The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Leseding, Limpopo, ahead of an upcoming by-election on 2 August. The Leader was joined by DA Limpopo Leader, Jacques Smalle. Mayor of Modimolle/Mookgophong, Marlene van Staden, Chief Whip, Dingaan Motswene, and DA Candidate for Ward 1, Eric Aphane.
My fellow South Africans,
Here in Leseding, in the Modimolle/Mookgophong Local Municipality, you are in the unique position of having experienced years of ANC government, followed by the past year under a DA-led coalition government. You can now compare the two and decide for yourself which works for you.
At the time of last year’s Local Government Elections, when people started talking about the possibility of new coalition governments for some of our closely-contested cities and towns, many said that this would not work. Many of these critics said the coalitions would crumble as the divides between the various parties became clear.
But I’m here today to tell you they were wrong. Because here we are in a municipality run by a DA-led coalition government, and it works. In fact, it works better than any government the towns of Modimolle, Mookgophong and Vaalwater have had before. For the first time in years, things are getting done here.
The critics said that parties like the DA and the EFF had too little in common to possibly find consensus on issues of governance. But what these critics didn’t take into account was the one thing we did have in common: our concern for the people. Because if you can agree on putting the needs of the people above everything else, you can make just about any partnership work.
This council managed to pass its budgets and development plans with no problems, and it wasted no time in getting to work. The list of achievements of the past year alone is longer than we have time for here, but I’d like to mention just a few.
The construction of the Lilian Ngoyi street bridge in Modimolle, which had collapsed five years ago, took this new government only three months to complete.
Many boreholes were drilled in Modimolle, Mookgophong, Vaalwater, Roetan and Alma to provide water to these communities, and a section of the old water pipeline in Mookgophong has been replaced.
The Water Treatment Plant in Vaalwater was fixed and now works for the first time in ten years. The water reservoir we visited here this morning was also built by this new government in just two months.
There have been repairs to roads, to traffic lights, to street lights. In Vaalwater, 400 new houses were built, and in Mookgophong electricity faults were reduced from 200 a month to just 20 per month.
You can often tell whether a government is working by the amount of cooperation it receives from businesses and individuals. And it pleases me to tell you that this coalition government clearly has the trust and support of the local business community. Many of the successful projects such as water tanks, road paint, tarring and even new traffic lights were made possible through donations.
And the hard work has only just begun. The Mayor has informed me of some of her immediate plans for this municipality, and I assure you there is plenty to look forward to. These plans include building another 400 houses in the Modimolle area, connecting 500 houses in Vaalwater Extension 4 to water and replacing further sections of the old water pipelines in both Modimolle and Mookgophong.
She also intends to open a 24-hour customer care line so that residents here can be in constant contact with the municipality on issues that affect them.
My fellow South Africans,
The difference between this new coalition government and the ANC government it replaced is like day and night. But they will be able to do even more for you if you had a ward councillor here in Ward 1 who was working on the same team.
On Wednesday you will have the opportunity to vote for such a councillor. The DA candidate in these by-elections is a man called Eric Aphane – remember his name and remember his face. And when it comes to voting, think about what I told you today. If you think the new coalition government in this municipality is providing you with services you didn’t get from the old ANC government, then I think you know what to do.
This municipality is finally moving in the right direction. You can use your vote to keep making progress here, and to help make this a place of hope and opportunity for all.