Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE


@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

‘Donald Trump isn’t a passing fad – he’s a wake-up call to the world’ – Eusebius McKaiser

Run Racist RunCould I Vote DA?A Bantu in My Bathroom

Eusebius McKaiser has written an article titled “The multiple meanings of Donald Trump”.

McKaiser is a political analyst, broadcaster, public speaker and lecturer, and the author of A Bantu In My Bathroom, Could I Vote DA? A Voter’s Dilemma and most recently Run Racist Run: Journeys Into The Heart Of Racism.

Read the article, which was shared by McKaiser on his Facebook Page:

* * * * *

The fact that a deeply misogynistic bigot and racist – call him Donald Trump – can even come this close to being the president of the US is disturbing.

He is ignorant, shameless, casually racist and xenophobic, and we know too now that he brags about assaulting women.

What does it mean that someone of such vicious character could come so close to being president of one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world?

Trump’s political trajectory exposes a lie that many Americans peddle, that theirs is the greatest nation on earth.

It isn’t. There is no “greatest nation on earth”. Such jingoistic sloganeering is aspirational at best, and dangerously egotistical at worst.

Dangerous because that kind of lie can make you feel surprised that a Donald Trump arrives on the political stage. In reality, America is a complex society with plenty of social and political demons it has yet to slay before any hyperbolic claims to greatness could even be half entertained.

Trump represents the worst of American society. If the idea of an American dream is hopeful, Trump symbolises the American nightmare.

But it would be a mistake to render him exceptional. Clearly, there’s a political market for bigotry, ignorance, misogyny and xenophobia.

And that is the meaning of Donald Trump that Americans will have to come to terms with. Politics is a popularity contest. And the rise of any particular politician or their ideological convictions tell you something about the political market within which they are succeeding.

Sure, he’s unlikely to actually become the next American president, but that doesn’t mean that any progressive citizen can relax and simply wait for the news cycle to move on after the presidential race has come and gone.

The social, political and discursive conditions that oxygenated the Trump campaign will remain for a long while still.

These range from people who feel disillusioned with mainstream politics, bigots with whom the Trump message resonates, patriarchs who secretly share his muscular display of misogyny, and segments of white working-class America that rightly or wrongly feels they are at the margins of society.

And that’s the ugly truth: democracy isn’t a bulwark against discontent. In all democracies there are winners and losers.

And American society is no different. It has multiple losers, from women who have to witness the rise of Trumpian misogyny, black people hunted by agents of racist institutions like the police force, immigrant families treated like temporary sojourners, and yes working-class and poor white folk who don’t know what it means in real material terms to live the American dream.

The winners are big business, famous families like the Clintons and the Bushes, and the beneficiaries of social networks that are sophisticated, deeply entrenched, and exclusionary.

This means that Trump isn’t a passing fad. Trump is a wake-up call to the world that liberal democracy is in crisis.

That too is the meaning of Trump. Trump could have been a right-wing politician in Western Europe. Trump could have been a leading campaigner for Brexit in the UK. Trump could have been an Australian prime minister keeping out boats of immigrants.

Trump represents an international reality we’ve yet to dramatise with the requisite urgency it demands.

That reality is that vile predatory politicians and faux politicians will prey on the discontent felt and experienced by millions of citizens who are losing faith in liberal democracy.

And there will be a market for Trump and future Trumps for as long as we delay a critical and honest conversation about the range of everyday, and structural, injustices that proliferate in democracies. We’re so busy trying to deliver the democratic model to undemocratic countries that we’ve fetishised democracy.

Not that there’s a better political system. But democracy doesn’t guarantee justice. And if we don’t centre justice in public discourse then democracy will continue to be under threat. And Trump will continue to be a successful predator.

Related stories:

Book details

  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

» read article

Eusebius McKaiser explains why the hair policy debate is not just about hair

Run Racist RunCould I Vote DA?A Bantu in My Bathroom


Eusebius McKaiser’s latest piece for The Star is a reflection on “the hidden curriculum” at former whites-only schools.

In the column McKaiser recalls making a speech Pretoria Boys’ High School valediction service in 2003. He points out the school’s proud academic and sporting history, and praises the speech made by the headmaster on the night, in which he urged the students to “think through their unearned privileges”.

