LIVE BLOG: Democratic Alliance launches 2021 election manifesto

The DA is one of the first major parties to launch its manifesto in preparation for the local government elections in November.

"We don’t believe in jobs for pals. We don’t believe in making government bigger and bigger until every single crony has a job but nothing ever gets done." - John Steenhuisen

"The DA is not a party of insiders and outsiders.  It doesn’t reward its inner circle and their families with powerful positions and comfortable jobs at the expense of service delivery and the rule of law." - John Steenhuisen

"The ANC’s implosion and the dawning realisation among South Africans that they are beyond salvaging has thrown this election wide open. Our country now stands before an historic crossroads." - John Steenhuisen

"Our manifesto ends with a section on good, clean, transparent governance and here we reaffirm our commitment to stamp out corruption, eliminate wasteful expenditure, pay all suppliers within 30 days, bill all residents correctly, and appoint officials fairly." - John Steenhuisen

"We also recognise the enormous contribution of informal traders to local economies and we will support this crucial sector through convenient trading sites, affordable permits and by supplying the infrastructure they need to trade." - John Steenhuisen

"We will do everything in our power to make it easier to do business in a DA-run town or city, whether this is quicker construction permits, quicker property registration or quicker electricity connection." - John Steenhuisen

"The next section in the manifesto deals with crime and safety, and although policing is a function of national government, DA governments have been working extremely hard to protect residents from the scourge of crime, and particularly gangs and drugs." - John Steenhuisen

"In the section on electricity provision, you will learn of the DA’s mission to make six pilot municipalities in the Western Cape loadshedding-proof in what they call the Energy Resilience Project. " - John Steenhuisen

"You will also read here of the DA’s efforts to provide residents with a clean and hygienic environment to live in through regular waste collection, managing landfills, controlling polluting emissions and supporting waste pickers in recycling." - John Steenhuisen

"Having successfully fought off Day Zero in Cape Town, DA governments are using learnings from that episode to mitigate the drought in NMB through measures such as faster leak repairs, flow restrictors, sinking boreholes and running public awareness." - John Steenhuisen

"It starts with arguably the most important function of a local government - the provision of dependable basic services to all. And this is where the DA has put miles of clear blue water between us and ANC local governments." - John Steenhuisen

"When you apply these principles to local government, along with a clear, long-term vision for a town or city, you get what we call the DA difference. And on the pages of this manifesto you will find this applied to every aspect of local government." - John Steenhuisen

"Government cannot create jobs - not on the scale we need. But, if approached right, government can be an enabler of potential.
It can put in place the systems, the support and the legislation that make it possible for businesses to flourish." - John Steenhuisen

"And it doesn’t matter which independent criteria you use - whether we’re talking clean audits in the Auditor-General’s report, whether we’re talking municipal rankings by Ratings Afrika...

...whether we’re talking the results of the Citizen Satisfaction Index, or whether we’re talking the unemployment numbers put out by Stats SA, DA governments consistently come out on top." - John Steenhuisen

"This contrast is so unmistakable that in some places you can literally see the DA difference in the road under your feet as you cross the boundary." - John Steenhuisen

"And here I’m talking about municipalities run by the DA. Whether it’s a town like Stellenbosch or Mossel Bay, whether it’s Kouga in Eastern Cape or Midvaal in Gauteng, the contrast between these municipalities and those run by the ANC is staggering." - John Steenhuisen

"But, fellow South Africans, ours is also a country where small islands of excellence still exist in this sea of local government failure and neglect." - John Steenhuisen

"We all know the story of the Clover factory in Lichtenburg that made news headlines, but that same scenario is playing out in dozens of other towns, where the failure of local government to do the very basics of their job has hounded businesses." - John Steenhuisen

"Ours is a country where the biggest employers in town have to beg their local governments, for years and years, to improve the provision of clean water or to maintain the road infrastructure so that the business can remain viable." - John Steenhuisen

"Ours is a country where hundreds of municipalities can no longer collect payment from residents for services like electricity and water, and end up owing these utilities billions of rands, and are constantly on the verge of disconnection." - John Steenhuisen

