Special Edition Bokomoso: It’s time for change

The events of the past week have been shocking and upsetting for many South Africans.

The reckless and irrational decision by President Zuma to fire Nhlanhla Nene has already had drastic effects on our economy.

Since Wednesday evening’s decision, the Rand has plummeted to record lows, investor confidence has further dampened and ratings agencies have issued comments that should make us very concerned about the probability of South Africa being downgraded to “junk status”.

In addition, our banks have lost billions of their value on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The economic decline of the past few days, in the context of broader mismanagement of the economy by President Zuma’s government, will undoubtedly see unemployment growing and the current 8,2 million unemployed people pushed even further away from job opportunities.

Wednesday’s decision was made without consulting anyone – not even senior cabinet ministers.

In the absence of any real explanation, we can only assume it was done to put someone in charge of the Treasury who will do as the President says.

The reasons offered on Friday evening by President Jacob Zuma for his irresponsible removal of Nhlanhla Nene ring completely false.

It is clear that President Zuma manufactured a post-hoc rationalisation of his disastrous decision, in response to the devastating consequences that decision has already had for the economy.

Since firing Nene, President Zuma has watched silently as the South African economy took a beating, our currency sharply devalued, and the yield on government debt sharply increased.

Quite simply, the reasons offered for the decision are laughable.

The nomination of Nene to head the Johannesburg office of the BRICS Bank would in no way preclude him from remaining Finance Minister until such time as his nomination was confirmed. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma continued to serve as a Minister while also nominated to head the African Union.

If the BRICS Bank nomination was the real reason, then there was no need for an urgent firing of Nene, and the President could easily have fully explained the context to the nation. He did not.

President Zuma’s reasons offered are spurious, illogical and disingenuous.

President Zuma’s deeply irresponsible decision has created an economic crisis, which may well prove to be a watershed moment in his failed presidency and in the history of our young democracy.

Minister Nene has paid the price for standing up to the President on both the nuclear deal and the SAA Airbus deal – neither of which we can afford.

His replacement, David van Rooyen, is the embodiment of Zuma’s ANC of cronyism and patronage – a pliable pawn who will hand the President the keys to the Treasury.

We cannot let this happen. Now is the time for South Africans to take their destiny into their own hands and stop Jacob Zuma before he destroys what is left of our economy and our democracy.

And when I say South Africans, I don’t just mean DA supporters. I mean each and every South African who cares about this nation.

This includes all the good people within the ANC who perhaps feel they cannot stand up to Jacob Zuma. This man is using you to enrich himself.

Forget about all the anti-DA spin and propaganda, and come and speak to us about how to save our country. You will find we have far more in common than you think.

Now, more than ever, we need people to unite for a common cause and against a common enemy. That cause is a fair and prosperous South Africa, and that enemy is Jacob Zuma.

You can help by joining the DA. You can help with a contribution towards the DA’s election campaign. And you can help by voting DA in next year’s municipal elections.

On 27 January 2016, the Democratic Alliance will convene a march in the centre of Johannesburg, for change that creates jobs.

We call on all South Africans who believe in building a better future for South Africa to join us on this march in solidarity with the poor and unemployed South Africans who are suffering as a result of no economic leadership.

Next year’s elections present an opportunity to show Zuma’s ANC that our country and its people are ready for change.

Across the country, we all have an opportunity to vote the ANC out of municipal councils and Metros and to show that Zuma’s ANC government lacks legitimacy.

That process will start with our March for Change and will be followed up on 5 and 6 February 2016 when South Africans can register to vote in municipal elections to be held later in the year.

Our country has achieved far too much to allow one man and his dishonest government to destroy our future. In January, let’s stand together and start bringing change to South Africa.

For this to happen, millions of us must unite.

It’s time for change.

South Africa’s transition from the brutal regime of apartheid to a constitutional democracy was achieved via the democratic right to vote. That is our most powerful weapon as citizens and it is now time that we use it to great effect.

Zuma simply falling is not going to achieve the change our country needs to move forward again. The rot of cronyism and patronage runs too deep in the ANC. We need to vote for change next year and bring new leadership to cities and municipalities across our country where corruption can be stopped and jobs can be created.

Our best response to this moment of crisis in our young democracy is to unite and use our right to vote to effect change. We owe it to our country.

Mmusi Maimane
DA Leader

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