Thousands to Know Your DA

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Note: The following address was made by Anthony Benadie during the provincial launch of the “Know Your DA” DVD campaign this morning in Witbank

Today we launch our ‘Know your DA’ DVD campaign in Mpumalanga. This launch marks the beginning of an intensive campaign between the DA and the people of our beautiful province.

Starting today, we will distribute over 1500 copies of our DVD across Mpumalanga. Over the next six weeks, DA representatives in every municipality will host hundreds of house meetings, street meetings and town hall meetings, directly engaging with voters and residents and ensuring that by the end of July over 10 000 residents in Mpumalanga would’ve seen this DVD and heard the truth about their DA.

This campaign is not a reinvention of the DA and it is not a redefinition of our values or principles – and it is not an artificial attempt to re-write a history that never was. In fact it is the exact opposite.

The ‘Know Your DA’ campaign is an affirmation of our values, beliefs and principles, and it is a factual testimony of fearless liberals and true democrats who dedicated their lives to the fight against Apartheid, and who form the foundation of what the DA is today. What they believed then, we believe now, what they struggled for then we struggle for now, what they dreamt for South Africa then we dream for South Africa now, for the freedom they sought then, is the freedom we seek today.

Fellow Democrats, as Mmusi Maimane explained, for too long we have allowed our opponents to define who we are, and the time has come for the people of Mpumalanga to know the truth about who we are, where we come from, what we stand for, but most importantly, where we are going and what we want for South Africa.

Because this campaign is about the future of our country and its people must know that our leaders fought Apartheid then, we fight the Apartheid’s legacy now and never, never shall the DA take South Africa back those dark days of our country’s past.

The DA vision for South Africa is clear and as so eloquently stated in our party constitution “is of a prosperous, Open Opportunity Society for All that is uniquely South African; in which every person is free, secure, and equal before the law; and in which everyone has the means to improve the quality of his life and pursue her own aspirations.”

Our vision rests not only on what we believe but on how we live our daily lives and how we deliver where we govern:

We believe that South Africans can and must overcome the historic divisions of race and ethnicity, and unite in our diversity around a shared South African identity. We believe that all South Africans are of equal worth and have a right to full participation in the life of our common South African society.

And it is because of this belief in unity and non-racialism that we condemn any intention of some parents at the Hendrina Combined School to host separate matric farewell parties for English and Afrikaans learners. For weeks the DA has spoken out boldly against this and, tonight the School Governing Body of the Hendrina Combined School meets to take a decision on this matter, and tomorrow the SGB meets with the broader parent community to inform them of their decisions.

Therefore, in a last attempt to bring about a single, inclusive and racially diverse matric farewell at this school, I make a public call directly to those two or three parents who have been driving the separate, privately funded farewell agenda, to abandon their intentions immediately, and to commit to the unity and diversity of the Grade 12 class and support the single inclusively hosted official matric farewell of the Hendrina Combined School.

Fellow democrats, the DA’s vision for South Africa is not confined to race alone.

We believe in a government that works for its people. And while the South African Constitution recognises that every person is equal in dignity and worth, and guarantees the freedom of each individual, the people of our province can never be free as long as the ANC government fails to deliver basic services and economic opportunity for all.

Which is why we are so concerned for the people living here in Emalahleni. For many long years, the DA has been fighting for better service delivery in this city. Water shortages, electricity cuts, sewage spills, lack of proper sanitation, pothole-ridden roads, dirty streets, polluted air, housing shortages, high unemployment, poor health care and extreme corruption have become norms of everyday life in Emalahleni.

And, while years of continuous DA pressure, Human Rights Commission investigations and public exposé after public exposé has eventually led to the municipality being placed under administration, we must ask ourselves the question: What happens to Emalahleni and its people, when the administrator leaves and executive control is handed back to the same ANC that caused the municipality to collapse in the first place?

My friends, it is a fact, that as long as the ANC governs Emalahleni, as long as ANC factions are embroiled in a contest for power and access to municipal resources and tenders, and as long as this city is caught in the claws of the corrupt, quality service delivery and true freedom will not come to the people of this municipality.

But, it does not have to be that way. Knowing your DA enables you to know how your DA will govern and how we will deliver the South African dream to all South Africans:

  • Under DA-governance, by 2020 every resident of Cape Town will have access to free high-speed broadband Internet in excess of 100 Megabits a second – Emalahleni can have this too.
  • This year Cape Town budgeted R82 million for broadband internet – you can have this to,
  • A globally competitive communications infrastructure is what the rest of South Africa can expect from the Democratic Alliance when it wins the national government in 2019.
  • This week the DA launches the Healthcare Vision 2030 in the Western Cape, which aims to provide world-class public healthcare comparable to the private sector – Mpumalanga hospitals can have this to.
  • Where we govern the DA delivers chronic healthcare medication to public healthcare patients’ homes so they don’t need to stand in queues at the clinic – you can have this too.
  • The DA is fixing education. In the Western Cape there will be Zero underperforming schools by 2014. We deliver a book for every child for every core subject in their grade, on time, every year and the DA provides a R30 milllion school fee subsidy to help poor parents allow promising youngsters to attend top schools – your children can have this too.
  • The DA cuts red tape to reduce the cost of starting and running a small business and we can do this for you to.

From infrastructure to basic services, from sanitation to clean drinking water, from youth wage subsidies to more economic opportunities, from efficient governance to clean governance, from housing to healthcare, where the DA governs, life is better for everyone.

The DA’s promise is to deliver the South African dream to all our country’s people. South Africa’s future rests upon our shoulders. If the DA succeeds South Africa succeeds, if South Africa succeeds you succeed.

Fellow democrats, we know what we believe, we know our values and we know our commitment to the South African people. While the journey ahead will be trying and often hard, let’s find our inspiration where it all began, let’s ‘Know Your DA’.

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