"And as more and more of these functions are taken off their hands, these local governments are only too happy to step back and do nothing." - John Steenhuise

"Ours is a country where, bit by bit, ordinary citizens, businesses and civic organisations have had to start taking over the responsibilities of their failed local governments." - John Steenhuisen

"Ours is a country where the collapse of local government is so widespread that it is no longer even feasible to place these non-functioning municipalities under administration as there are simply too many of them." - John Steenhuisen

"We want it to be easily understood and applied to whatever the situation in your town or city may be.
We want you to visualise the potential of your town once we’ve evicted the ANC government, replaced it with a DA government and applied this blueprint." - John Steenhuisen

"We want it to be easily understood and applied to whatever the situation in your town or city may be.
We want you to visualise the potential of your town once we’ve evicted the ANC government, replaced it with a DA government and applied this blueprint." - John Steenhuisen

"I want to urge every voter who is concerned about the precarious state of their town, or who might be scared for the future of their family, or who doesn’t know whether their business can survive another 5 years of the status quo, to read this #DAmanifesto." - John Steenhuisen

"We’ve been on the road for months already speaking to people about the importance of these elections, but today we are able to hold up a document that sets out exactly what we think matters, and then explains how the DA will make this a reality." - John Steenhuisen

Our manifesto is a blueprint for a local government that works. - John Steenhuisen 

DA leader John Steenhuisen has taken to the podium.

"Johannesburg is broken, but it can be fixed again.  At this moment, we cannot with a straight face pretend that Joburg is a world-class city when electrical substations with illegal connections in Soweto break down due to the unsustainable demand." - Mpho Phalatse

"The crossroads we now find ourselves in cannot be more definitive and consequential. The ANC is not capable of governing anymore.  It is time for them to step aside and allow new leadership that serves the interests of residents and no one else." - Mpho Phalatse

"In me, Joburg residents will have an activist Mayor - an advocate for their rights.  Even after the DA-led coalition was removed in 2019, I stayed in the Joburg Council and continued to fight for residents to have the basic services they deserve." - Mpho Phalatse

"Before entering politics, I worked as a medical doctor in hospitals and other medical facilities across SA, most notably the Alex Clinic that eventually drove me to enter politics and continue the good fight in improving the living conditions." - Mpho Phalatse

"Running to be the next Mayor of a mega-city like Johannesburg is a task that can never be taken lightly. It requires endurance, dedication, and passion.  I spent 15 years of my life working in the public sector, including 5 years as a councillor." - Mpho Phalatse

"The challenges were enormous, but the DA understands what needs to be done to create secure and prosperous towns. 
We started by cultivating a culture of openness and responsiveness, communicating with our residents every step of the way." - Marlene van Staden

"Corruption and maladministration were an everyday occurrence, and accountability, responsiveness and openness were no more than words." - Marlene van Staden

"The crucial task of maintaining and expanding service delivery infrastructure had simply been ignored, and water outages, sewerage spills, and broken streetlights had become a fact of life." - Marlene van Staden

"In 2016 the towns in Modimolle-Mookgophong faced the same worsening circumstances that plague most ANC-run municipalities across the country." -  Marlene van Staden

Tshwane mayoral candidate Randall Williams: Tshwane is the only municipality in Gauteng governed by the DA.

"By doing more than ever before, we will secure Cape Town’s future against the decline of the national government.  We will end load shedding.  We will fight for control of Cape Town’s railways." - Geordin Hill-Lewis

"Amidst all the uncertainty so many of us feel about the future, the DA sees the opportunity of a lifetime to turn Cape Town into the great world city it deserves to be. - Geordin Hill-Lewis

"We all know that Cape Town is already the best-run city in SA.  But we also know that the effects of the Covid pandemic, combined with the accelerating decline of the national government, means that we must now do even more than ever before. - Geordin Hill-Lewis

"The long winter of Covid-19 has brought cold and darkness into so many of our homes, as people lost loved ones and livelihoods. But I am standing before you today because I know that spring is on its way back to Cape Town. - Geordin Hill-Lewis

"To show that we were serious about being a responsive government, we started a call center to allow the public to report service queries and with a proud record of over 90% issues resolved within 24 hours, we have restored hope." - Horatio Hendricks