However, one aspect of the event stuck in McKaiser’s craw: The Trebot Barry Award, which was “awarded to the boy whose home language is not English and yet has embraced the values and ethos of our school”.

This, McKaiser says, is why the hair policy debate that started at Pretoria Girls’ High cannot “be reduced to hair”.

“It’s about linguistic apartheid, cultural hegemony, and keeping value pluralism outside the school gates, while pretending that a school magazine picture of black and white learners huddled together suffices as evidence of inclusivity,” he says.

Read on:

Book details

  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

» read article

‘It’s now time to get Johannesburg working again’ – Read Herman Mashaba’s first mayoral statement

Capitalist CrusaderBlack Like YouThe Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Herman Mashaba was elected as executive mayor for the City of Johannesburg on Monday night.

Mashaba is a millionaire who founded the company Black Like Me, and the author of the books Black Like You and Capitalist Crusader: Fighting Poverty Through Economic Growth. He also served as chairperson of the Free Market Foundation and is a strong believer in free enterprise and the noninvolvement of the state in the economy – views that put him at odds with the leftist EFF‚ which believes in the setting of a national minimum wage‚ among other things.

In December last year Mashaba announced that he was making himself available as Joburg’s mayoral candidate for the DA.

His first official statement as leader of the city was released on Tuesday‚ and follows below in full:

“I am honoured and deeply humbled to be elected as the new Executive Mayor of Johannesburg.

“The residents of our city called out for change that would once again get Johannesburg working again. It is a mandate we dare not fail to deliver on.

“It is important to note that no single party holds a majority in the Johannesburg City Council.

“The people have chosen a diverse group of parties to lead them. The new administration has partners and I thank them for their support. I especially thank the EFF for placing their trust in me to lead this city.

“Now is not the time for political squabbles. We face great challenges that no party can confront on its own. It is time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and get working.

“Because if Johannesburg works‚ South Africa works.

“But before we start I need to ask the people of Johannesburg for patience. The truth is that there are no short cuts.

“It is going to take time to correct the mismanagement and decay that has resulted in worsening service delivery.

“We need to start from basics and step by step build a city we can all be proud of.

“The DA has a positive vision and plan for this city.

“Our vision is centred around our promise to create jobs‚ deliver better services and eliminate corruption from this administration.

“No one can deny that the biggest challenge facing our city is the soaring unemployment confronting over 800 000 people.

“Job creation will be the number one priority of the new administration.

“We understand that the actual role of local government in job-creation‚ is to create an enabling environment for businesses to establish themselves‚ flourish‚ and thereby create permanent jobs.

“Small businesses will be my best friends. Small businesses create jobs and that is why small business development will be the focus of my term in office.

“I want Johannesburg to be a city that empowers young entrepreneurs so they are given every opportunity to succeed.

“A city that creates an environment where poor people are afforded the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and make a success of themselves‚ as I did all those years ago.

“The days of requiring a political party’s membership card to get an EPWP job are over.

“One of our top priorities is to professionalise the public service by hiring the very best people to run a city that attracts investment and creates jobs.

“We will conduct a skills audit of the City of Joburg’s employees to ensure that all are properly qualified for the roles they are in.

“Residents have been plagued by a civil service that has offered lackluster and frankly‚ disgraceful service. Civil servants need to understand that they are there to serve the people of Johannesburg and not the other way around.

“None of us can rest while hundreds of thousands of families in Johannesburg suffer in abject poverty and without even the most basic of services.

“This administration will prioritise the upgrading of informal settlements and townships such as Zandspruit and Alexandra. We will work tirelessly to provide decent services and help lift people out of poverty.

“As of last night‚ corruption has been declared public enemy number one in the City of Johannesburg.

“We will conduct a full forensic audit of the City’s finances and administrative structures. This will include all tenders currently awarded.

“There was over R5-billion in unauthorised‚ irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure over the last administration’s term in office. This will simply not be tolerated under the new administration and any case of wrongdoing will be exposed and punished.

“It is time for all of us to put our political differences aside and work together with a shared vision for the improvement of the lives of our city’s residents‚ especially the poorest residents of our city.

