The 2019 general elections will be make or break elections for South Africa, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.
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Speaking after the DA’s federal executive (FedEx) two-day meeting in Cape Town, he said that on August 3, millions of South Africans took charge of their destiny and their future and voted for change.
The DA achieved substantial growth, receiving over four million votes and forming governments in 14 new municipalities, including three new metros. This election also ushered in an era of coalition politics, as multiparty coalitions to unseat the African National Congress were formed in councils across the country.
The DA knew its work did not end on August 4 and in fact it had only just begun. The truth was that South Africa could not afford to have the ANC govern until 2024. The crisis at the highest level of government over the past 60 days had shown that the ANC would not reform and its internal war would only worsen.
From the war inside the Cabinet, the abuse of the Hawks to pursue Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the failure of leadership in higher education, the reappointment of Dudu Myeni as South African Airways board chairwoman, secrecy in nuclear energy deals, the lease of a new VIP jet for president Jacob Zuma – “all of this, and more, in just two months”.
“Every day that the ANC remains in government more institutional damage is done, more corruption goes unchecked, and more the economy falters and unemployment grows,” Maimane said.
“2019 will be a make or break election for South Africa. We must therefore aim to continue to grow our support and build a majority of South Africans that share our values and our vision so that we can help bring the ANC below 50 percent nationally in 2019.
“Our ‘Road to 2019’ campaign consists of a long-term, comprehensive plan of action to achieve our goal of being part of a national government in 2019,” he said.
The FedEx had noted that to achieve the 2019 objectives, the DA needed to accelerate its efforts to become an activist-driven party. This would require a deliberate programme to strengthen branches and activists so that the party was in permanent campaign mode in every community between now and 2019.
“The FedEx has sent the message to all of our provincial and regional structures that election 2019 has already begun. We have less than 1000 days to go, and over the course of the next two-and-a-half years we will ramp up on the ground presence several fold.”
Among other things, the FedEx also resolved that a “country recovery plan” be developed for South Africa, which would act as a blueprint for governance in 2019. The party would also undergo a comprehensive policy review and update to ensure that DA policies reflected the latest in global evidence-based best practice.
“Our policy will remain focused on kick-starting economic growth to create jobs, rooting out corruption, and expanding opportunities for the poor and unemployed. Should a new government be formed post-election 2019 we need to be able to hit the ground running with a clear, sensible plan that delivers the right outcomes.”
The most important element of the “Road to 2019” was ensuring that every DA-run government was well-run, people orientated, and successfully delivered for the citizens of South Africa. Every resident in a DA-run municipality should know, see, and feel the DA difference.
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“Since taking over these new councils the DA has uncovered a truly staggering display of waste and corruption. It is clear that most ANC councils were being used as bloated employment agencies for ANC cronies, wasting money meant for service delivery for the poor. Many of the new councils we lead are in dire financial situations. It will be complex and difficult to turn these councils around and sweep away years of ANC neglect and corruption. But we are excited for the challenge and will take it on with zeal,” Maimane said.
– African News Agency (ANA)