These were the remarks made by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, during a press conference held in Johannesburg this afternoon. Mr Maimane was joined by the Chairperson of the DA’s Federal Executive, James Selfe, and DA National Spokesperson, Phumzile Van Damme.
The Local Government Elections held on the 03 August 2016 were a watershed moment in South Africa’s democratic era. These elections saw millions of South Africans across the country voting for change.
In years to come, and as our politics realigns, this election will undoubtedly be seen as a tipping-point. It will be remembered as the moment that the ANC lost its foothold as the dominant party, and that the DA emerged as a serious contender to win a national election.
This is a much welcomed development for South Africa’s democratic dispensation. It is clear that the people of South Africa voted for change. For too long, the ANC has misgoverned our country with impunity. Millions of jobs have been lost, corruption has become endemic in ANC governments and hundreds of thousands of people are without basic services.
The DA wants to run governments so that we can turn this bad delivery around, and improve the lives of the poor. Where we govern, we have proven that DA governments deliver the best improvements in the quality of life for poor South Africans. This is the offer we put to the people of South Africa, and we were pleased that so many of them voted for it, especially in major metros.
However, the election result of August 3rd has led to a situation where no single party has a majority in 27 municipalities in South Africa, including the metros of Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Ekurhuleni, as well as a number of other local municipalities.
This electoral outcome means that if we are to deliver the ‘DA difference’ to millions of South Africans living in those councils, we require the formation of governing relationships in these councils.
As such we entered into discussions with just about every political party with the exception of the ANC. The ANC was not approached because it is our view is that the ANC already has too much power, and wherever possible, the opposition should stand in solidarity with the people who have been misgoverned by the ANC, and should together take over councils to show that there is an alternative way in which better services could be delivered, jobs could be created and corruption can be cut.
Secondly, we campaigned on the unambiguous ticket of change. It would not honour that electoral mandate for us to allow the ANC to continue its pattern of maladministration, growing unemployment and corruption.
Coalition politics is not new to South Africa. It is a model that has been pioneered by the DA before, and we know that it is a model that will play an increasingly central role in the future of our politics. The DA is perfectly positioned to lead coalition governments that will form the blueprint for governing coalitions at provincial and national level in the future.
To this end, the DA today announces that we have entered into arrangements to bring together a broad coalition of the Congress of the People (COPE), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Freedom Front+ (FF+) and United Democratic Movement (UDM).
The framework of our agreement is that we put the people ahead of political interests, so we can ensure that we: create an environment that facilitates the attraction of investment, the creation of jobs and economic growth; the delivery of basic services to communities that still live under the most deplorable of conditions and; that we eliminate corruption so that resources are put behind service delivery and the running a government for the people.
Other aspects also include opening tender adjudication meetings, so that the procurement of services and goods happens in a transparent and democratic manner. And in order to run efficient, people-orientated governments, we need to hire the right people with the right skills, regardless of political affiliation.
I stress the need for us to run people-orientated governments that work for communities not politicians, this means doing away with unnecessary benefits and frills
such as blue lights, gala dinners and municipal meetings at five-star hotels.
The EFF have now offered to vote for DA governments, as announced at their briefing today. We welcome this commitment. This will usher in DA led governments, on the basis of our established principles with an unwavering commitment to constitutionalism, non-racialism, and delivering better services for all. DA governments will be inclusive and work for all residents, with a specific focus on fighting poverty and ensuring that all our people receive the opportunities they need to live a life of dignity.
It is clear that we had to take the next step in the process of building a strong, unified alternative to the ANC. If voters have been shown to take their responsibilities seriously, we had to create an alternative that could be taken seriously.
While coalitions are complex and are sometimes difficult to manage, we are optimistic that we can form governments that are united by the one galvanising force which is the delivery of better services to the people of South Africa and in so doing moving South Africa forward again.
By Mmusi Maimane,