“The future of our city and country depend on it.

“Because if Johannesburg works‚ South Africa works.

“Together we will bring change to the City of Johannesburg.

“Together we will bring change that creates jobs‚ delivers better services and fights corruption.

“Together we will make this a city of golden opportunities.”

TMG Digital

Related stories:

Book details

» read article

Herman Mashaba remains DA mayoral candidate despite EFF request for change

Capitalist CrusaderBlack Like YouThe Democratic Alliance has declined a request by the Economic Freedom Fighters to change its mayoral candidate in Johannesburg‚ Herman Mashaba‚ in exchange for its vote in the metro.

The EFF said it would vote with the DA in all metros but that this was conditional in Johannesburg. The condition was for the DA to rethink placing Mashaba at the helm of the metro.

But the DA has declined – meaning it will not receive the EFF’s vote in Johannesburg. The EFF’s vote would have placed the DA in the majority in the metro.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said voters chose Mashaba as their candidate and the party could not undermine that. However‚ as Saturday is the deadline for coalition-making‚ there is still time for the ANC and the EFF to continue with negotiations.

Mashaba is a millionaire who founded the company Black Like Me, and the author of the books Black Like You and Capitalist Crusader: Fighting Poverty Through Economic Growth. He also served as chairperson of the Free Market Foundation and is a strong believer in free enterprise and the noninvolvement of the state in the economy – views that put him at odds with the leftist EFF‚ which believes in the setting of a national minimum wage‚ among other things.

TMG Digital/BDlive

Related stories:

Book details

» read article

‘Interference with journalists at the SABC is even worse than the public would know’ – Eusebius McKaiser

Eusebius McKaiser has written an extensive analysis of the current situation at the SABC.

Eight journalists who dismissed by the public broadcaster on Thursday, saying they failed to abide by the new editorial policy.

The dismissed journalists, Foeta Krige, Thandeka Gqubule, Suna Venter, Busisiwe Ntuli, Krivani Pillay, Lukhanyo Calata, Jacques Steenkamp and Vuyo Mvoko, claim the policy amounts to censorship.

Run Racist RunCould I Vote DA?A Bantu in My Bathroom


Read McKaiser’s thoughts:


Interference with journalists at the SABC is even worse than the public would know. The latest journalist, of the SABC 8 group, who is fighting for his labour rights to be respected is Vuyo Mvoko. Essentially what the SABC did is to say that they won’t ‘schedule’ him – SABC lingo for being taken off the air – which is their way of ensuring that, as an independent contractor, he won’t be able to get paid because he won’t be able to invoice for payments given that he is not on air currently. In addition to that he was, rather ominously, asked to give REASONS why his contract should not be terminated. So the papers served on the SABC today, and which will be filed tomorrow in the high court (as in on Friday, 22 July), is an attempt to ensure Mvoko gets ‘scheduled’ and doesn’t lose income.

But here’s the juicy, and disturbing, thing: There is a long pattern of interference with the work of journalists at the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng isn’t the only one who is a dictator. Motsoeneng has, if this founding affidavit is to be believed (and I definitely believe Mvoko, not least because he is a journalist and human being of impeccable integrity, and a friend I can and do vouch for), several willing helpers who ensure that the space is closed down for good journalism. Here are some examples from the affidavit:

1. Jimi Matthews – now trying to be a belatedly morally upright friend of journalists – pulled Mvoko’s show, On The Record, because Matthews was pissed off that Mvoko interviewed Thuli Madonsela. (CLEARLY, Matthews contributed to the very ‘corrosive atmosphere’ he described in his resignation letter). Matthews EVEN wanted Mvoko to be disciplined for telling his viewers, via Twitter, that the show won’t be shown. [Nothing in the narration of this incident in the affidavit mentions Motsoeneng. This is important. Because, as odious as Motsoeneng is, the truth is that individuals like Matthews had AGENCY and chose to exercise it in a manner inconsistent with the mandate of the public broadcaster and inconsistent with journalistic and managerial integrity more generally.]

