What would Biko say about South Africa in 2012? – Lindiwe Mazibuko

DA PL says the ANC selectively remembers leaders, while failing to produce them

Lindiwe Mazibuko

SA reveals itself not only by the leaders it remembers, but also by the leaders it produces

Note editors: This is an extract of a speech that will be delivered today (September 15) by DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, at the DA 2012 Free State Provincial Congress.

Colleagues, friends, and fellow democrats:

It is wonderful to be here with you today, and to see a blue army prepared for battle. The battle is for the leadership of South Africa.

Julle is die dapper stryders wat 30% van die stem in 2014 gaan werf, en vanuit die loopgrawe gaan oprys om in 2019 ‘n DA-regering deur die stembus tot stand te bring.

You are the brave soldiers that will win 30% of the vote in 2014, and take us over the trenches to form a DA-led government at the ballot box in 2019.

Rona re phutiheha ka mo Mangaung ka nako a tshabehang historeng ya Sechaba sa rona. Batho ha ba thaba ka lebaka kemong ya thuto le diketso tsa moruo ya tsa ekonomi. Mehleng e na re bona ho sa lekaneng ha seemo sa batho se a hlamola. Ka bohareng ha mmuso wa naha ya ANC e bodileng haholoholo!

We gather in Manguang at a fearful moment in our nation’s history. People are fearful about the crisis in education, the poor performance of the economy, the ever widening inequality, and the rot at the heart of government.

The ANC’s ‘leadership contest’ is somewhat misnamed in a leaderless country. It is rather a seedy race to grab the levers of power and patronage. People watch the unfolding drama in the never-ending ANC’s leadership crisis with disbelief. This circus will grind to a halt here in Manguang in December.

The ANC, it seems, is protected from the heart-stopping fear that is eating away the country’s confidence day by day. It is more concerned with polishing its historical credentials. Its leaders stopped thinking about tomorrow a long time ago.

Terwyl die ANC miljoene rande hier spandeer om geboue en besienswaardighede wat vir hulle betekenisvol is, op te gradeer, skend hulle juis daardie waardes wat hierdie plekke bedoel is om te verteenwoordig.

While they spend millions of taxpayers’ money on upgrading buildings and sights which are special to the ANC in this city, they violate the very values which these sites were built to represent.

I often despair at how Mr Zuma’s presidency is regularly framed. I hear some people say that it could have been even worse. But what about the cost of Mr Zuma’s presidency: the misuse of state resources, the opportunities for trade and investment forfeited, and the human talents wasted?

This week we remembered Steve Biko. The three-and-a-half decades since his murder in cold blood have not dimmed his memory. His legacy marches on, inspiring us, and guiding us. The tributes to Biko this week revealed an important truth: A nation reveals itself not only by the leaders it remembers, but also by the leaders it produces.
Biko paid the ultimate price for his vision of a non-racial society.

Our party leader, Helen Zille, courageously uncovered how he died in the Rand Daily Mail.

Biko’s articulation of Black Consciousness was based upon the inalienable belief that we are all human. Whites, he said, must realize that they only human, not superior. Equally, in his book, ‘I write what I like’, he said black people want to do things for themselves, and by themselves.

This will forever serve as one of the finest definitions of human dignity and life-affording happiness. Biko understood, as the ANC’s founders 100 years ago in Manguang did, that the human mind is the ultimate seat of freedom or the foulest prison.

Biko did not live to see his vision of a non-racial democracy come to pass. If he had, what would he say about South Africa in 2012? He would have been dismayed how the sacrifice and hope of those who struggled for freedom has been trodden underfoot by the ANC.

Biko, most of all, would have rallied against our collective failure to do enough for those who remain imprisoned in the circumstances of their birth. His message would be, as it was in 1977, that we cannot secure our country’s future by just talking without acting.

This is the hypocrisy of the ANC today: it remembers Biko in word, while not producing a quality of leadership which honours his legacy. It selectively remembers leaders, while failing to produce them.

