‘Citizens who voted 29 years ago have lost hope,’ says Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
The Democratic Alliance held its Freedom Day event in Nyanga where it called for citizens to unite and free themselves from ANC corruption in 2024 for a secure future.
Twenty-nine years ago, millions of South African voters, full of hope for the future, stood for hours in queues often stretching over a kilometre to vote, many for the first time, for a government of their choice.
That 1994 vote brought democracy to the country. A rainbow nation was born, and hope for a new and better South Africa was realised. But 29 years later, the country has the world’s highest unemployment rate, the world’s largest inequality gap and its citizens are at the mercy of criminals.
At its Freedom Day celebration in Nyanga, Cape Town, on Thursday, the DA, the official opposition, placed the blame for the country’s shortcomings squarely at the feet of the governing ANC.
DA member and Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the ANC’s rule had systematically taken away people’s freedom.
“Today we celebrate freedom, but unfortunately, many people in our country are unable to celebrate freedom with us today,” said Winde.
“If you think about the crisis that our citizens face on a daily basis, their freedom has been taken away. The citizens that voted 29 years ago have lost hope. The energy crisis, crime, corruption and the high unemployment rate have taken the hope of many citizens.”
Winde claimed that only in the Western Cape and Cape Town where the DA governs, do people have hope for the future.
Using the platform to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential visit to South Africa to attend a BRICS summit in August, Winde said Western Cape government-funded Law Enforcement Advancement Plan officers would arrest him if came to the Western Cape.
“Once we get the indication that he is coming, we will make sure that we have people at the airport and also engage the International Criminal Court and Interpol if our police service is not going to do what they are duty-bound to do.”
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However, residents who attended the event were more concerned with local issues.
Noluthando Jack, a Nyanga resident, said Freedom Day was slowly losing its meaning as people were living in poverty. “Every morning, we wonder what else could go wrong in this country,” she said.
“It is difficult to encourage young people to prioritise education because graduates are unemployed while criminals are living lavish lifestyles. This is not the freedom our parents fought for and I always wonder, what freedom do we really have?”
Melusi Piyose said South Africans had a choice to either accept that the country would remain as it was or, like the generation that voted in 1994, fight for a better future.
“We must never lose the meaning of our freedom,” he said. “This democracy was fought for with lives. We now have a choice to vote for any government of our choice. Do we think the current government is doing a good job? No. Next year we can be like the people that voted in 1994 and restore hope or concede defeat.”
Piyose said communities had to ensure that people were registered to vote in next year’s general elections.
The interim DA Youth leader, Nicholas Nyati, said there was nothing to celebrate on Freedom Day.
“We have political freedom but no economic freedom. No access to opportunities. We do not even have freedom of movement because our streets are unsafe. It is the good governance of the DA that attracts people from other provinces to come and seek opportunities in the Western Cape because they understand that under a DA government, they can get jobs,” Nyati said. DM