2. Sophie Mokoena, as Acting Political Editor, came to tell Mvoko that Motsoeneng is upset that Mvoko had said, on air, during the launch of the DA manifesto, that the DA regards the ANC as being at its most vulnerable, electorally. He was told by Mokoena that Motsoeneng scrutinises ‘each and every word’. [The implication is obvious: A chilling effect to dissuade journalists from saying anything on air that is even vaguely perceived to be critical of the ANC.]

3. Nothando Maseko wanted to possibly can an interview that Mvoko did with President Zuma in Rustenburg at the January 8th (2016) rally of the ANC because Mvoko had asked the president a question about the firing of former finance minister (Nene); theyonly showed the interview when it was obvious, as Mvoko pointed out, that similar broadcasts on ANN7 and eNCA included interviews in which the president had, at any rate, been asked to opine on the same issue. [Again, the implication is obvious: The journalist is here being encouraged, in a rather unsubtle way, to NOT ask the president hard questions even if the questions are newsworthy and in the public interest.]

4. A worse example of such protection of president Zuma played out in 2015 when the SABC actually chose to NOT air part of an interview in which Mvoko had asked the president how he – the president – would respond if a) the minister of police had been untruthful about Robert McBride or Anwar Dramat; and b) asked the president a question about the possible negative effects on foreign investment that a policy of limited (local) land ownership by foreign nationals. [The president, recalls Mvoko roughly, said that the minister would be ‘deal with’ in such a scenario (on the McBride/Dramat question), and, in respect of the land issue, said that foreign investors are free to leave the country. Maseko informed Mvoko that the presidency requested that these answers by Zuma should not be aired, and the SABC agreed, and so never broadcast those parts of the pre-recorded interview.]

The bottom line is that the pattern of censorship, and political manipulation of content to suit Zuma in particular, is therefore not new, despite the feeling, perhaps, that the focus on the SABC is rather sudden. Also, Motsoeneng is ONE of the folks at the SABC responsible for this rot but, frankly, he gets lots of help from those willing to execute this evil plan to use the SABC for party political purposes.

The refusal to ‘schedule’ Mvoko isn’t a good faith decision in the normal course of deciding who is best to have on air right now in terms of elections coverage. Mvoko is OBVIOUSLY the most experienced broadcaster they currently have in terms of the elections beat. The real reason for the refusal to have him on air is simple: He does his job with no regard for party political biases (or factional interests withi the ruling party) and that doesn’t serve the agenda of the likes of Matthews (prior to his resignation) or Motsoeneng or the generals (Mokoena that they have appointed to various managerial positions.

I hope Mvoko wins in the high court. But even if he doesn’t, it is fantastic that open court processes allow us to further scrutinise what is going on inside an important public institution.
Be vigilant, active citizen.

Book details

  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

» read article

Stephen Grootes quizzes Patrick Craven at the launch of The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider’s View

The Battle For CosatuThere were many contentious and interesting discussions at the launch of former Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesperson Patrick Craven’s book The Battle for Cosatu at Exclusive Books in Rosebank recently.

Stephen Grootes was the suitable choice to interview Craven, as what was clearly visible from the get go was the deep admiration and respect between the two men, despite the fact that they have different worldviews on what the best economic system is.

As Grootes explained, “This is where [Craven] and I differ: I believe in well-regulated capitalism I see capitalism as the only way to get people out of poverty.”

He continued: “Patrick Craven, why am I wrong?”

Craven replied that there has never been a better time in history to show how capitalism has failed.

In the book, Craven writes about the last five tumultuous years of Cosatu, leading up to the expulsion of Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi.

Grootes asked many other hard-hitting questions, including “What happened to Cosatu?” and “Why did you resign?”, which Craven tackled with honesty and forthrightness.

Specifically of interest was Craven’s political analysis of what is going to happen in the local elections. “Sadly,” he said, “there will be no fundamental shift.”

Jennifer Platt (@Jenniferdplatt) tweeted live from the event:

Facebook album

Book details

» read article

Don’t miss the launch of The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider’s View by Patrick Craven with Stephen Grootes

Invitation to the launch of The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider’s View by Patrick Craven

The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider's ViewBookstorm and Exclusive Books are delighted to invite you to the launch of The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider’s View by Patrick Craven.

