with Zuma, throughout the 'lost years'."

Maimane said some newer parties were making wild promises in their election manifestos, that should be found in a library's fantasy fiction section.

"The alternative, of course, is to ask people to judge you on your track record rather than on your promises. And let's be honest, there's only one party that can do this, and that's the DA," he said.

"Thirteen years in the City of Cape Town, ten years in the Western Cape and the past two years in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay have given us a chance to demonstrate the DA difference, and not just talk about it.

"And the results – the ones that really matter when it comes to closing the gap between economic insiders and outsiders – speak for themselves."

Maimane admitted that governing in minority and coalition governments was hard. He said he nevertheless believed coalition governments were the future, before adding, perhaps a little hopefully: "This may be President Ramaphosa's last State of the Nation Address…"

News24 asked Maimane to deliver a state of the DA address, focusing on internal policy certainty, given Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's talk of a tax revolt and the recent departure of Gwen Ngwenya as the party's policy head.

'Party does not support a tax revolt'

He responded by saying that the DA had the best governments in the country.

"We're in a healthy position.

"A manifesto is a process, it is not the outcome of one individual," he said.

He said they had been implementing DA policies where they were in government.

"It is good for a political party to have a discussion.

"Let me be clear and unequivocal: The party does not support a tax revolt."

He said a discussion by two individuals belonging to a party could not be a litmus test for the strength of a party.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  mmusi maimane  |  cape town  |  politics  |  sona 2019  |  elections 2019
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