Waar ons land, ons regering en ons party nou tot ‘n vergelyk moet kom met die tragedie van Marikana, staar die afstootlike gedaante van Julius Malema ons in die gesig, waar hy probeer om mynwerkers op te sweep om te staak, en soldate vir politieke gewin probeer uitbuit.

As our country, our government, and our party comes to terms with the tragedy of Marikana, we are faced with the revolting spectre of Julius Malema inciting miners to strike and trying to exploit soldiers for political gain.

President Zuma has been described by some commentators as the “accidental” president. But be in no doubt, the deployment of Malema at Polokwane five-years-ago was no accident.

When the President’s allies allowed Malema to roam the country stirring up division and chaos, they unleashed a Frankenstein monster. Their problem is that the Frankenstein monster now wants to devour them. A party will always be judged by the leaders it produces.

We have to spell out another hard truth about leadership. We have to decide what kind of country South Africa will be over the next decade. The DA recently unveiled it Growth and Jobs Plan which would put South Africa on a path to prosperity in our generation.

Rona re tla tlosa bofutsana hang feela ha re tlosa dilekaneng ha seemo sa batho. Ha re batla Sechaba sa rona e be samenyetla e lekaneng le boikarabelo bo lekaneng. Re hloka mokgatlo wa DA ho busa le ho sebedisa merero ya ona ya Economic Plan for Growth and Jobs. 

We can only close the poverty gap by reducing the inequality gap. If we want to be a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities, we need the right party to govern and implement this Plan.

The DA is not only concerned with winning the battle for votes, as important as it is. It cannot be an end in itself. We want to win the battle of values; non-racialism, diversity and difference, and a strong society where everyone is an “insider”.

We must push forward the boundaries of our party, and take the message to every community in the Free State that the DA is a home for all South Africans whoever they are, and wherever they come from.

The difference between the two parties could not be clearer. The ANC is a house divided. ‘A house divided cannot stand’. Our party is known for its democratic character and leadership.

In this way, we are the exact opposite of the ANC. We iron out our differences about ideas and policies. Sometimes the debate is heated, and this how it should be. But our differences do not revolve around personalities.

Leierskap in die DA is besonder mededingend. Dit is omdat ons glo dat leierskap die edelste vorm van openbare diens is. Ons interne demokratiese prosesse is deursigtig en word op meriete bestuur.

Leadership in the DA is highly competitive. Because we believe the opportunity to lead is the noblest form of public service. Our internal democratic processes are as transparent as they are merit driven.

This means that when we choose our leaders, we unite around them and give them the support they need. Sometimes this is tough, and requires discipline. But let us never forget why we do what we do.

We want to win here because we know how difficult government is. We want to win because the people of the Free State deserve much better. We want the people of this province to enjoy the rising living standards, better education and health, and opportunities that the people of the Western Cape have enjoyed since 2009.

Where the DA serves, we aim to build strong communities, standing up for the weak, the sick, and the helpless.

The mark of the strong society is not the contentment of the wealthy and strong, but the commitment to the poor and weak.

This party prospers because it never forgets an important truth.

This winning nation is great and strong. The real face of South Africa is found in the large majority of decent people who do their bit every day, and lend a hand to others.

DA e na le tsepiso ho batho ba Foreistata ba utlwang bohloko tlasa mmuso wa ANC.

The DA has a promise to keep to the people of this province who have suffered ANC misrule for too long.

The promise is to complete the work of freedom. The DA is a party for all South Africans. We have great strides to make before our work is done. The only way to redress the wrongs of the past – and the present – is to give the DA a chance to serve. We cannot do it without the contribution of each and every one of you gathered here today.

Saam kan ons wen. DA ho a hela Sechaba kaofela ditshono tse di Bulehileng. 

Together we can. Together we must. Together we will.

I thank you.

Ke a leboha.

Issued by the DA, September 16 2012

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