Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane’s fervent plea for Parliament especially the ANC MPs to vote in favour of no confidence in President Jacob Zumafaied woefully as ANC MPs stood solidly behind their matriarch. Read his full speech below:
Fellow South Africans
The motion we are about to debate in the House is crucial for South Africa. History will record the outcome, and all of us will be judged on how we voted.
I appeal to every member of this House to consider the ramifications of their vote on this motion very carefully.
Honourable members, this is not an easy time for our country.
It is the most difficult period we’ve had to endure in the 22-year history of our democracy.
So many of our people are jobless, hopeless and powerless to do anything about it.
Minister Pravin Gordhan sketched this perilous situation vividly in his Budget Speech on Tuesday. Social grants won’t keep up with food price inflation and unemployment looks sure to keep rising. This was no Budget for the poor.
Our people are on the ropes, and they are reeling from one blow after another.
Honourable Members, every parent raising children in South Africa today is fearful of the direction we’re heading in, and what this means for their children’s future.
Every owner of a small business worries about the employees she’s responsible for, of the mouths they must feed, and what it will take to keep them employed and out of poverty.
And every one of the 8.2 million unemployed citizens in our country feels a sense of betrayal. They once had big dreams. Dreams that diminish with every day that this President remains in office.
Madam Speaker, our President’s quest for power has never been about creating a more prosperous South Africa.
It has always been about creating a more prosperous Jacob Zuma.
And here’s the thing: the more prosperous Jacob Zuma becomes, and the more obvious his failures are, the more the ANC plays the race card to deflect legitimate criticism.
Racism is evil and we must condemn it.
But it cannot be that if you are white and you don’t agree with the ANC, you are called a racist, and if you are black, you are called a sell-out.
These are hurtful insults in the context of our history. They are designed to diminish the ANC’s opponents.
What the ANC doesn’t get is that, every time it plays the race card and labels its opponents sell-outs, it diminishes its own stature.
How can it be that an organisation that once produced the caliber of leaders like Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu has been reduced to this?
The ANC of today call us sell-outs, but they don’t see that, slowly but surely, the people of South Africa are beginning to realise who the real sell-outs are.
Because a sell-out is a person who puts his own interests before the struggle of his people; a person who secures an advantage for himself in other people’s suffering.
To deny your citizens their promised freedom so that you can carry on living a life of unimaginable luxury is surely the greatest act of treachery.
To unstitch our democratic Constitution, thread by thread, so that you and your friends can loot at will is surely the ultimate betrayal.
You see, Madam Speaker, the biggest sell-out in our country is none other than the President himself.
Jacob Zuma sold out when, as Deputy President, he took a R500,000 bribe from Schabir Shaik.
He sold out when he recalled a sitting State President who stood in his way of absolute power.
Jacob Zuma sold out when he manipulated the National Prosecuting Authority to drop charges on 783 counts of corruption, bribery, money laundering and racketeering against him.
On this very day, the DA is fighting in court to have these charges reinstated. Because you cannot hide from justice simply because you are the President.
Jacob Zuma sold out when he disbanded the Scorpions because their independence was a threat to him.
He sold out when he knowingly used public money to build his private house at Nkandla.
And he sold every ANC MP down the river, when he went to court and rubbished the Nhleko report that he previously forced you to defend.
Jacob Zuma sold out when he removed an experienced Finance Minister so that he could capture our Treasury for his personal benefit.
He sold out when he allowed his cosy network of friends and family to become fantastically wealthy through unlimited access to government contracts and BEE deals.
He sold all of us out to his friends, the Guptas, who have built lucrative mining and media empires at the expense of real Black Economic Empowerment.
And in selling us out to the Guptas he has allowed his family members – his son Duduzane and his nephew Khulubuse – to hitch a ride on this train to instant wealth.
Everything this man does is to protect himself, his friends and his family at the expense of the Constitution, his oath of office and the people of South Africa.
This is why, under Jacob Zuma, more and more black South Africans are unemployed.
It is why, under Jacob Zuma, black children are suffering in an education system that renders them six times less likely to attend university than white children, consigning them to a lifetime of poverty.
It is why, under Jacob Zuma, many of our townships have murder rates that would place them amongst the highest countries in the world.
It is why, under Jacob Zuma, the cities of Ekurhuleni, East London and Johannesburg are the most unequal in the world.
It is why, under Jacob Zuma – according to an independent report released last week – ten out of the ten worst municipalities are run by the ANC.
And guess what? Nine out of the ten best municipalities are run by the DA. This means that where the DA governs there is less corruption, more jobs and better service delivery for the poor.
And the ANC has the audacity to call anyone a “sell-out”.
Who else must the President sell out, what else must he destroy before you will take a stand against him?
Madam Speaker, in times like these, we need a President who strives to hold our nation together.
A President with a vision for a more prosperous South Africa, for all who live in it.
A President who strives to unite South Africans in building this inclusive and prosperous country.
A President with moral conviction and an unshakeable sense of duty towards our country and her people.
A President who leads by example.
A President we can count on when times are tough.
It is obvious to all that this President is not Jacob Zuma.
Our duty today is to remove the man who has done so much to sell out our people.
You owe it to your country to support this motion today. You owe it to the millions of South Africans who are tired of waiting and hoping for a better life.
But if you won’t put your country first, at least put your party first. Because you know as well as I do, that the longer Jacob Zuma is in office, the more support you will lose.
The people of South Africa have lost confidence in the President, and the longer you protect him, the more confidence they will lose in you.
This is your chance to prove to the nation that the ANC is better than Jacob Zuma.
This is your chance to prove that this once-proud liberation movement has the capacity to renew itself.
This is your chance to prove President Thabo Mbeki wrong, when he said: “What we do… will define whether our organisation, the ANC, continues to maintain its noble character as a servant of all the people of South Africa, or degenerates into an ignoble, blood-sucking and corrupt parasite, an enemy of an immensely heroic people.”
So ask yourselves, do you want to be remembered as servants of the people, or sell-outs of the people?
The choice is yours.