The following speech was delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the DA’s “March for Change” in Johannesburg this morning:
My fellow South Africans,
Our country is in crisis, and many feel a deep sense of despair.
But today, looking out at all of you I am filled with hope.
Today is a defining moment in the history of our country.
The moment when South Africans stood together against a corrupt President and his government.
All around the country hundreds of thousands of people are gathering to make their voice heard.
Thousands of businesses are showing their support by shutting their doors for the day.
Workers and employers joining hands.
Political opponents united in a common goal.
Religious leaders from across the spectrum.
Rich, poor, black and white.
We have all had enough of Jacob Zuma and the corrupt ANC government he leads.
We have had enough of the Guptas and their stranglehold on our country and our economy.
We have had enough of our currency being manipulated.
We have had enough of job losses and deepening poverty.
So we are here today to show the world that enough is enough.
That our spirit will not be crushed.
That hope is alive in our country.
And we can rise again.
We are not a “junk” country. Jacob Zuma may have led us to this point, but we are embarking on a movement for change which seeks to create opportunities for all and build a prosperous, diverse nation.
This is a new struggle, a moment we can charter a better tomorrow.
Fellow South Africans, just when Jacob Zuma wants us divided, we are united.
The people of South Africa will never accept the destruction of our country. We will stand up and stop it, together.
Fellow South Africans, 23 years ago, we experienced another defining moment in our history.
In 1994, South Africans from all walks of life – religious, ideological, political, cultural – came together to build a new South Africa.
A united, democratic and non-racial future.
Make no mistake, when we came together, we had our differences. But in the spirit of ubuntu, in the best interests of our country and its future, we united around our shared goals.
It took maturity and it took vision. It took political leaders, business leaders, religious groupings, and civil society organisations who were prepared to rise above their differences.
And in that moment, we achieved something historic.
This consensus led to the adoption of our Constitution that protects everyone’s rights and limits power abuse.
This sacred document that remains our guiding light and moral compass in dark times.
My fellow South Africans, it took all of us.
23 years later, we face another defining moment.
What we choose to do will determine the future of our country for all our children.
Wherever I travel, people affirm that our nation has enormous potential. From the beautiful sands of the Karoo, the majestic wildlife, the efficient sectors of finance, business and labour, and ultimately the talent and ingenuity of our people.
They affirm the belief that our nation can be great, and that we as a people working together can achieve much
It is my great hope that today will give life to a new movement for change.
A movement to end this political monopoly that holds our country back.
A movement that transcends the barriers that divide us.
A movement that rekindles the spirit of 1994.
Fellow South Africans, history will judge us harshly if we miss this opportunity.
The time to act is now.
We cannot wait for the ANC to self-correct.
We need to forge a new path, and decide our own destiny.
We the people shall overcome.
Our country is calling on all of us to achieve this dream.
We will do it by uniting opposition parties around a set of shared values.
We will do it by joining hands with those in the ANC who still have a conscience.
We will do it with the help of business, churches, trade unions and civil society.
South Africa is not the property of one individual, one family or one party.
South Africa belongs to all of us, black and white.
This is our beautiful country. It is time that we took it back.
Let’s unite, let’s begin our work, and let’s usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for our beautiful country.
Our time is now!