This is an edited extract of Mmusi Maimane’s speech at the DA ‘March for Change’

The fight for change has only just begun. 

Two weeks ago, the Constitutional Court – the highest court in our land – found President Jacob Zuma had failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution as the supreme law of the land by disregarding the public prosecutor’s report. According to our constitution, this was grounds for impeachment, as per section 89(1)(a). 

In any other country – just as we have recently seen in Brazil – a president who violated its supreme law would certainly no longer hold the highest office in the land. But the ANC will protect its own, no matter the cost to the people. The impeachment process – and the manner in which it was blocked by the ANC – made this all too clear. 

When the head of the judiciary, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, destroyed any doubt of the theft and deceit and Zuma still swore to acting in good faith, the Nkandla matter became about more than just politics. If Jacob Zuma thinks he has cleaned his hands of Nkandla he is sorely mistaken. 

Jacob Zuma, your price and your disregard for your office are not just a political blunder. They are an insult to those who paid the ultimate price for the very democracy and constitution you trample on every day you remain in office, despite the calls of the people. 

I want to use this opportunity to make one thing abundantly clear: President Zuma will be held accountable and pay the price for years of corruption, lies and state capture. 

The DA will not stop pursuing every avenue possible for change until Zuma and every other ANC and government official is held to account. 

Last week, I called for the establishment of a multi-party committee in Parliament to investigate whether Jacob Zuma misled Parliament in relation to the upgrades as his Nkandla homestead. 

Today, we have submitted a letter to the president enquiring as to why, after 14 days, we still have seen no action on the Constitutional Court’s orders. I have also written to the speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, inquiring about the same. I further requested the reprimands of ministers ordered by the decision be published in the ATC (announcements, tablings and committee) reports for the information of members. 

We will be introducing a private member’s bill to amend the Public Protector Act in order to reflect in law the Constitutional Court’s finding that the public protector’s recommendations are binding. This will ensure that a president can never again attempt what Zuma so shamelessly did. 

We will also closely follow the national Treasury enforcement of the Constitutional Court’s order on how much Zuma must pay back and submit proposals to the rules committee investigating why Parliament’s role has broken down and how to fix it. 

Outside Parliament, we will continue to pursue criminal charges laid against Zuma and to investigate other role-players in this cover up. 

Nkandla represents the worst in rampant corruption, but also a trend. Everywhere in South Africa, corruption is robbing the poorest of the poor of quality services and of the opportunity to get jobs. South Africa deserves a government that fears voters instead of lying to them. The government should deliver results, not excuses. 

Make no mistake: the most important fight for change is through the vote. The people deserve a better government and the DA will fight to ensure that, on August 3, they get it. 

Because, in fighting for change, we must consider what kind of change we need. Only the DA can truly promise change: change that cuts corruption and creates jobs. And we have the track record to attest to that. 

The DA works for the people, not the party and you can see the results. Nine out of the 10 best run municipalities are DA run. The 10 worst? ANC-run. In the DA-run Western Cape we have the least corruption, the lowest unemployment and the best service delivery. But it’s not just the Western Cape. DA-run Midvaal has the lowest unemployment of anywhere in Gauteng. We bring this difference everywhere we govern because it is part of who we are, from the ground up. 

The DA is the most diverse party in South Africa. Twenty years ago, the hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) officially began. The TRC was a critical process of transition for our country and as the DA we honour this process and press on to continue the dialogue that began two decades ago. For true justice to prevail, we must speak to each other, not at each other. 

For the DA, these are not pipe dreams, they are change we commit to everyday. This is the change South Africa needs. Zuma and the ANC lost sight of this long ago; Chief Justice Mogoeng only confirmed this. We can do better; we can vote for change. 

Zuma will not change. The ANC will not change. But South Africans can change the government they have by voting for the better South Africa we all dream of. 

On April 23 we will launch a manifesto for change. A manifesto which will ensure small businesses in Soweto no longer struggle; it’s a manifesto which will cut crime in Manenberg; a manifesto which will ensure the mothers of Queenstown are able to put food on the table. 

If you believe in the supremacy of the constitution and if you believe in effective change, where to place your “X” at the ballot box on August 3 is clear. 


Weekend Argus