Provincial leader, Francois Rodger, Provincial Chair, Dean Macpherson and Deputy Chair, Sithembiso Ngema; fellow democrats; colleagues; members of the media; DA members and activists, good morning.
Thank you for that warm introduction, Francois. Our gift for your 60th birthday is the first DA run municipality in KZN.
We are poised to make history in the uMngeni Municipality. 9% – that is the difference between the only two parties represented in the municipal council. That translates to a shift of fewer than 2 500 votes. That’s the difference.
It is the difference between a cable, efficient and caring municipality and more of the same decline we have seen over the years.
We chose this venue today, the Howick Falls, because it is not only iconic but it is also symbolic. It is symbolic of the wasted potential that exists in our beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Just like the Howick Falls precinct:
- Crime and lawlessness have taken over our communities
- Filth and decay is evident everywhere
- Our environment is polluted and suffocating
- Jobs are hard to come by and running a business is increasingly difficult
- Our roads, parks, street lights, water and electricity is visibly in need of repair and investment, and
- When you try and get answers or assistance from the municipality, the silence is only broken by the thunder of Nogqaza as the water hits the pool below.
This area should be a hive of activity with tour buses pulling up in their numbers. Tourism operators, informal traders and the greater area in general benefit from the attraction. There should be cleaners and safety officers, parks officials and tour guides all earning a living while participating in the thriving local economy. Instead, we have a rather sad looking tar road with boulders and broken stumps blocking the entrance.
And if that isn’t bad enough, across the waterfall we see the real travesty of poor governance and an uncaring government.
Bakhona abahlala eShiyabazali lana?
Anikhathele na ukuhlala kuleyandawo?
Anikhathele na ukugeza izingubo Emfuleni?
But, change is coming to our small corner of KZN. Are you ready for it?
Hope is coming to the heart of KZN. Can you feel it?
The journey to winning uMngeni started in 2004 when the DA grew to a size where a full majority in council became a realistic possibility within a few years. Since then, under the guidance of Greg Krumbock, who is now the Federal Campaign Manager, our elected representatives and our members have been hard at work preparing to take over and bring real change to the people of the KZN Midlands. In every local government election, we have grown and now a victory is within our grasp. For the first time, the DA will be able to show the people of KZN what good governance looks like.
Our offer to the people of the Midlands is based on 5 key priorities. These priorities are captured and expanded on in our BluePrint – a plan to get things done in uMngeni (our election manifesto that will be released after voter registration). Our 5 priorities are:
- Maintaining and investing in infrastructure,
- Building safer communities,
• Ensuring a growing economy that creates jobs,
• Focusing on waste management and the environment, and
- Providing a transparent, capable and responsive government.
Noma uhlala eMthulini, eHilton, eMpophomeni noma eLidgetton sizibophezele ukuletha ushintsho lwangempela. Abantu bethu bafuna ukuthola imisebenzi, ikakhulukazi abantu abasha. Imindeni yethu ifuna ukuphila ezindaweni ezihlanzekile neziphephile. Okubaluleke kakhulu, sifuna umasipala ozosikhombisa inhlonipho njengezakhamuzi.
These are not false promises or fairy tales. This is a vision, a vision that we are ready to implement.
To implement this vision, we have gathered a team to be revered. Our team has more than 65 years of combined local government experience. Our team is also highly qualified. Our qualifications include B. Town and Regional Planning, Master of Social Science (Political Science), Hons. Industrial Microbiology, MSc. Agriculture, B. Social Science (Politics and Law), Diploma in Rural Development, Diploma. Data, B. Admin. (Executive Development).
Not only is our team experienced and qualified but we are diverse in all respects. Gender, age, geography, sexual orientation, religion, language. Kwaba khona isicelo esithi abantu bafuna ukubona abantu abasha behola umaspala. IDA isiyaphendula namuhlanje. So, this day is not only about me. This day is about the team that is going to get things done in uMngeni.
As the leader of this team, I offer my degree in Town and Regional Planning, my years as a student leader at the University of Pretoria including my service as the President of the Temporary Student council, 12 years of political experience including as a ward councillor and member of the Provincial Legislature and my work experience as a development economist.
A few weeks ago, as DA representatives, we stood shoulder to shoulder with our respective communities as we defend against the ANC inspired riots and insurrection. United we said no to lawlessness and the destruction of lives and livelihoods. Our Federal leader, John Steenhuisen, even visited uMngeni to thank the brave men and women who stood up to protect our communities and he supported the NGOs in Mpophomeni that was rebuilding after the destruction.
This is the same spirit and leadership that we will take into government. An ethical and capable municipality based on partnerships, transparency and meaningful participation. A government that cares for the vulnerable and the poor. An innovative, forward-thinking government. A government that looks after the environment. And a government that ensures that ratepayers get value for money from the rates that they pay.
We will do this because, despite only governing 10% of South Africa’s municipalities, DA run municipalities are continuously outperforming other councils. The top 5 best-run municipalities in South Africa are run by the DA and the only financial sustainable metro is also being run by the DA. Our track record speaks for itself. It is time for uMngeni to experience the DA difference.
Lapho kuphethe khona iDA impilo zabantu ziyashintsha. Inthuthuko iyabonakala. Kulula nakwezinye izindawo ukuthola umsebenzi lapho kuhola khona iDA. Izinsiza ziyalethwa ngoba iDA ayivumelani nenkhohlakalo nobugebengu. Sizovala ukuqashwa ngobuhlobo nobungani.
Now is the time. Now is our time. We urge DA voters in uMngeni to make sure that they are registered by going to the voting stations on the 18th and 19th of September and to get to the voting stations on the 1st of November. Remember, we need only 9% more. Every vote will count. Your vote will count.
The next 7 weeks of campaigning are only the end of a long journey for us. While our opponents are in the change room deciding what colour kit to wear and who their captain will be, the DA in uMngeni has taken to the field. We have sung the national anthem and we are ready for kick-off.
The residents of uMngeni can rest assured that we are ready to take over and that we are ready to get things done.