It is possible to achieve Uhuru in South Africa, but only if we take action on the 29th of May

Good evening, South Africa

We are gathered here this evening to celebrate the strength of our country’s democracy, and to invite patriotic South Africans to take action with us to fix the country we love.

In just three days’ time, millions of South Africans will vote in the most important election since the dawn of our democracy in 1994.

In three days’ time we will go to the polls to decide the future of our country, and the kind of country we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in.

We will be making a choice between the politics of fear and division, or the politics of hope and opportunity.

We will be making a choice between recommitting to the dream of a united South Africa, or resigning ourselves to the corruption and mismanagement we have grown used to.

We will be making a choice between a country united towards the common goal of building a prosperous and inclusive society, or one that perpetuates the inequality of the past.

To me, the choice is clear.

On Wednesday, I will be joining the millions of patriotic South Africans who will be voting for hope – not fear and division.

Because, I believe that our best days are still ahead of us.

We can, and we will, fix South Africa.

Fellow South Africans,

Tonight is the culmination of three and a half years of hard work and long hours for tens of thousands of ActionSA activists working in communities across the country.

It is also the culmination of a nearly three-decade personal journey which saw my formal entry into politics in late 2015.

After many years of support for the ruling party – including financial support in the dark days of Apartheid – I could no longer stand on the sidelines and allow South Africa to become a failed state.

Too many patriotic South Africans paid the ultimate price to see the end of Apartheid.

In honour of them, we cannot give up on South Africa.

Prior to 1994, we fought for recognition and equality.

We fought for a South Africa that does not divide its citizens based on the colour of their skin.

Today, we are equal on paper but many of the old divides still remain.

I left a successful career in business to become the executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg in August 2016, because I wanted to play an active role in righting the wrongs of the past.

Being mayor was one of the most challenging jobs I ever had. But equally, it was the most rewarding of my entire career.

Nothing can compare to seeing the response of a grandmother who was able to boil a kettle for the first time after we provided electricity to Kliptown 23 years after 1994.

The same goes for seeing thousands of security workers and cleaners receive the dignity of permanent employment.

While it was heartbreaking to see the conditions many South Africans still live in, my experience as the City of Johannesburg mayor taught me what is possible when the government works for the people.

This experience led to the launch of ActionSA in August 2020 to provide a fresh, solutions-based and non-racial alternative to the millions of patriotic South Africans who want to work together to see South Africa succeed.

We wanted to provide a home to millions of South Africans who have lost trust in old political parties that have not delivered the change they promised.

Unlike the political establishment, ActionSA is not a party of promises, but a party of Action.

Because, it is only through taking action that we can fix our country.

Fellow South Africans,

The commitment of thousands of ActionSA activists and their love for South Africa saw us crisscrossing the country for the past three and a half years. Our mission was to hear the cries of our people, and develop a plan of action to address them.

In Mpumalanga, we stood with mothers who lost their children in the Lily Mine tragedy of February 2016, legally challenging the minister of mineral resources and energy to bring justice to those families.

Yet, more than eight years later, justice is still being denied to them by an uncaring government.

In the Eastern Cape, we stood in front of Kwazakhele High School in Gqeberha listening to how drugs, guns and crime have disrupted teaching at the school.

In the Cape Flats, I feared the impact of gangs and drugs, while surrounded by the dysfunctional service delivery and sewerage running in the streets.

And, in Durban, we heard how a careless and cruel government allowed the quality of beaches to disintegrate, chasing away tourists and destroying thousands of jobs.

As someone who has spent much time in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal, it breaks my heart that one of our country’s greatest natural assets has been left to decay under an uncaring government.

But, I do not wish to dwell on what is wrong with South Africa.

This evening, I want to offer you hope, and a vision for a positive future for South Africa. A South African Dream.

In each community ActionSA has visited, we have also seen the determination and resolve of the South African people.

In Frankfort in the Free State, we saw how a community-focused enterprise is working to exempt the town from load shedding through solar power.

In Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, community organisations and activists are working together to rid the community of gangsters and drug abuse.

In Kimberly, by working together, churches are delivering social relief to hundreds of people, who used to go to bed hungry.

And, in Tshwane, the people of Hammanskraal, and surrounding areas where I grew up, stood together against polluted water.

By September this year, thanks to the work of ActionSA, clean drinking water will finally start flowing through the taps of Hammanskraal again.

By working together, opposition parties took on Eskom and the South African government in court and guaranteed, for the first time, that police stations, hospitals and schools would be exempted from load shedding.

It is the actions of these patriotic South Africans which show the best of us, and show us what is possible when we work together for a greater good.

They showed us the spirit of ubuntu. At our best, South Africans are people who value community.

South Africans are good, hard-working people who have been let down by unethical, uncaring and unpatriotic leaders.

