The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, at a joint press briefing with representatives from the DA’s coalition partners with whom we have formed local governments across South Africa following the 2016 Local Government Elections. Maimane was joined by the ACDP’s Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, COPE’s Mosiuoa Lekota, the UDM’s Bantu Holomisa, the IFP’s Narend Singh and the FF+’s Dr Pieter Groenewald.
On 3 August 2016, South Africa held the most significant election since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
The people of South Africa came out in their numbers and chose to unseat the ANC in municipalities and metros across the country. Using the power of the vote, South Africans sent a strong message to the ANC: we have had enough of corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services, and we want change.
For far too long, the ANC has misgoverned our country with impunity. Millions of people have become jobless, corruption has become endemic in ANC governments, and hundreds of thousands of people are without basic services. The ANC was taught a lesson in democracy on 3 August 2016.
The results of the election saw the ANC lose their majority in many municipalities across the country, dropping below 50% support in several, including large metros such as Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay. This opened the door for opposition parties to cooperate and unseat the ANC by forming coalition governments where possible.
The possibility of coalition governments should excite those who still believe that our country can realise the promise of 1994 – a reconciled, united, prosperous and non-racial society.
While coalition governments are often hard work and tricky terrain, they are certainly not new to South Africa. It was through coalition-building that a multiparty coalition managed to unseat the ANC in the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Government over the past decade.
And after this year’s Local Government Elections, coalition politics unseated the ANC in 15 more municipalities. Multiparty coalitions now govern 15 new municipalities – including 3 metros – across 6 provinces.
Today we represent the political parties to this broad coalition agreement, which was signed on 17 August this year: Congress of the People (COPE), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Freedom Front+ (FF+), United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
The basis for our coalition is simple: put the people ahead of political interests, and prioritise: the creation of an environment that attracts investment and job-creating economic growth; the delivery of basic services to the poorest communities; and the elimination of corruption.
While we may come from different backgrounds with divergent political ideologies and hold a variety of views, we share one common goal: to create a country in which everyone experiences a better life.
There is no doubt that 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.
As coalition partners, we recognise the enormous responsibility bestowed upon us, and the uphill task of turning these cities and towns around following decades of ANC abuse and neglect.
From the Tshwane Mayor’s 900 people strong office, costing almost R250 million a year, to the 10 new BMWs purchased for politicians and officials at the cost of millions of rands.
From the City of Johannesburg spending over R56 million on advertising City ‘successes’ during the election period, to R18 billion of debt which is owed to creditors.
From contracts in Nelson Mandela Bay for the supply of light bulbs at R600 each, to a splash-out by the former Mayor of R250,000 to get his face onto the front cover of a magazine.
The level of corruption, neglect, and mismanagement in these municipalities is much more widespread and pervasive than meets the eye. And overcoming these challenges has been made even more difficult by the ANC who cannot accept being in opposition.
The ANC seem not to have learnt from their experience in the City of Cape Town. In the 10 years the ANC has been on the opposition benches in the City of Cape Town, they have failed to transform into an effective opposition or offer any credible alternative. That is why their support has plummeted from 37,91% of the vote in Cape Town in 2006, to just 24,36% in 2016.
And this pattern will continue in municipalities in which the ANC are now in opposition if they do not accept their new opposition role. The more the ANC disrupt council meetings, physically and verbally assault councilors and MMC’s, and obstruct and delay the work of democracy, the more they will decline.
Yet, despite this, we have achieved some noteworthy successes in our first 100 days in office, proving that working in cooperation we can reverse the mess inherited from the ANC and turn our cities into places of freedom and prosperity. I’d like to highlight just some of the advances we have made in the first 100 days of working together.
