DA KZN: Only the DA represents the same hope that South Africans experienced on 27 April 1994
5 May 2016
TODAY’s debate commemorates a momentous day in the history of South Africa – the day that millions of disenfranchised South Africans had the chance to vote for their own government for the first time.
It marked the end of a crime against humanity called Apartheid. It was the culmination of the efforts of many people and organisations who fought, marched, were forced into exile and exposed the injustices against the majority of South Africans. Many paid the ultimate price by sacrificing their own lives in the struggle.
It is a day that laid the foundation for the constitutional democracy we all enjoy today. It was a time when all South Africans regardless of race, religion or creed were hopeful for the future. And they lined up in their numbers.
Everyone has their own personal memories of that 27th April. Mine is of a 6 year old accompanying his parents to vote at Paul Sykes Primary School in Newlands West, Durban. I remember arriving early and waiting in the queue for more than six hours to watch my parents vote for the first time. There was no complaining about the long queues. Instead the atmosphere was one of excitement and hopefulness. South Africans, previously separated by unjust laws, now standing side by side.
Another experience is that of the Matoti family from Bhoboyi who started walking at 3am in in order to be numbers 7 and 8 in the queue at Port Shepstone Civic Centre. The day was even more special for Mr Mbonisi Matoti who was imprisoned for 28 months in solitary confinement by the Apartheid government.
South Africa has made significant progress since 1994. The racist laws of the past have been removed, we now enjoy a Constitution which protects all its citizens and we have Chapter 9 institutions that defend the rights of South Africans without fear or favour. We are now free to live where we want, move around freely and love who we want. We have an independent judiciary that upholds both the spirit and letter of the law.
However, since the Zuma presidency took office, many of these hard won freedoms are being eroded. Nationally, we find the capture of state institutions ranging from the National Prosecuting Authority to the SABC. Corruption is at all-time high and there is a resurgence of crony capitalism, unseen since the Broerderbond of the Apartheid era. We find high levels of patrimony, misogyny and gender violence impacting the freedom of women.
We also have not one but two court rulings against a sitting president, the first of which calls for the review and possible reinstatement of 783 corruption charges against President Zuma.
The second ruling and I quote from the unanimous Constitutional Court ruling ‘Order 4: The failure of the President to comply with the remedial action…by the Public Protector…, is inconsistent with the Constitution.’ This can be easily read as the President violated the Constitution.
Here in KZN, the situation is not much better. Our province is the murder capital of South Africa with one murder every 2.5 hours. The matric pass rate has dropped by 12% in two years and, according to StatsSA, our provincial unemployment rate of has risen from 36.8% to 44.5% in rural areas. Our hospitals are battling outbreaks of multi-drug resistant infections in their baby nurseries and increasing numbers of local municipalities are struggling to provide basic service delivery to KZN communities.
It is for these very reasons that more and more people, especially previous ANC supporters, are now supporting the DA. One of them is the very same Mr Matoti who I mentioned earlier. He and his family will be voting for the DA for the first time in 2016. The reason? This is not the same ANC he fought for and was imprisoned for. This theme is echoed by Ghaleb Cachalia in Ekurhuleni and Lindela Tshwete in Cape Town.
One of the tenets of freedom is freedom of association and the right to change one’s vote. Only the DA truly represents the same hope for South Africa that we all experienced on April 27th 1994. The true essence of freedom is not just in making a cross on a ballot every five years. It is about having the freedoms and opportunity to live a life of one’s own choice. The best way to achieve this future is through the ballot box when people vote for change.
Issued by Rishigen Viranna, Member of the DA in the KZN Legislature, 5 May 2016