In the book, Craven recounts happenings of the last five tumultuous years of the biggest and most powerful labour federation, leading up to the expulsion of Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi.

Craven will be in conversation with Stephen Grootes at Exclusive Books Rosebank Mall on Thursday, 14 July.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 14 July 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Exclusive Books Rosebank Mall
    Shop C332 & C333, Rosebank Mall
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Interviewer: Stephen Grootes
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP:, 011 478 6020

Book Details

» read article

Eusebius McKaiser criticises Zapiro’s withdrawal from planned public debate

A Bantu in My BathroomCould I Vote DA?Run Racist Run

Jonathan Shapiro, aka Zapiro, has withdrawn from a planned dialogue with Eusebius McKaiser over his controversial recent cartoon depicting NPA head Shaun Abrahams as a monkey.

The dialogue, organised by the Mail & Guardian, was due to take place tomorrow, June 7.

McKaiser says he is “obviously disappointed” but that he respects Zapiro’s decision.

However, he adds: “Zapiro apparently doesn’t think the criticism he received was anything more than a temporary storm in a Twitter teacup. I think he is wrong to judge the very genuine and substantive engagement with his work as that fleeting and thin. And that’s frankly an indictment of him.

“I’d also have thought that if he regarded the criticism as mere social media posturing then there should not be any trepidation about a conversation in which you can explain in part why the criticism isn’t salient.”

Read McKaiser’s full statement, as shared on Facebook:

Please note that the event with Jonathan Shapiro that was meant to be held tomorrow at Gibs (Tuesday 7th June) and which was being organised by the Mail and Guardian has been cancelled because Jonathan (Zapiro) no longer wishes to be in conversation about the cartoon in which Shaun Abrahams was depicted as a monkey.

I’m obviously disappointed because many people – many of you – have already committed to attend, sponsors had come on board to pay for the cost of the event, the events team of the Mail and Guardian has put in a huge effort including the editor Verashni Pillay.

But I respect Zapiro’s decision to not continue with the event.

I briefly thought of doing some alternative event in that space or the same theme in the absence of Zapiro. But that would be inappropriate: There is absolutely NO REASON why black people need to explain and deconstruct white liberal missteps in the absence of white people doing that kind of private and public work with or without black interlocutors. It would simply perpetuate one of the popular myths that blacks are uniquely placed to explain all things to do with race, racism, racist tropes and weak aesthetic choices made by self-styled progressive artists.

Such a public discussion therefore needs to feature someone like Zapiro alone, or at most in conversation with a critic. But black people have no duty to appear in public performing soliloquies about whiteness.

There is something distasteful about the scenario in which Zapiro is chilling in Cape Town and we take time off to make sense of the impact of his artistic choices on us. So it doesn’t make sense for me to continue either. A dialogue requires two or more people to be committed to examine their beliefs, attitudes, choices, habits and professional praxis.

Zapiro initiated the process that led to the event being put together when he challenged me to a public debate. I accepted.

I proposed to the editor that we not have a debate – which is an inherently adversarial format – and instead to have a conversation. Because I thought the latter is more conducive to pursuing the issues in honest and interesting detail, and unravelling the many themes that cannot be unravelled in a radio interview or even in a newspaper column. I also urged this format because I know Zapiro well. He is thoughtful and quiet and reflective. Not recalcitrant. And I was certainly not imprudent enough to engineer a verbal war. That is for high school debating.

I do not believe the issues around the cartoon and the criticism that the cartoon occasions have been adequately thrashed out. And the town hall format of engagement is a wonderfully underused format in our country for making dialogical and discursive progress.

Zapiro apparently doesn’t think the criticism he received was anything more than a temporary storm in a Twitter teacup. I think he is wrong to judge the very genuine and substantive engagement with his work as that fleeting and thin. And that’s frankly an indictment of him. I’d also have thought that if he regarded the criticism as mere social media posturing then there should not be any trepidation about a conversation in which you can explain in part why the criticism isn’t salient.

Friends, be careful of calling for debates if you’re not willing to in fact meet your interlocutor in the event that they accept even when they propose a conversation rather than debate.

Apologies to those of you who looked forward to genuine and honest public engagement. There will be future opportunities.

