Members of the media,
And most importantly, my fellow delegates
Today is an historic day for ActionSA on our journey to fix South Africa.
When we launched ActionSA on 29 August 2020 to fix this country – during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many dismissed us.
We were told that we’d struggle to build support and barely attain seats in city councils. We were told that we’d struggle to build structures and that we’d barely survive a year.
We were told that we lacked depth of leadership and would never be in government.
But in 2021, we proved them wrong. In many’s eyes, we did the impossible.
We emerged as the sixth-largest political party nationally despite only contesting in six out of 278 municipalities.
And in every municipality we contested, we dramatically reduced support for the ruling party.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This inaugural policy conference – roughly three years since we were launched – is another milestone marking our continued growth.
We came together, from all corners of this country, to provide solutions to fix South Africa.
We did not provide pie-and-the-sky answers to the country’s problems but embraced practical solutions that – if implemented – will radically change South Africa.
Solutions that will help us achieve our South African dream of a more prosperous future.
Our focus was not on the problems we face, but on the opportunities ahead. Because the South African dream – a vision for a better more abundant prosperous South Africa – is possible.
And we did so in true ActionSA spirit. Our delegates were on time, friendly and kind. Not a single chair was thrown.
We debated rigorously, without attacking each other personally. Where we lost debates, we accepted the outcome. Where we won arguments, we didn’t hold it over each other.
We remained humble, and we remained self-reflective. Delegates, you were truly exceptional.
And we also changed our minds. When engaged with counterarguments, we evaluated every idea and decided on which one was best.
Our sessions were fully open for the media to attend. Nothing was hidden, because we are not ashamed of anything. We have nothing to hide.
We set an example of transparency for other political parties to follow.And collectively we decided on the best course of action, providing policies that will meaningfully improve the lives of our people.
Today, the outcome of this policy conference represents a comprehensive agenda to fix South Africa that this country has seen. These policies will undo the harmful legacy of the ruling party.
Our policy conference delegates approved that when ActionSA takes the government in 2024, on day one we will reduce the size of the cabinet to approximately 20 people.
There will be no more space for freeloaders who enjoy cabinet perks. There will be no deputy ministers, and their salaries will instead go towards service delivery.
Every senior government manager on every level of government will undergo skills audits to ensure that they are fit for the job. Those people in positions to steal from the state will be removed.
Senior officer bearers, senior officials and those engaged in the supply chain will face regular lifestyle audits which will happen soon after we take office – unlike what we have seen with the current administration.
We are unashamedly in our support for the empowerment of black South Africans, and we will be unashamed in our pursuit to achieve it.
BUT, this week this conference approved that when we take office, we will repeal the BBBEE act of 2003 and replace it with a comprehensive package of interventions under our own policy called Inclusive Economic Empowerment.
When implemented, Inclusive Economic Empowerment will see the launch of a massive opportunity fund which will fundamentally reduce inequality in South Africa.
It will provide millions of funding for entrepreneurs so that South Africa’s youth can launch the next Black Like Me. We will help fund tertiary education, and ignite massive public construction to help make life for the most marginalised easier.
And we will introduce a competitive and decentralised energy market, allowing the private sector to fill in the current gap in electricity generation. We will eradicate corruption at Eskom, allowing us to bring rolling blackouts in South Africa to an end.
When we take government, our policy conference approved that we will restore the rule of law in South Africa so we can grow the economy and create jobs. Life sentence will mean life sentence. Prisoners will provide productive labour that benefits society, and violent criminals – including rapists – will be denied bail.
We will stop prosecuting the victims of drug abuse, ensuring that drug dealers are arrested and families receive the support they need to deal with this disease.
Our people will finally be able to walk freely in our streets.
After years of illegal immigration, we will secure our borders. Everyone who is in South Africa will have paperwork to be in South Africa.
And if people want to come to the country, they will have to obey our laws. There will be no excuses.
ActionSA delegates approved that South Africa will use our foreign policy to benefit the needs of our people. Zanu-PF officials who ruined Zimbabwe will not be allowed to even have bank accounts in South Africa.We will reform education – ensuring that our basic education system develops school leavers who have the skills to pursue prosperity.
Our delegates approved that we work towards ensuring that every single South African has the opportunity to access higher education. ActionSA believes that education is the key to helping people out of poverty.
ActionSA will introduce a voluntary year of service for young people without a path to education or an immediate job offer, helping them to gain additional skills to enter the job market and address our disastrously high youth unemployment.
We will work towards ensuring that every single employee in South Africa receives the dignity they deserve. At every level of government, we will push for the insourcing of all core service staff and permanent workers, subject to a financial and feasibility assessment.
When we do these things, millions and millions of jobs will created, inequality will be reduced and lives will be improved.
South Africans will see Action in every sphere of their lives.
This will all be possible when we take government next year. After three days of discussions, these solutions will transform South Africa into a prosperous future.
Our policies will achieve our South African dream. Action is possible.
But the real work starts today. When we leave here today, every single one of us – every single activist in this room and at home – has the duty to take these solutions to their homes and their communities.
As Professor William Gumede told us yesterday, we will have to be at every community event and disaster – actively showing voters what can be achieved when ActionSA takes government.
We should not wait to only bring action when we are in government next year, but bring action in our communities TODAY.
If we do this, we will be able to mobilise a movement across South Africa, compelling millions of unregistered and disenfranchised voters to vote for ActionSA in 2024.
Every South African will know that their vote can help bring about the South African Dream.
That their vote will remove the ruling party, and bring prosperity to all our people.
Next year ActionSA will shock many again. When we emerge victorious, many will say we achieved the impossible.
We would’ve fundamentally changed South Africa for the better.
With your help, we would’ve started to fix South Africa.
Cause we CAN and we WILL fix this country.
This is only the beginning of South Africa’s great story.
Because we will fix South Africa.
I thank you.