DA’s Solly Msimanga pledges change to ‘rescue Gauteng’


Just a week before the polls, the DA’s Solly Msimanga has vowed to rescue “the betrayed” residents of Gauteng if they back him with their votes.

Msimanga claimed that throughout this election campaign, it has been nearly impossible to find a resident of the province who is “not frustrated about something and desperate for change”.

He was speaking at the party’s “Rea ba tsena” rally in Soweto, his final attempt to woo the electorate ahead of next week’s elections.

“There is a sense of betrayal among our elderly residents who may have been in the long queues to vote in the first democratic elections in 1994. Never could they have imagined that the so-called government of the people would transform into a villain of the worst kind, subjecting its citizens to severe cruelties.”

The party provincial leader said this was a general sense across all generations and people from all walks of life, young and old, employed and unemployed, businesspeople, civil society groups and academics.

“I made a point to connect with a range of voices because each voice matters.

“Even individuals who were not alive or were too young to understand the euphoria of that pivotal moment are outraged because, for many, the lived material experiences of their parents remain as they were before 1994, prompting others to suggest that life under the ANC government has deteriorated to the point where success is virtually impossible.”

Msimanga said despite Moses delivering his people to “the promised land”, he died without setting foot in it. He used this biblical reference to paint the stark contrast he believes is embodied by ANC rule in the province.

“This current government has, however, through tender corruption and BEE, reached the promised land for themselves, while our mothers, fathers, daughters and sons die having never seen nor set foot in it. No wonder some people say outrageous things such as life being better under Bantustans.

“When you give people hope then string them along for years before dashing their hopes, they will prefer to never have hoped at all.”

Frustration

The premier hopeful said even employed individuals shared this frustration, particularly in the public sector, over a lack of resources and poor working conditions.

“Our police officers shared their struggle to properly perform their duties because of a shortage of vehicles and telephones in some of our police stations. Understaffing is affecting our nurses’ morale, putting unbearable strain on the people who are the backbone of a decent health system.

“Why are we surprised when they look for greener pastures overseas? Outside South Africa our medical workers are revered while they are treated with contempt by the national and Gauteng governments.”

Msimanga said his campaign trail revealed that even teachers criticised the education system, deeming it unconducive for learning.

“Our teachers spoke about bearing the burden of providing quality education in overcrowded classrooms while contending with the ongoing use of asbestos structures, which pose health risks to them and the learners. Meanwhile, parents in the province are increasingly hesitant to send their children to state schools due to a sharp rise in tragic incidents and learner deaths in these settings, indicating a lack of safety.”

The DA leader said he was deeply moved by stories gathered through his encounters with unemployed residents and youth.

“The latest quarterly labour force survey (QLFS) reveals that unemployment in Gauteng has risen from 2,565,000 to 2,628,000 in the first quarter of 2024. The survey shows that the province has 534,000 discouraged job seekers.

“This highlights the government’s failure to create a conducive environment for the private sector to invest in the Gauteng economy. Without private partnerships, the question arises: where will the jobs come from? What is the plan?”

Ratepayers

Msimanga spoke about the dissatisfaction experienced by ratepayers in the province’s municipalities, saying residents were fed up with poor service delivery caused by corruption and cadre deployment.

“These residents lack clean drinking water and electricity; their roads are strewn with potholes; and their streets are flooded with sewage; all while millions of rand are wasted on overtime and labour conflicts in cash-strapped municipalities like Emfuleni.”

On the business front, he said entrepreneurs in the province are frustrated by the red tape associated with doing business in the province and with the government.

“These job creators have told me that red tape, in the form of ambivalent and sometimes deliberately obstructive bureaucracy, solicitation of bribes, insufficient state administrative capacity, and inadequate infrastructure, is stifling both formal and informal businesses.

“Other businesspeople are deeply concerned about load-shedding, which has disrupted production, financial transactions and information flows, leading to decreased income and business closures. The impact of load-shedding has resulted in the loss of almost 300,000 employment prospects in 2022 and a loss of 103-million in potential GDP.”

However bleak the picture, Msimanga vowed all is not lost, and that these challenges can be overcome through a DA-led government.

“A DA government can also create a viable economy that creates jobs and allows businesses to thrive by strengthening partnerships between the provincial government and the private sector. By devolving more police powers to local communities, the DA can build a province that is capable of combating crime.”

Msimanga promised to provide quality education in conducive environments by constructing, upgrading and maintaining new and existing infrastructure in all the province’s state schools and places of learning.

He vowed to eradicate cadre deployment and ensure that only skilled officials are appointed.

“We can eradicate corruption, uphold integrity and honour the dedicated civil servants who want to serve the people of our province. We can end the endless blackouts by generating additional power through partnerships with independent power producers and promoting renewable energy sources.”

TimeLIVE





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