Leaders, who are more obsessed with the success of their own parties and their own pockets than with the interest of the South African people.

Fellow South Africans,

For the past three decades, we have been governed by the same people, just in different configurations.

Some parties have grown, some have come and gone, but at its core, the political establishment has failed to change anything.

Even the so-called opposition parties have failed to change the trajectory of our country.

Despite their efforts, the government pushed through the disastrous NHI.

Despite their so-called oversight, South Africa’s assets were carried away by the criminal Gupta family, and the Scorpions were disbanded to protect former president Jacob Zuma.

And, it was under their watch that PPE tender corruption took place, while our people died during Covid-19.

Now we have these same opposition parties actively talking about keeping the ruling party in power – the very same party who have brought South Africa to its knees.

Make no mistake: the old political parties have failed us and remain more focused on maintaining their declining support rather than fixing a broken system.

Against this backdrop, many new parties has come along, but have failed because they focussed too much on academic policies, newspaper headlines and empty slogans instead of building structures and providing real solutions.

These parties with unknown and discredited leaders with empty slogans will get us nowhere.

We cannot expect change if we continue to do the same thing and vote for the same people, or support those who simply want a seat in parliament without a track record to speak of.

My fellow South Africans,

ActionSA is different.

We are a party of the future, not the past.

We are born of the people but equally have stood the test of time.

What sets us apart is that for the past three years, we have focussed on building structures in all nine provinces, led by ethical leaders who are committed to the South African people.

Today we have over 250,000 members and branches in almost 60% of the country’s wards.

We are not a party of slogans and posters; we are a party of presence on the ground.

We are a party of government, delivering on our promises: passing motions to insource frontline workers in Ekurhuleni, improving the finances of the City of Tshwane, and fighting for local informal traders in the City of Joburg.

As an opposition party, we have proven our salt: taking the KwaZulu-Natal government to court over sewerage spills in Durban; exposing abuse in the Western Cape legislature; and questioning the Northwest Premier’s extended leave of absence.

We are a party of action!

This election is about making a choice between the failed political establishment, or a fresh but proven alternative that will put South Africans first.

Fellow South Africans,

As we approach the 29th of May, let us think about the future we want for ourselves and our children.

We need change. We need a credible alternative that has placed you, the people of South Africa, at the centre of its mission to fix our country.

This is exactly why we launched ActionSA, to provide a home for South Africans committed to building our country together, not in groups defined by our past.

A non-racial alternative, which is able to unite our country behind a common goal and a common flag.

A political alternative formed by people who are committed to our nation’s collective success, not just united against the failures of the past.

We are offering a national manifesto informed by expert opinion, studies and the real-life experiences of South Africans.

A pragmatic set of solutions to fundamentally change South Africa for the better from the first day we enter government. A manifesto endorsed by the media and political commentators as credible.

Our rule of law policy would make our communities safe by ensuring a life in prison means a life in prison by, among others, abolishing parole for serious crimes such as drug distribution, rape, murder and corrupt politicians and businessmen.

We will reintroduce specialised and independent criminal policing units, and specialised courts, to make sure that we put criminals behind bars.

Our education policy will introduce one department of education which will bring back school inspectors to ensure that quality teaching takes place; we will ensure that principals are appointed on merit – not Sadtu alliances; and we will reestablish nursing, teacher and police training colleges.

Our economic policy will achieve the South African dream of a non-racial and equal South Africa by igniting job creation through reclaiming abandoned buildings and factories, reforming labour legislation to make it easier for people to enter the job market, and fixing basic service delivery.

Our policy on Economic Justice will address our painful legacy while laying the foundation for a prosperous future, by introducing the Opportunity Fund, to empower previously disadvantaged South Africans.

We will establish a Universal Basic Income Grant in addition to social grants, and reverse apartheid spatial planning through township infrastructure investment, and safe, clean and subsidized public transport.

Fellow South African,

I’ll say it again, we are not a party of empty promises or slogans on posters. We are a part of action!

Change will not happen overnight, but it can start immediately.

This week, millions of South Africans will be taking action to achieve the South African dream of a better tomorrow.

This week, South Africans will go to the polls with a choice to support the failed politics of the past, or take a step towards a prosperous and inclusive future.

Change IS possible. It is possible to live in a safe country, where people have access to jobs, and we address our painful past.

It is possible to be led by ethical leaders that will unite South Africans under a common vision of a shared future.

But, for that to happen patriotic South Africans need to take action at the ballot box on Wednesday and vote for ActionSA.

This election, we are voting for the future South Africa we would like to have.

We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect different outcomes.

We need to be brave enough to try something different.

It’s clear that South Africa is not yet Uhuru, but we can achieve Uhuru if we take action at the ballot box this year.

Because only action will fix our country.

I thank you.