DESPITE the cold, it was a full house at the St Paul’s church hall last Wednesday evening where MP Andrew Whitfield addressed DA supporters and told them how important it was that they cast their vote at the upcoming municipal elections.
He asserted that, in times of uncertainty it is the poorest of the poor who are worst affected.
“Change is a difficult thing for people to accept. People are nervous and suspicious of change,” he said.
Whitfield spoke of his own early aspirations as a youth who wanted to change the world.
“I was idealistic and only when I entered politics did I realise that compromise was necessary. In the 23 years of the new [post-apartheid] dispensation we have seen considerable change. Then, in 2009 we got Zuma and, in 2013 parliament descended into chaos,” Whitfield said.
“Before 1994 we had a repressive regime in this country. Before those elections there was a lot of uncertainty about change. Was there going to be a civil war? There was doubt. But, by and large, protests were generally non-violent.
“We see the same protests happening today, albeit more violently. There is a lot of uncertainty. I know that change is difficult, but it is absolutely essential. No one deserves another five years of Jacob Zuma.”
For this statement Whitfield received applause from the audience which comprised members of all race groups.
Relating a story from former DA party leader Helen Zille, Whitfield spoke of an incident in 2006 where the DA were just one vote short of a majority in the Cape Town Metro. He said that Zille went to see a member of the PAC (Pan Africanist Congress) and, although the member was not allowed to vote for the DA, she convinced him to abstain from the vote.
“The ANC just assumed the PAC would vote in their favour. They were complacent and, as a result, the DA won the Metro and, in the next elections, the entire Western Cape Province,” he said. “One vote does count!”
Returning to the subject of change, Whitfield said, “We need change if we are to get rid of Jacob Zuma. We need people to understand that their vote could be the difference between change and remaining with the current government.
“How convenient for Zuma that the global economy went into recession when he took office. But how inconvenient for him that most African countries are now growing in excess of 5%.
“We deserve a responsible government, focussed on improving service delivery. We need to resolve ‘bread and butter’ issues such as street lights, potholes, road signs and traffic lights. We need to redress the legacy of apartheid, which is still with us for many of the poorest of people. We need to increase safety for all our citizens and give everyone access to quality education.”