The following remarks were delivered today by the DA Leader during a public meeting in Upington, Northern Cape. This forms part of the National #Change19 Tour. The Leader was joined by the Northern Cape Provincial Leader, Andrew Louw.
My fellow South Africans
Thank you for welcoming me into your community. Today I am here in Upington as part of my Change19 tour. I’ve been travelling across the country, speaking to South Africans from all walks of life about how we can start moving South Africa forward again in 2019.
I want to start by offering my deepest condolences to the family of the ANC councillor here who died of a stroke recently. I have heard that her son may very well be here in the audience today. To him, I say: you have my heartfelt sympathy – you have suffered a great personal tragedy.
I have also heard that this son has recently become a DA activist. So to him, I would also like to say a very warm welcome. The ANC is your past, and I hope the DA will be your future. I’m guessing that this young man has already worked out for himself the very message that I came here today to deliver to your community: the DA is SA’s greatest hope for the future. We can make SA a country where young people can realise their full potential.
Right now, the ANC government is delivering blow after blow to your future prospects. Just this week, we’ve learnt that Eskom’s Chief Financial Officer, Anoj Singh, gifted R1.5 billion to the Zuma and Gupta families through the dirty Tegeta deal. Instead of a jail sentence, Eskom is giving him a R1.8 million bonus.
Believe me, you are the real victims of this corruption and state capture. Because corruption and state capture kills jobs. This is why electricity is so expensive in South Africa, and this is one of the key reasons our economy is shrinking.
Fellow South Africans, after 25 years – a quarter century – of ANC government, our country is crying out for change. There is an old saying: a new broom sweeps clean. Well, South African is ready for a new broom. We’re ready for a fresh start. When the ANC came into government in 1994, they were the new broom. And in the beginning, they did sweep clean. But now they’ve become complacent, arrogant, corrupt and captured. And as a result, we see decay all around us.
There’s physical decay – you can see it right here in your community – houses and buildings and streetlights and parks that need maintenance but aren’t getting it.
And then there’s moral decay – which creeps into a community when young people don’t have the opportunities they need to make the most of their lives. The youth of Upington should be in jobs, or training, or starting their own businesses – excited about the future. Instead, many have turned to drugs, crime and prostitution.
If we don’t arrest this decay, what will be left for the next generation?
Drugs, crime and prostitution are not the cause of our problems. They are the effect. The real problem is unemployment, and the real reason for it is that the ANC government doesn’t know and doesn’t care about how to get our young people working. Under the ANC government, most people think that the only way to get a job is to work for the council. But the council can never provide as many jobs as we need, and so we have the problems you see all around you today.
The fact is, the best way to get a job is to make one for yourself by starting a small business. Or else to work in someone else’s business. Because when it comes to private business, the sky is the limit. The potential for job creation is endless. You just need the right conditions. And that is where the DA comes in. A DA government here in Upington will create the conditions for young people to thrive – because we’ll create the conditions for small businesses to thrive. Let me give you two examples.
Under a DA government, Eskom’s role will be to keep electricity prices as low as possible, making it more affordable for people to start and run small businesses.
Another key ingredient for job creation is mentoring. Where the DA governs, we’re opening up Youth Cafes in communities such as yours. At these Youth Cafes, young people can get help and advice with starting their own business or finding jobs. They can access opportunities for skills and leadership training, including in project management, creative design and life skills – as well as the internet, for job seeking.
Under these kind of conditions, the economy here in Upington, and in SA as a whole, will thrive. Under a DA government, young people will have new hope for the future. Fellow South African, it’s time for change, and that change must come in 2019.