Opinionista Herman Mashaba 1 August 2016

One of the most important elections in South African history

On Wednesday the people of Johannesburg have one of the most important decisions to make since 1994. They will have the power to determine whether their city finally experiences the change that it so badly needs. The change which will stop corruption, create jobs, and deliver the services that every person in Johannesburg deserves.

Not since 1994 has this city stood on the brink of such monumental change. I remember standing in those long queues. I remember the promise of change filling every person around me with excitement, with hunger for long-awaited dreams.

I felt that hunger. I felt that yearning for change.

For the past 20 years I have felt that excitement dwindle and nearly die. In the past seven months I have visited every corner of our city and I have seen the desperation and destitution that so many people have been reduced to.

But in every corner of this city, I have also felt the overwhelming hunger for change – something I have not felt since that magic day on 27 April 1994.

Now it is time for that magic day to happen again. Now, more than ever, there is the opportunity for change. Now there is the opportunity to make Johannesburg work for all: because if Johannesburg works, South Africa works. And if South Africa works, then we can achieve the dream of 1994 – a free and fair South Africa where everyone is given the opportunity to realize their freedom and right to dignity and equality.

Johannesburg has stalled under the ANC, but under a DA government, we can move the city forward again. We can make it work.

I am motivated by every person who I have met in every corner of our city over the past 7 months. They have given me enormous faith in the fundamental South African belief that we can change our future, and that we will not give up until we achieve this. I have felt this determination to see change in their lifetime, and I have never hesitated to emphasize that the best way to bring about change it through their vote.

In 1994 I was determined that people would know the difference their votes could make in their lives and so I funded a national voter education campaign through my business, Black Like Me. Today, 22 years later, I am more determined than ever to ensure that people understand that their vote can and will change their lives.

A vote for the DA is a vote for a brighter future – for a government which puts people first, runs a clean and honest administration, and which follows through on its promises. The City of Cape Town is a shining beacon of service delivery and fulfilled promises which have uplifted the lives of millions. I want to see Johannesburg live up to this standard and exceed it. This can become the most well-run city in the country, but it will only achieve this through a vote for change.

A vote for change will bring my brand of job creation, dedication and honest government to Johannesburg, and I want to get this City working again.

The DA has a real chance of winning Johannesburg on August 3. We can win and bring change to this city, but only if every one of our supporters gets out on Election Day and votes. I call on all people in this city to remember that this Election Day is one of the most important dates in our democratic history.

Plenty of people have claimed that their vote will not make a difference, that they do not care about the outcome, and that the DA won’t win.

Well I am here to tell you that at no point in our democratic history has every vote counted so much, and that a single vote could change the outcome of this election. One vote could win a ward – giving you a DA Councillor who is committed to serving you. One vote could win us enough councillors to take the majority of seats in the Johannesburg Council – giving us the right to form a government.

In the last national election, the ANC came within 3% of losing their majority in Johannesburg. Your vote could push them below that figure. Your vote could achieve the Cape Town miracle of 2006: where the ANC dropped to 38% of the vote, allowing the DA with 42% to form the government and change the city’s future forever.

On August 3 I encourage every person to wield their democratic power and bring about this change in Johannesburg. This dream is within our grasp, and a vote for the DA will realize it.

This can be the city of golden opportunities. This can be the city that creates jobs, delivers better services and fights corruption. This can be the city which fulfils the dreams of millions of people.

On August 3, vote for change that moves Johannesburg forward. DM

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