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Full Speech: Mmusi Maimane's Workers' Day Remarks

The Leader of the Opposition says in Cape Town "all South Africans are united in a new struggle".

01/05/2017 11:44 SAST | Updated 01/05/2017 11:50 SAST
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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – APRIL 27: Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, during Freedom movement rally in Pretoria. He delivered the keynote address. Opposition parties, religious leaders and civil society came together to protest against President Jacob Zuma at The Caledonian Stadium, Tshwane on Freedom Day. This day commemorates the country's first post-apartheid elections held in 1994. This year signals 23 years of South Africa's democracy. (Photo by Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)

Fellow South Africans,

Today, we join with millions of people around the world to celebrate International Workers' Day.

Today, workers across the globe celebrate the victory of their hard-won fight for fair labour practices and employment standards.

This public holiday was proclaimed in 1994 at the dawn of our democracy, to celebrate our freedom from an oppressive regime; to celebrate the power of the people.

Twenty-three years later, it's time to take back our power from a government that no longer works for us.

Because today it doesn't feel like there is much to celebrate. We're free to work, but nine million of our sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters have no jobs.

Millions more of us stand to lose our jobs if Jacob Zuma has his way.

He's turned our government into a crime syndicate. He's turned our National Treasury into his personal piggy bank. He's sold our sovereignty to the Gupta family.

Today, we must unite and take it back!

And so I was very pleased to hear former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, tell CNN that we need a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, as prescribed in the Public Protector's Report.

Earlier Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa made the same call for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. He too knows what Jacob Zuma is doing is wrong.

He said last Monday: the truth will set the ANC free. I suspect many of his comrades agree with him.

It seems it's only Jacob Zuma who is still trying to block this inquiry through the courts. He's just doing what all thieves do: trying to evade the law.

But we will not let him get away with it. We look forward to the court judgment on this and we look forward to a truly independent inquiry into state capture.

The truth has a way of finding its way to the light. And our country needs the truth.

Fellow South Africans,

Today our struggle is not about right versus left; it's about right versus wrong.

Jacob Zuma's lying, stealing, cheating government is wrong. It is no longer playing by the fair rules of the game, and it is taking South Africa in the wrong direction.

It is crippling our economy and hurting our ability to create work for millions.

And it is trying to divide us along lines of race, like the Apartheid government did.

It is trying to divide us because it knows that divided, we are powerless to stop their looting.

Jacob Zuma has plunged our country into crisis and our families into desperation. Right now, we South Africans can't afford to get through the month.

Jacob Zuma talks about radical economic transformation, but what he means is radical re-enrichment of a small elite, including his friends, the Guptas.

Our economy doesn't need Jacob Zuma's radical transformation. It needs a complete modernisation, because our old economic practices simply aren't working.

We need those without capital to be able to enter the capital market. Which is why we're calling for a Jobs and Justice Fund to support new micro-enterprises.

We need to place small businesses at the centre of our economy and support them through a capable state, because they must spearhead our job-creation project.

We need to create a safe and predictable investment climate – not one in which the cabinet gets reshuffled in the dead of night.

We need to look at ways to create sustainable wealth. We can start by offering those who work on mines shares in these mines, and we can do the same for employees of our state-owned enterprises.

And if we truly want to modernise our economy, we cannot remain stuck in the era of industrialisation. We must focus on the information sector, and we must equip our youth to thrive in such an economy.

This is the kind of economy we must build together – one that delivers freedom for all, and not just for Jacob Zuma's friends and family.

At this critical moment in SA's history, we must unite in a new struggle for the future.

Unite behind the Constitution. Unite against corruption. Unite for a growing economy that creates jobs. Unite against criminals and drug lords taking over our streets and destroying our children.

Fellow South Africans,

It is time to come together from all corners of South Africa.

It's time to work together to take back our country and get back to what is right.

It's time to put South Africa first. It's time to have a government that works for everyone.

And when you have a government that works for everyone, you get an economy in which everyone works.

When the government works for everyone, young people leave school equipped with the skills they need to get ahead in life.

When the government works for everyone, it builds the water, electricity, transport and communications infrastructure necessary for businesses to grow and thrive.

It puts it best, brightest, most capable and experienced people into its cabinet.

It engages with the people and makes decisions in an open, transparent way, in broad daylight.

It doesn't fire competent, dedicated finance ministers in the middle of the night.

When the government works for everyone, the economy grows and we all win.

Fellow South Africans,

Our economy may be struggling, but we, the people, are not the problem.

I spoke recently with businessmen from a automotive company, and I was so proud to hear that they consider South African workers among the best in the world.

The people here are not the problem. It is our government that is making it very hard for our people to succeed. That's where our problem lies.

It is time for us to work together so that we can get South Africa working again.

If we unite and work together, we will all be winners.

If we work together, we can easily overcome what is wrong, and build what is right.

That is why the DA was proud to join the Freedom Movement, and to invite other political parties and civil society to join with us.

We want to unite with all those who love South Africa. Because there is strength in unity. Unity doesn't mean we're the same. It means we're together, united in our diversity.

Together we can free ourselves of the Zuptas and their crime syndicate.

But we can also do so much more beyond that. Together, we can build a new political order.

A new order that rejects the old order with its corruption and looting and power abuse.

A new order that rejects what is wrong and embraces what is right.

A new order that can fight our real enemies: poverty, unemployment and inequality.

A new order that gets South Africa working again.

A new order for the people, by the people.

Power to the people!