Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered today by DA Mayoral Candidate Athol Trollip, to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay at the Donkin Reserve, Port Elizabeth, at the launch of his Mayoral Campaign.
My fellow democrats, today marks the start of a new chapter in the history of our Metro.
A new beginning for all of us who seek change in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Change that stops corruption.
Change that starts delivery.
Change that turns the tide on the crime wave engulfing our society.
Change that creates jobs that will bring dignity and independence.
Change that sees the state of our road network improved in our Metro.
Change that makes Nelson Mandela Bay the thriving, prosperous Metro we all know it can be.
I am proud and humbled today to launch our campaign to make me the next Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay and to lead the Democratic Alliance to City Hall in next year’s local government election.
It is going to be a long road. And it’s going to be a tough journey. But it is one I am confident that we will walk together successfully.
A campaign for change, united by a shared desire for a better Nelson Mandela Bay.
Democrats, I would like to share with you today why I want to be Mayor of this beautiful Metro.
I stand here today as a white South African asking for the votes of all South Africans, of all races.
Given the history of our country, some of you might ask: How can we trust him? Some might argue that it would betray the legacy of the struggle to vote for me, and the party I represent.
Well, let me say that those people who share those views are still living in our tragic past.
A past where every South African was judged on the colour of their skin and not by the content of their character.
Our party is led by Mmusi Maimane who was elected incidentally as our Leader right here in this Metro in May.
Simonyule apha Ebhayi!!
Because of the content of his character, not the colour of his skin, he leads the only political party in South Africa that is a home for all regardless of race, culture or ethnicity.
I believe that we owe it to our children to forge the kind of society Madiba dreamed of – a society where it matters what is in the hearts of people and what they do to make the world a better place.
This is the kind of society the DA is striving to create in Nelson Mandela Bay and in South Africa. A society where a child born in New Brighton can have the same opportunities as a child born in Summerstrand.
I am proud to be part of a movement that is working to build a better future for our children and I am determined to do my part.
Democrats, allow me to share with you what is in my heart. And what I intend to do to set our City on the right path for a better tomorrow for all.
I have spent the majority of my life in public service. I joined the DA’s predecessor party, the PFP, in 1980 because they were fighting against Apartheid, and my family supported that fight.
I have always hated unfairness. And when I joined the PFP, I committed to doing whatever I could to make South Africa a fair country for all.
Make no mistake: our country is not yet a fair place. Apartheid was an evil, unfair system that destroyed the lives of millions of South Africans. Still today, Apartheid’s legacy continues to undermine our progress as individuals and as a nation.
It denied people a good education, equal rights and opportunity.
All of us have a duty to work as hard as we can to wipe out its disastrous legacy. And remove the barriers that still keep too many people trapped in a life of poverty.
This is why I’m running to be Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay – to create a fair, inclusive city with opportunities for all.
Where we will transform townships into suburbs with equal access to service delivery.
Democrats, we are confronted with many issues of grave concern in our city.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: things are better today than they were during Apartheid. But Democracy means that we all have the right to want more.
We have the right to dream of a better future, and a better tomorrow.
But even the most loyal of ANC members – when they look at themselves in the mirror – will admit that the progress we have made in this City has been far too slow and that in fact, the quality of life for many is getting worse.
And that measuring ourselves against the most unjust and unfair government of the past can never be the benchmark that Madiba wanted to use.
As time ticks by, it is becoming ever more apparent that the foundation which we are now laying for our children here in this City will doom them to a future which is worse than today.
We cannot afford to allow any more time to tick by. And we cannot afford to keep voting for the same people who don’t keep their promises and don’t deliver.
Change is needed. Change that sets Nelson Mandela Bay on the path to a better future for all.
And this change is possible because we can win Nelson Mandela Bay.
The ANC is already under 50% in our Metro and what happened at the University of Fort Hare confirms that change is possible.