In the City of Tshwane, our coalition government has already achieved the following:
- Placed a blanket ban on the purchase of new luxury cars to be bought or leased for politicians or officials;
- Placed a blanket ban on lavish lunches, banquets, and inaugural parties;
- Opened the Bid Adjudication Committees to the public for each and every tender, ensuring transparency and accountability;
- Launched a new identity for Wonderboom Airport, as well as a detailed plan to form a job-creating supply chain economic hub with cargo and logistics around Wonderboom;
- Ensured that all blue-light brigades in Tshwane are stopped;
- The Fort West 8250 housing-opportunity project – valued at R1billion – has been prioritised in order to bring quality housing for the poor;
- Launched a Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle Charging Station;
- Created an “Investment Unit” to attract investment and create jobs, which is headed by an economist and reports directly to the Mayor; and
- Launched a new recycling plant for plastic and glass, creating permanent jobs at the plant and indicating the City’s commitment to a cleaner environment.
In the City of Johannesburg, we have managed to achieve, among others, the following successes:
- The appointment of Mr Shadrack Sibiya as Head of the City’s new Internal Investigations Unit, a corruption busting initiative spearheaded by the Mayor. Mr Sibiya is the former head of the Hawks in Gauteng, and brings with him a wealth of experience;
- Initiated an official audit of the housing list to root out corruption and speed up the delivery of houses, with the backlog in the city currently at over 300 000.
- Within the first seven days in office, almost 2000 title deeds were ready for processing, with the vast majority of those already issued – with many more to follow;
- An extended-hour’s clinic pilot project was launched at the Princess Clinic in Roodepoort, the start of a comprehensive plan to increase access to healthcare for the most vulnerable residents of Johannesburg. The clinic operates a 15 hour day during the week, from 07h00 to 22h00, as well as from 07h00 to 13h30 on Saturdays;
- In order to grow small businesses and create jobs, a review process has commenced by which the city’s Supply Chain Management Policy is altered to break up tenders and contracts into numerous smaller ones – creating opportunities for more SMEs to enter the local economy;
- There are now seven SME hubs across the city, which provide support to small start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, ranging from training to access to funding. Close on 3000 SMEs have been assisted since the beginning of our administration in August this year; and
- The mayor has launched an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme, which aims to build ECD centres in over 60 wards across the city.
And in Nelson Mandela Bay, our coalition government has been hard at work to deliver the following successes within the first 100 days:
- The appointment of Ms Yolande Faro as the City’s new Head of the Metro Police, in order to create a safer and crime free city;
- The launch of an anti-corruption hotline which has already received almost 50 tip-offs, resulting in 38 investigations;
- The opening up of all mayoral committee and council meetings to the public and the media, to ensure transparency and accountability for all executive decisions;
- The announcement of 1800 bursaries through the city, worth R34 million, aimed at young people interested in careers in the transport, aerospace, maritime and freight handling industries;
- Resurfaced and tarred approximately 25 roads, many of which are in township communities;
- 174 of 179 critical vacancies have now been advertised and 56 have already been filled. Most are in service delivery roles and in infrastructure;
- An Economic Advisory council has been set up, and outside stakeholders are being appointed. First meeting will be early-2017;
- 300 EPWP workers appointed to clear long-time blocked stormwater drains, to avoid flooding come winter rains.
- Qualifications Audit on all senior managers underway, to be completed by end-2016, to expose unqualified cadres.
- A Water Leak campaign in Uitenhage and Despatch has led to 2500 leaks being repaired, after long outstanding complaints.
- Repair turnaround time for all water leaks across the Metro has been reduced by 9 days.
- 35 Missionvale homes, left without sanitation by the ANC for years, have been fully connected to sanitation in just 100 days.
- The City’s Rapid Response Task Team (RRTT) is at full capacity, dealing specifically with major service delivery faults that directly impact the lives of residents, such as sewage spills through homes etc. The RRTT deals with about 90 issues a week; and
- The Mayor has banned business and first class travel, and prevented the purchase of luxury vehicles over R500 000.
Indeed, we are making progress. The age of arrogant dominant party governance is over, and the era of vibrant, multiparty politics is upon us.
Our work in these cities has just begun, and we are confident that working in cooperation we can turn around the cities we inherited from the ANC. This will take time, precision and maximum effort. As coalition partners, we are committed to doing just that.
We will ensure that we translate the hopes and dreams of the people into reality and that we work with the people to build a better South Africa.