Campaigning in Ward 15, Nelson Mandela Bay
Note to editors: The following is an extract of remarks made today by DA Parliamenary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko MP while campaigning in New Brighton, Ward 15, Nelson Mandela Bay, March 25 2012.
I am delighted to be here in New Brighton today to support our candidate for the election this coming Wednesday. The Democratic Alliance (DA) takes by-elections, like the one for Ward 15, very seriously because they give you the opportunity to ask for a change in direction between elections.
The DA knows that all politics is local. Local government is the closest level of government to the people. We do not view it as the poor relation of government, but the dynamo of delivery. The proximity means that your councillor is closest to your hopes and needs.
The DA is not only interested in winning the battle for votes, as important as that is, but we are also beginning to win the battle of values.
We are changing local government not just issue by issue, but attitude by attitude, direction by direction. We are painting a new picture of local government across South Africa.
Take a look at what the DA has done in Cape Town since we took office in 2006. Between 2006 and 2010, spending on free water, electricity and housing doubled from R385 million to R776 million. As a result, more Cape Town residents, particularly the poor, have access to basic services than anywhere else in the country.
In 2010, the national government’s Universal Household Access to Basic Services report found that Cape Town delivered more basic services to the poor than any other district or metropolitan municipality in the country. The same study found that 94% of poor households in Cape Town have access to sanitation; 95% have access to electricity; 98% have access to refuse removal and 100% have access to water.
We have also cut crime by expanding the metro police, installing CCTV cameras and investing in social infrastructure. Yet we will not be satisfied until every child receives a decent education and every pensioner feels safe. Mayor Patricia De Lille and her team are working to speed up the pace of progress.
The DA would like to replicate the same excellence and sense of urgency in Nelson Mandela Bay. This community is blighted by high unemployment. Housing and sanitation are poor. Many children attend schools that are vandalised. The level of crime is one of the highest in South Africa. Alcohol and substance abuse is rife.
How can this be with the rich composition of the citizens and organisations of this community? The majority of people here are working hard to turn things around. It is your political leaders who have let you down. New Brighton deserves a new start.
There are many ways to measure the well-being of a community. The clearest is in the development of its children.
Every parent has a right to offer their child a fair shot at a decent education. This basic right is clearly written into our Constitution. You have witnessed the debilitating SADTU strikes in this province. Every day lost in the classroom is a huge loss. Speak to any educational expert, and they will tell you how hard it is for a child to make up lost time because learning happens in building blocks. This is especially true of maths and science.
Teaching is a prestigious occupation and, in the DA’s view, it is an essential service. In some countries in Asia, teachers are known as ‘nation builders’. This same conviction animates Helen Zille, who has been passionate about driving up Matric pass rates in the Western Cape and in DA-led municipalities. The hard data speak for themselves.
The ANC-led Eastern Cape was the worst-performing province with regard to the 2011 matric pass rate results, with a 58.1 % pass rate. This was down from the 58.3 % it managed the previous year.
The DA-led Western Cape is the country’s top performer. The province achieved a percentage pass rate of 82.9 % in 2011. This is an increase of 6.1 % over the percentage pass rate attained in 2010.
So it is time for the ANC to stop playing politics with our children’s futures in the Eastern Cape. The DA wants to extend the same opportunities here, as we have done where we govern.
Where the DA serves, we want to build strong communities by standing up for the poor, the sick, and the helpless. The mark of a sound society is not the contentment of the wealthy and strong, but the commitment to the poor and weak.
A vote for yet another ANC councillor would be a wasted vote for a party that has consistently failed this metro. You deserve better. Vote for change, for a better tomorrow.
Last year, the DA came very close to winning and governing Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. That is why we need every person who supports the DA to go out and vote on Wednesday. Each DA seat gained on the council is one step closer to a DA government. I urge those of you who have never voted DA before to give us a chance to serve you.
I know that this community is rightly proud of its contribution to the liberation struggle. We respect and cherish that. And so the question that we must all ask ourselves today is: which party is more likely to deliver on its promises? Which party will deliver economic and social justice and freedom in our country in the present and the future? That party is the Democratic Alliance.
The DA cares passionately about redress and reconciliation, delivery and diversity. These are not theoretical concepts. They are measurable steps as much as they are the stuff of heart and soul. We will only truly see ourselves in one another when everyone enjoys the same opportunities. We cannot promise equality of outcomes, only the potential for each person to lead a fulfilled life. And we can only achieve this if we get education and basic services right.
You don’t have to be a loyal DA supporter to vote DA on Wednesday, March 28. This is a local election. It is not about party loyalty, it is about whether or not you get the service you deserve. You have an opportunity to lend your vote to a party that has a proven track record of good service delivery. If we fail to deliver here, then you can lend your vote to somebody else.
So I call on you today: lend us your vote on Wednesday, so that the DA can better serve you on Thursday. Together, let’s change how we do politics in New Brighton.
Issued by the DA, March 25 2012
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