Democrats, a better life is not possible in a City that has an unemployment rate of 36% and a youth unemployment rate of 47.3%, the highest of any metro in the country.
A better life is not possible in a City whose communities are ravaged by drugs and gangsterism and where people go to work in fear of being robbed and where 80% of citizens are afraid to go out after dark – the highest in any metro!
A better life is not possible in a City where more than R2 billion of your money was wasted last year on irregular and wasteful expenditure – the highest in any metro!
Including the IPTS which has become a grand monument to corruption that has relegated our buses to the graveyard of history.
A better life is not possible in a City where so many still go without proper housing and toilets, where the current government builds houses without toilets and toilets without houses.
Too many of our children and other family members recognise that a better life is not possible in this City under the current government. And they leave to seek greener pastures and better opportunities.
Five years ago, President Zuma stood in front of our nation and said: “working together we can do more.” But what he really meant was working together with his cabinet he could do more for himself and his friends, through countless corruption and fraud scandals involving him, his family and high profile members of his government.
This has corrupted our economy so that it only creates opportunities for a connected few and not for all.
And this cancer of corruption has spread and taken root in our city.
The current ANC government here in Nelson Mandela Bay is the enemy of hope and opportunity to hundreds of thousands of people.
It is a broken government led by broken men built on empty promises that has been hijacked by a corrupt elite that works for themselves and not the people they were elected to serve.
This is a government that does not believe in freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.
It is a government that has forgotten about the people. It is a government that takes our money and instead of using it to deliver for all, it uses it to deliver for some.
Democrats, it’s time that we stand up as a free people and use the power of our vote to take back power from a governing-elite who has long forgotten about us.
We deserve a government that will consider all of our needs, not only their own.
We deserve a government that is committed to building a better future for all in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Such a government is within your reach. And all it takes is using the power of the vote Madiba dedicated his life towards.
Change is possible. And you can make it happen.
The people of Cape Town voted for change. And change came.
Cape Town has the lowest unemployment rate of all metros in South Africa.
It has the highest access to water, sanitation and electricity.
It has a Metro police that works to make the community safe.
And it has a government that works for the people and that is not corrupt.
Things in Cape Town may not be perfect. There are still many problems to overcome. But step-by-step, year-by-year, life gets better for all the people where the DA governs.
That is the difference the DA can make. That is the difference I want to bring to Nelson Mandela Bay.
I don’t promise to fix all our problems overnight. I cannot promise that.
But I can promise you that we will start working hard the day after we’re elected.
We will spend public money on public service delivery, never on ourselves.
We will wake up every day, knowing that you have entrusted us with delivering services to you, the people of Nelson Mandela Bay. And services will be delivered.
I will always be honest with you about what we can and cannot do.
If I give my word that something will happen, then you will be able to trust that it will happen.
And if I do not keep my promise, you know what to do. Vote me out.
Just like you’re about to do with the current government, a government that has had too many chances, and that has failed us too many times. It’s time to vote them out!
Democrats, let me tell you about the kind of city we will begin to create next year. It will be a city where a better life is possible.
A city in which our children and family members will choose to set up home and live because they believe in a DA government that delivers real opportunities.
I have a vision of what Nelson Mandela Bay can become under a DA government.
This vision will bring change to every corner of our Metro.
This is a vision based on six pillars of good governance.
This is a vision for Nelson Mandela Bay that sees our metro flourish into a city of progress, a city of jobs and a city of hope.
Imagine a city where investment is increasing and unemployment is decreasing. This is possible under a DA government because we will prioritise a growing economy that creates jobs.
We will be a jobs government. Because fixing the unemployment problem in our city will be the foundation on which we build a truly prosperous and inclusive city for all.
As an opportunity city Nelson Mandela Bay will become the fastest growing tourism destination in South Africa, creating thousands of jobs, for you, your children and your children’s children.