Book details

  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

» read article

Patrick Craven’s The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider’s View soon to be published

Patrick Craven is one of the few fundamentally decent people in our politics – Stephen Grootes, Daily Maverick/EWN

The Battle For CosatuSoon to be released by Bookstorm – The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider’s View by Patrick Craven:

Patrick Craven came to South Africa after having studied at the University of Sussex, where he was involved in the anti-apartheid movement. Craven was variously the Director of the Workers’ Library and Museum in Johannesburg, the editor of The Shopsteward magazine, and Cosatu’s National Spokesperson from 2006 to 2015.

In the book, Craven recounts happenings of the last five tumultuous years of the biggest and most powerful labour federation, leading up to the expulsion of Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi from the federation.

The Battle For Cosatu is an essential current affairs title that comes at a complex moment in South Africa’s political, social and economic life.


Book details

» read article

‘If Johannesburg works, South Africa works’ – Herman Mashaba outlines the DA’s plans for Joburg

Capitalist CrusaderBlack Like YouThe Democratic Alliance has shared an extract from the speech delivered by its mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, at the launch of its electoral campaign for Johannesburg.

Mashaba announced that he was making himself available as DA mayoral candidate in December last year.

In the speech, Mashaba outlines the DA’s plans should they win Joburg in the local government elections, including “schools to skills” programmes for teenagers, early learning daycare centres in every township, cutting red tape for small businesses, and “strengthening the muscle” of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department.

Mashaba is the founder of the Black Like Me hair care empire and the author of the memoir Black Like You and Capitalist Crusader: Fighting Poverty Through Economic Growth.

Read his speech:

Today we take the future of Joburg into our hands.

We are in Alexandra today, a place which represents the potential of Johannesburg, to show our determination to bring change to Johannesburg.

Let’s build a fair Johannesburg that we can all be proud to call home. Let’s create jobs for the millions of unemployed.

Let’s empower the many young black people who don’t experience the dignity of work.

Johannesburg is a great city. It is a melting pot of cultures. It’s the heartbeat of our nation. But Johannesburg can be even greater.

There was a time after 1994 when Johannesburg made progress towards redress.

There was improved housing delivery and essential services. There was development. There was economic growth.

Freedom meant that our city became one Jozi, a city that everyone called home.

But today that progress has stalled. Service delivery is no longer meeting people’s needs. Unemployment is unacceptably high.

Those close to government are getting rich, while everyone else is getting poorer.

We have stopped moving forward.

The current of corruption and bad governance is pulling us backwards.

That’s why I am standing as the DA’s change candidate. To make Johannesburg stand tall again.

I’ve entered the race of my life because I love this City and because I’ve seen how opportunity changes lives. It is deeply personal.

I know that opportunity is the difference between hope and fear, life and death.

My story, like many of your stories, challenges those who seek to use race to divide us.

Like millions of black South Africans, I grew up in poverty during apartheid. I grew up in GaRamotse in Hammanskraal and I was raised by my sisters while our mother worked long hours as a domestic worker.

Mmusi Maimane and I went back there last Monday, and I saw how too little has changed.

The difficulty of life back then, in so many ways still exists today in places like Soweto, Alex, Orange Farm, Kaya Sand, and Zandspruit.

This is not yet a fair society.

And this is why I work for change in Johannesburg.

In my twenties, I set up a company called Black Like Me with a white partner. A man I could proudly call a friend.

I have always believed that black and white South Africans journeys are bound together.

We share unbreakable bonds of humanity and goodness. We share one destiny. We stand or fall together.

The dream of a non-racial South Africa gives life. Despite the storms that threaten to overwhelm us, the dream lives on. The dream will never die.

This dream motivates me every day.

I’ve not found hatred or bitterness on the campaign. I’ve found courage, warmth, and kindness in the midst of unspeakable difficulties.

I’ve been changed by what I’ve experienced.

I’ve seen poor and old grandmothers dig their own toilet pits.

I’ve been stung by the despair of young black men in townships without jobs or an education.

I’ve felt the hopelessness of young people, most of whom are black, trapped in long-term unemployment.

