The DA will paint the ECape blue - Mmusi Maimane

Party leader says the people of Buffalo City Metro, deserve the DA difference too

We won’t stop until the whole Eastern Cape is blue

13 September 2015

Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane at a Vision 2029 rally at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdanstane, Buffalo City Metro, Eastern Cape.

My fellow South Africans,

I spent part of yesterday in Nelson Mandela Bay, where we launched the DA’s campaign to win Nelson Mandela Bay with our Mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip.

If you were there, you’d know what I’m talking about when I say “Change is coming to the Eastern Cape”. 

We are going to write a new story for this province. A story of hope.

The people of Nelson Mandela Bay have made it very clear that they are tired of the ANC government there. They are ready for change, and they are going to vote for that change next year and bring freedom, fairness and opportunity to their city.

The people of Nelson Mandela Bay have indicated that they want a clean, caring and corruption-free government. They want a growing local economy that creates jobs. They want basic services for everyone.

We all want a South African that is borne out of hope and change. We want the South Africa that we dreamed of in 1994.

A South Africa of opportunity for everyone.

We have made much progress over the past 21 years, but there is still a divide in our country between those who live in cities and those who live in rural communities.

Between black and white, and between those who believe in doing the right thing to uplift our country and those who do wrong, only seeking to enrich themselves. 

But I am here today to tell you that the DA cares about all South Africans.

We care about those in cities, and we care about those in rural communities.

We cannot ignore that this province has more bucket toilets than any other. 

We must provide services to all South Africans to uplift the poorest in our communities.

We must empower those in rural communities with the title deeds to the land they work.

There are millions living in rural communities who want to share in the fruits of our democracy, but they are being denied basic services by an uncaring and corrupt government.

These are hard-working South Africans who share the desire for a better tomorrow.

In other words, they want the DA difference.

And here’s the thing: this change doesn’t end with Nelson Mandela Bay. You, the people of Buffalo City Metro, deserve the DA difference too. Our people have suffered for too long under an ANC municipality that doesn’t even pretend to care.

This Metro should be a place of growth and economic activity. With the right people running it, East London, along with places like King Williams Town, Bisho, Zwelitsha and Mdantsane, could be an economic hub in the Eastern Cape. People should come here for work. They should come here to start businesses. They should come to settle here with their families.

This Metro has great potential but we need to make sure that its industries are supported and allowed to flourish.

Companies like Mercedes Benz have placed their trust in this city; we need to ensure that we make it easier for companies to invest, grow the economy and create jobs.

We must do everything in our power to attract more manufacturing industries to this city and encourage other vehicle manufacturers to come here and invest. This can create thousands of jobs and uplift this city and those who live in it.

But this requires that we have stable electricity, easier regulations and a partnership with communities so that that we can all share in the prosperity of this region.

If we can get this right, we can make Buffalo City a hub of manufacturing that will see people flock to this city to make a life for themselves. 

We will see small businesses grow as entrepreneurs take root here and build a thriving economy.

But instead we see people leaving Buffalo City Metro every day. Not because they want to, but because they have to. Thanks to the way this local ANC government here has chased away business and killed jobs, this Metro has become a place where people leave.

As with anything in life, this Metro’s problems begin right at the top. And we saw this very clearly when the previous Mayor and Deputy Mayor were both forced to resign after facing serious fraud charges relating to the theft of almost R6m meant for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

Anywhere else, a leader disgraced in this manner would kiss their career goodbye. But this is the ANC we’re talking about. So instead, Mayor Ncitha simply got redeployed to the National Council of Provinces. Don’t let the ANC tell you that they’re serious about tackling corruption.

There is no culture of service delivery and accountability under the ANC councillors in this metro.

But the DA understands that when water is contaminated, people are without a tomorrow. 

When Amathole District Municipality builds houses and toilets that fall down when it rains, people are without hope for a better life.

I have been here, and seen how our people still live in conditions that are deplorable 21 years after the birth of our democracy.

The journey to freedom has stalled in Buffalo City due to corruption and mismanagement.

It is the people of this beautiful province who suffer when tenders are awarded to friends of the ANC who take that money and provide nothing in return.

Under the ANC, this Metro has also suffered some of the worst service delivery in the country. 33% of the Metro’s water is lost because of broken pipes and leakages. That’s a third of the water meant for communities like yours, lost because the council cannot maintain the infrastructure.

