Seven months ago the DA proudly announced its candidate for Premier for each of the nine provinces. And I say “proudly” because we have complete faith in the people we put forward for these crucial positions.
We know that each of these nine candidates has the skills, the commitment and the track record to perform the duties of a provincial Premier. They emerged as the DA’s preferred candidates after a rigorous selection process, and from shortlists that contained many other highly qualified people.
We have assembled, in our nine Premier candidates, a group of leaders that is truly diverse in terms of age, race and gender. They reflect not only our diverse and growing party, but also our commitment to building One South Africa for All.
We announced their candidacy seven months ago because it is important that voters know exactly who they get when they cast a vote for the DA. We want people to be able to research and interrogate our candidates. We want people to study their past performances. We want people to make informed decisions at the ballot box.
For the past seven months, Solly Msimanga, Alan Winde, Andrew Louw, Nqaba Bhanga, Jane Sithole, Joe McGluwa, Zwakele Mncwango, Patricia Kopane and Jacques Smalle have been on the road in their respective provinces, campaigning as the candidate for Premier. Voters have had hundreds of opportunities to engage with them on issues that affect their communities, and to grill them on party policy.
That’s how you run a campaign based on transparency and accountability. That’s how you run a campaign when you trust the ability and commitment of your candidates.
Now compare this with the ANC’s campaign. Who is their candidate for Premier here in the Western Cape? Who is their candidate in Gauteng? Or the Northern Cape, or Limpopo, or KZN, or any of the other provinces? Voters have absolutely no idea who they are voting for in the ANC.
They want people to blindly vote for them and then trust that they will somehow deploy a suitable cadre to the position of Premier, should they win the province. Not only is that extremely disrespectful to voters, it has also never worked out well before. The ANC’s policy of cadre deployment has only ever delivered corruption, patronage and nepotism.
That’s how they have, in the past, inflicted totally corrupt Premiers like Ace Magashule on the people of the Free State, or David Mabuza on the people of Mpumalanga, or Supra Mahumapelo on the people of the North-West. That’s why they hide their candidates until every vote has been cast.
I’m not surprised at all that the ANC doesn’t want you to know who you might be voting for, should you consider casting your vote for them. When they have been forced, by law, to make public the names of candidates for Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies, it has been a source of great shame and ridicule for them. Their lists are riddled with criminals who belong in prison not Parliament, and it hurts them deeply to have to publicly disclose these names.
By law, they have to tell you the names on these lists, no matter how embarrassing or how damaging to the party. But the law doesn’t compel them to tell you who their candidates for Premier are, and you can bet they will hide them from you until after the election.
The ANC is rotten to the core, and their leadership at every level and sphere of government reflects this. All they have left is the myth of one man: Cyril Ramaphosa. He is their one and only election gimmick, and they will milk him for all he is worth. Never mind the fact that the Bosasa scandal has shown that he is no different from his comrades and his predecessor when it comes to taking dirty money for him and his family.
I would like to present a challenge to the ANC today: come clean and name your candidates for Premier for each of the provinces. With just over two weeks to go until the election, take the voters into your confidence and tell them exactly who they will be getting with a vote for the ANC. If you’re not ashamed of them, and if you don’t intend to sneak in crooks through the back door, make their names public.
You cannot build a capable government from a bunch of criminals. You cannot build a capable government by deploying cadres whose only qualification is their blind loyalty to the party. You cannot build a capable government by cheating and deceiving your voters.
The only way to build a capable government is by selecting only the best, most qualified people for the job, and doing so out in the open. And when you’ve done this – when you have chosen your candidates on credibility, experience and character – then it’s only natural that you will be proud to announce them to prospective voters.
The DA’s party lists along with our candidates for Premier in all nine provinces represent national and provincial governments-in-waiting. Our leadership is diverse and experienced, and we want every single voter to know exactly who they are.
We also want voters to know what these candidates will do for them if elected as Premier. And the key focus in every DA government will be the creation of jobs. The DA is confident that, if elected to government, we can put a job in every home. According to StatsSA’s General Household Survey 2017, only 59% of SA homes have a job in them. That means 41% of our households – well over 6 million households – do not have a single job and rely on grants or remittances. This is completely unsustainable, the source of incredible hardship and deprivation for millions of families.
In terms of putting a job in every home, DA-run Western Cape is by far in the lead, with 74% of households having at least one job. So, the situation is much better for most families in the Western Cape, although we still have a way to go.
We know we can replicate our success in other provinces. So today, each of our nine Premier candidates will sign a “Jobs Pledge” in which they will commit to a number of steps to ensure that hundreds of thousands of new jobs are created, and that everyone has fair access to these jobs.
These steps include the eradication of red tape, the building of job centres, the provision of free internet to job-seekers, the launch of a one-year provincial internship whereby matrics can learn vital skills, as well as a cash stipend for interns to cover living expenses.
This pledge will further commit our candidates to launching a trade and business agency in their province similar to the Western Cape’s WESGRO. They will also pledge to upgrade roads in rural areas, to fight for provincial control over rail services, to fight for provincial control over policing and to introduce a police ombudsman to ensure that police eradicate the practice of sex-for-jobs.
By signing this pledge, our Premier candidates will give voters something to hold them to. We will never abuse the trust of our voters. And we will most certainly never spring a bunch of crooks on people once their votes are already in the bag.
That is the difference between a party that cares only about itself, and a party that seeks to build one prosperous South Africa for all.