26 January 2013

South Africa: The DA Is a Big House, for All South Africans

press release

Today I am pleased to welcome Councillor Jabulani Chiya into the ranks of the Democratic Alliance. Councillor Chiya is a former member of the ANC, who ran as an independent councillor in the last municipal election.

Jabulani is one of the growing number of former ANC members and activists who are now joining the DA, because they have come to see the DA as the best hope for the future of South Africa. Councillor Chiya is welcome in the DA. All of his supporters and friends are welcome too - they are part of the DA family that stretches across the country.

I was very touched yesterday by a letter in the Mail & Guardian by a Mr Lesogo Setou, from Johannesburg. His letter was entitled "Fear of the Unknown", and in it he suggests that many people in South Africa who have supported the ANC continue to do so mainly because they are unsure and afraid of the unknown.

It is worth quoting Mr Setou:

"If you ask us why we stay with the ANC, we will refer you to our kids in the form of the youth of June 1976, and we might even mention love for the likes of Oliver Tambo. The truth, though, is that if you remove all these reasons and dig deep, we stay with the ANC because of fear.

We have fear from Helen Zille, we fear to take a chance on her because of the colour of her skin, we fear the policies she has in store for us."

Today, I am here with Jabulani Chiya to show that there is nothing to be afraid of in the DA. Last November I welcomed Nosimo Balindlela, the former ANC Premier of the Eastern Cape, into the DA. She will tell you today that there is nothing to fear in the DA. Ask Bonginkosi Madikizela, and he will tell you that there is nothing to fear in the DA.

In fact, the DA has given Jabulani, and Nosimo Balindlela, and MEC Madikizela, everything to hope for again in South Africa. We are working every day, across the country, to build a bright and prosperous future for South Africa - a future in which every person can be included in prosperity, in which every person can have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and in which communities like this in Umzimkhulu can get the respect they deserve from their government.

I want to make a few things very clear. We will never bring back apartheid. In fact, people who think life was better under apartheid do not belong in the DA. We will never take away your grants or houses. We will only work to expand opportunities, grow the economy to create jobs for more people, fix the schools for our children, deliver basic services better, and stop the corruption that steals money straight from the pockets of the poorest people. We want to build a future for South Africa where no one needs to fear the colour of another person's skin, as Mr Setou said - because we all work for the betterment of one another, no matter who or what colour we are.

That is the DA's vision, and everyone is invited.

I was amazed when I saw on my programme that I was coming to Umzimkhulu municipality. The word "Umzimkhulu" means "Great or Big Homestead". What a wonderful name, because that is exactly what the DA is. The DA is South Africa's Great Homestead. There is enough room for all South Africans in the DA, and all South Africans are welcome. When I read the name Umzimkhulu I was reminded of John 14:2 - "In my Father's house there are many rooms". That is like the DA - no one must fear that there is no place for them in the DA, and more and more South Africans are beginning to see that.

Councillor Chiya was elected with a big majority, which shows that many people in this community trusted him and knew that he would work hard to improve their lives in the council. They joined him when he left the ANC, and now they are joining him when he is joining the DA. We welcome them all!

I want to end by quoting Mr Setou's letter again. He ends his letter by asking, and I echo his question:

"Where do we wish to go as South Africans, what are our dreams for South Africa, what are our desires for our economy, our health, our education? Is the ANC still the party to take us through the next era?"

Today Councillor Chiya and many members of this community have answered those questions by joining the DA. Many people have already done so around South Africa - and this is still only the beginning. More and more people from across political lines will begin to rethink the future, and their own political homes. Good people with shared values need to come together so that we can build a strong and better South Africa.

Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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