The backlog in road maintenance here is over R150 million already, and there is virtually no stormwater maintenance. Some of the roads here have potholes like massive, gaping craters.

16% of Buffalo City Metro’s electricity went missing between July last year and March this year. That’s R73 million worth of electricity gone, much of which was due to izinyoka. In the last three years, 29 people here in Buffalo City Metro were killed due to these illegal connections.

Under a caring and efficient government, this would not be necessary. Electricity would be rolled out by the local government, and people would not have to steal electricity and end up paying for it with their lives.

A caring and efficient local government would also not find itself being investigated for R1.2 billion in irregular expenditure, as the Buffalo City municipality is.

A caring local government would make sure that EPWP jobs are not reserved for those connected to ANC councillors so that more people have an opportunity to work towards a life they value. If we want to uplift this city and this province we need to build its human capital.

At the DA, we understand the value of clean and transparent governance. Since the DA won the City of Cape Town from the ANC in 2006, and the Western Cape Province in 2009, we have turned both the Metro and the Province around.

In the ANC’s last year in charge of the Western Cape, not one of the 13 government departments got a clean audit. In the DA’s first year, seven of the departments did. This year, 12 of the 13 Western Cape government departments received clean audits.

It’s the same story in the City of Cape Town, where the Metro has now had 11 consecutive clean audits. Last year it was the only Metro in the country to receive a clean audit.

But what does this mean? What do all these clean audits mean for the average citizen of a city or the province?

It simply means that the government does not tolerate corruption. It does not tolerate waste. It does not tolerate under-spending of budgets. And this means that all the money budgeted for the delivery of services to communities such as yours gets spent on the people.

And that makes all the difference in the world.

It’s no coincidence that the City of Cape Town boasts the highest access to water, electricity and sanitation of all the metros in South Africa. It’s because they spend all the money they have on these services.

Nothing goes to waste. Nothing ends up in the pockets of politicians. Tenders don’t go to politicians’ friends. Public money is spent on the public, in communities where it is needed the most.

That’s the DA difference. That’s what the people of Cape Town voted for in 2006. That’s what’s coming to Nelson Mandela Bay next year. And it could come here, to Buffalo City Metro, too.

The days of the Eastern Cape being the ANC stronghold are long gone. The blue wave is washing over from the Western Cape, and soon this beautiful province will be blue too.

We’ve already pushed the ANC below 50% in Nelson Mandela Bay. And this year, the DA won the SRC elections at Fort Hare University too. 

Between the 2009 and the 2014 elections, the DA grew by 53% in the Eastern Cape Province. Here in Buffalo City Metro, over the same period, the DA grew by 59%. And, of course, in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro we shrunk the gap between the DA and the ANC down to just 8%.

Change is coming, and there is nothing the ANC can do to stop it.

Three months ago, President Zuma addressed a crowd in Uitenhage, trying to rally some support for their troubled Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Danny Jordaan. Knowing how badly the FIFA bribe scandal was hurting them, he tried desperately to put out some of the fires.

And I’d like to remind the president of what he told that crowd in June. He said, and I quote, “Nelson Mandela Bay is the home of the ANC. If it can be won by another party, even Luthuli will turn in his grave. Even us, we will have to leave South Africa.”

Well, President Zuma, you might want to start making your arrangements to leave. Because the DA is coming for Nelson Mandela Bay, and you can’t stop us. And then we’re coming for Buffalo City and Kouga and Camdeboo and Baviaans and Emalahleni and Makana.

And we won’t stop until this whole province is blue. Because the people of the Eastern Cape have suffered under the corrupt and uncaring ANC government for far too long now.

We, the DA, will bring Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity back to the Eastern Cape. And it all starts with next year’s Local Government Elections.

I have hope for the people of Buffalo City and the Eastern Cape.

This province has delivered great heroes such as Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko.

Tata Nelson Mandela was a shepherd who became a globally recognized icon. 

But we can change this province so that this is not the exception, but the rule.

That culture of leadership development can be restored by the DA.

Under our leadership, the sons and daughters of this soil will rise up and make use of the opportunities of this land.

Let’s make this province great in all its beauty!


Issued by the DA, September 13 2015