"We replaced cadre deployment by appointing the best, the kind of people we knew would be able to get things done. To boost service delivery we turned our fleet around from 4% operational in 2016 to over 90% operational in less than 2 years." - Horatio Hendricks

"But we knew that good governance was a pre-condition for service excellence. And in order to entrench a system of good governance, we disposed of incompetence, maladministration and corruption first." - Horatio Hendricks

"When we started governing Kouga in 2016, the words of Barack Obama ring true when he said “we did not come here to fear the future, we came here to shape it”
Our vision was “good governance for service excellence”." - Horatio Hendricks

"Fellow South Africans, I want to tell you why your vote matters and about the power you wield, as voters. Since the advent of democracy, our country has deteriorated." - Refiloe Tt'sekhe

"I have walked a path in my political journey, from humble beginnings, fighting for people, for communities - and the lessons I have learned I am ready to implement." - Refiloe Nt'sekhe

DA mayoral candidate Refiloe Nt'sekhe: Our country has seen an increase in state capture, felt hardest at a local government level. Municipalities have succumbed to those in green, black and gold.  

DA mayoral candidate Refiloe Nt'sekhe: I see the potential of Ekurhuleni and my belief keeps me inspired.

"We will do our best to make coalitions work where they are viable, but you owe it to yourselves and to your family to experience at least once in your lifetime what only a DA majority can deliver." - Gwen Ngwenya

"Meaning that we have had an opportunity to get things done without having to compromise on clean governance, on getting the basics right, and on providing support to the poorest households." - Gwen Ngwenya

"Sometimes when people go to Cape Town they say it feels like another country. That is not surprising, the  DA has governed municipalities in the Western Cape longer than anywhere else and most with a majority." - Gwen Ngwenya

"Most of the areas which affect our day to day lives are administered by local government.  Local government is ground zero for turning SA around - if we want to see a more prosperous SA it must begin with the government closest to every citizen." - Gwen Ngwenya

"The truth is as a young South African, without significant change, I do not see a thriving country in my lifetime. But every election is an opportunity to reset the course for our future." - Gwen Ngwenya

"Our country is undergoing a process of accelerating decay. It would be understated to say South Africa is at a crossroads because we are long past that. We stood at a crossroads perhaps ten or more years ago. Today we are inarguably a failing state." - Gwen Ngwenya

Ngwenya: [Our manifesto] is an aspirational document and testimony in how the DA gets things done.

Ngwenya:  You owe it to your family to experience what a DA government can offer.

Citing track record in Cape Town.

Gwen Ngwenya, DA head of policy, says 'we are arguably a failed state'. 

Meyer: Our municipalities are dogged by bad leadership and corruption. We need to rebuild what was destroyed in our country.

Meyer: Our manifesto is our social contract with voters in SA. Voters are very clear on what they want.

Meyer: We, the DA, have a candidate in every ward across South Africa.

The ruling party is doing everything in its power to cling to power including violence.

DA's Ivan Meyer addresses audience: This manifesto presents our offer to all South Africans. It's a collection of data and research.

A moment taken to sing the South African national anthem.

South Africans were promised a dream and a working government that gets things done but unfortunately this has been a pipe dream, Khakhau says.

The programme has officially begun with programme director Karabo Khakhau at the podium.

The DA manifesto launch is set to begin in a few minutes. Are you tuned in?

The DA has teased at its talking points on Twitter:

This week, party leader John Steenhuisen said that the biggest failures in local government were in small municipalities, which should be a focus area.

"The real crisis I’ve seen in local government has been in small-town South Africa, towns where municipalities essentially exist on paper only - they don’t deliver services, they don't tick any of the five objectives of local government set out in the Constitution."

So, what can we expect to see from the DA's manifesto launch? 

The Democratic Alliance’s leader John Steenhuisen, head of policy Gwen Ngwenya and programme director Karabo Khakhau briefed the media on the part's state of readiness for the launch of the party’s manifesto on 25 September 2021.

The Democratic Alliance is expected to unveil its local government election manifesto at 11am. Entirely virtual, final touches are being made in anticipation of the main event.