28 years ago to the day, the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, was released from Victor Verster Prison following more than a quarter-century behind bars for fighting for the freedom we all enjoy today.
We remain grateful for all that Madiba did for our nation, and for the values he espoused. His vision of a united, democratic, and non-racial South Africa that is prosperous is a vision the DA shares and fights for each and every day.
Madiba saluted the ANC in his speech on his release from prison for having 'fulfilled our every expectation in its role as leader of the great march to freedom.' 28 years ago, so did every other South African, myself included. But since then the ANC abandoned that expectation and they chose to leave the people of South Africa behind.
The DA made a different choice. We chose to meet Madiba's expectation and continued his long walk to freedom.
We are now the only party in South Africa committed to the values of reconciliation that Madiba espoused. Where others actively mobilise race against race, community against community, we are devoted to the idea espoused in the opening words of our Constitution, that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
The use of violence as a means of protest that continues to flare up across the country should be condemned in the strongest terms. The ANC has spent 20 years straying from Madiba's values and now find their organisation paralysed by corruption and division. This is the cost of straying from founding values.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa's extended exit negotiations with President Jacob Zuma are beginning to seem a lot like mediating to protect Zuma from the consequences of his ruinous presidency and his corruption. This mediation cannot continue. Jacob Zuma must face the full consequences of his actions whatever they may be, and there can be no deal or leniency for him or his family.
Madiba's 'ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities' is an ideal that the DA strives to live for and achieve. It is an ideal that should be shared all South Africans.
Today we remember Madiba's release from prison and his inspiring vision of a united, reconciled country. We recommit ourselves to the attainment of that vision in our lifetimes.
Refiloe Nt'sekhe MPL
DA National Spokesperson