We will form strategic partnerships with anchor industries such as the automotive and agricultural sectors so they can expand their potential to grow their businesseses and create jobs. We will make it easy for them to grow, and easy for others to move to Nelson Mandela Bay and set up business here.
We will work closely with the Coega IDZ to incentivise investment into our Metro and we will provide entrepreneurs with much needed small business support so that they can become active agents for economic change in Nelson Mandela Bay.
We will do all of this and more because we understand that there can be no future without opportunity.
The DA will create a caring city that listens to the people and is responsive to public needs.
A city that is fair and transparent and that prioritises the needs of our most vulnerable residents to ensure that they can live their lives with dignity, in a clean and safe environment.
Nelson Mandela Bay can become a well-run city that delivers services to all its residents on time and within budget. In a well-run city potholes will be fixed right away, streetlights will be repaired as they go out and our infrastructure will be maintained so that it doesn’t have to be repaired and replaced down the line.
A well-run city will employ the best people for Metro jobs; people who are committed to service and are committed to working professionally for the people.
Imagine a Nelson Mandela Bay where families go to bed at night, knowing that they will be safe. And where families can go out at night feeling safe. Where the laughter of children can be heard across all of our safe, well maintained community public spaces.
The DA’s vision of a safe city will be realised through a highly effective Metro Police.
A Metro Police supported by specialized units to deal with gangs and drugs as well as a highly efficient, honest and visible traffic police.
Working together with community policing forums and civil society we can create a safe city for all.
By ensuring that we implement a highly efficient public transport system that is safe and affordable we will connect communities and people to new and exciting opportunities.
My vision is to connect our communities and create jobs through an affordable and reliable transport system that works.
I have a dream of a truly reconciled and inclusive Nelson Mandela Bay where people from all walks of life can work together, live together and play together in a safe and prosperous city.
In order to achieve all of this Nelson Mandela Bay must be a forward thinking city that plans for the future and is a hub of innovation and investment.
Imagine living in a forward-thinking city that connects its residents to the rest of the world through its free Wi-Fi hotspots in libraries and public open spaces, with free access and free data for everyone to be online. In the DA run City of Cape Town we have already rolled out wi-fi hotspots across the city.
While Nelson Mandela Bay today has only plans, the DA has a record that delivers.
We can be a Metro where we look back and see that the cancer of corruption has been eradicated and where dedicated municipal officials serve the people and not themselves.
From Kwanobuhle, to Kwazakhele, Missionvale to Mill Park and from Uitenhage and Despatch to Colchester.
We can be a Metro that is safe;
A City that is clean,
A City where the government works for the people,
A City where opportunities are created for our children to get ahead in life,
Where the streets aren’t paved, we will pave them.
Where the streetlights are inadequate, we will deliver them.
Where communities are unsafe, we will protect them.
Where there is illegal dumping, we will remove it.
Because we are one city with one future.
Democrats, it’s time for a government that makes the community proud of where they live.
You may ask yourself now: We’ve heard this all before from politicians. How will you make this happen?
Nelson Mandela Bay has all the right ingredients to be a winning city.
We have the potential to be great. What we need is an honest, hardworking government that puts its citizens first.
A DA government will ensure that we will deliver quality services to every citizen on budget and on time.
All that needs to happen is that money meant for the people must be spent on the people.
Working together we can create this future for our city.
A future built on the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity.
On Monday, I will embark on a programme to visit all 60 wards of this Metro in 60 days.
Door by door, street by street, to interact with you the citizens of our Metro and to share our vision of what Nelson Mandela Bay can become under a DA government.
A better future for all is coming to Nelson Mandela Bay.
With your vote this can happen!!
Join me in spreading the word.
Tell your friends and family that change is possible and that change is coming: if everyone who wants change votes for change.
You can take ownership of the outcome of this election.
Your vote is the key to start change that stops corruption and starts delivery.
Change that will create jobs.
Change that makes our city the great place we all know it can be.
By Athol Trollip, DA Federal Chairperson and Leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Legislature