I’ve winced as young mothers queue to pump water for their families into buckets.

I’ve felt the frustration of small business entrepreneurs, many of whom are black, who have no support to prosper.

This stirs us to action.

This new DA city government will redress past injustices. Redress means to “make right” with our brothers and sisters, with a dynamic economy.

Ending the divide between “insiders” and “outsiders” will turn South Africa around.

Our vision is to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the City of Gold over the next five years. We will attract investment by being an open, transparent, clean, well-governed city that is open to business.

For if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

We’ll get Johannesburg working by helping small businesses. We’ll cut the red tape that strangles entrepreneurs. We’ll cut up the old by-laws that obstruct business growth, in our first days in office. After 100 days they’ll be removed or amended.

We’ll audit City-owned land and buildings to set free the people’s assets. We’ll identify affordable commercial spaces for small businesses, artisans, and shops, and we’ll make them available at the most affordable annual rental possible.

We’ll connect people to training opportunities and internships. We’ll help them to find jobs in these new businesses.

I know how business works, with a 30-year track record of creating thousands of jobs. Job creation is in my public service DNA.

The DA will connect aspirant entrepreneurs to start-up loans.

We’ll carve up large tenders into small contracts. Many more small businesses can then bid for them successfully. And we’ll open up the tender system entirely, so everyone can see how they are awarded.

We’ll cut out all of the unnecessary consultants, to save millions for service delivery.

We’ll partner large, sector-focused companies with smaller businesses that want to grow. These will be business growth mentoring programmes through the City.

We cannot stop thinking about the future. The “Internet of Everything” will determine the future of successful cities.

We’ll develop a customised network by 2021 and we’ll centralise City data to improve service delivery, from repairing potholes to saving energy.

City and state trade missions to South Africa will bring investment to a new Jozi that is open, accessible, and transparent.

We will lead a revolution in the service levels of public servants and unveil a ‘Service with Pride’ vision on day one.

Courtesy and swiftly answered telephones will become the new norm. We’ll award exceptional performance for raising the City’s profile.

We’ll introduce an Executive Projects Dashboard for real-time monitoring of every project around the city. No project will just stop half-way and go unfinished.

The poorest residents of Joburg suffer the most from corruption. Corruption steals our public money, and it kills jobs.

When we take office, we will make corruption public enemy number one.

Criminals will be handed over to the police.

The DA will strengthen and bolster the Integrity and Internal Investigations Unit in the JMPD. Through the Mayor and open committee meetings, the unit will be directly accountable to the people. Criminal charges against corrupt officers will be pursued.

We also know that crime and drugs are wrecking people’s lives.

The DA-led City will strengthen the muscle of the JMPD.

Safety and security data will be centralised. This will improve local policing and identify drug lords and gangs.

The best technology will be used. Patterns will be spotted before crime is committed.

The police will be protected with body and vehicle dashboard cameras, and a fleet of ghost cars.

Our JMPD will be protectors of each and every one of us.

For if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

The DA will introduce “schools to skills” programmes for teenagers to navigate one of life’s toughest journeys, which will prepare young people for the modern workplace through skills training right out of school.

The DA will work with the private sector to drive two new special projects. We’ll establish early learning day care centres in every township, where our children will receive love, nutritious meals, and a basic pre-school education.

We’ll identify city-owned properties for entrepreneurs who will transform them into top performing schools and technical colleges for our poorest residents.

We know that a home is more than just where we raise family, it is our economic security. We cannot get Johannesburg working until we fix the housing crisis.

We’ll do four major things to turnaround Johannesburg’s housing crisis:

We’ll fast-track ownership by giving thousands of people title deeds. The poor will come first.

We’ll do everything possible to stop housing list corruption. The process will be transparent and open. The list will be available for anyone to see.

We’ll incentivise entrepreneurs who build green-friendly homes.

We’ll provide basic services to informal settlements, with the best free allocations in South Africa, to the poorest residents.

The DA does this in other cities where we govern, and now we want to do this in Johannesburg.

Affordable and safe public transport goes hand in hand with housing. The poorest of our residents will have easy access to quality public transport.

No more will Soweto residents pay up to half of their money each month just to get transport into the City.

We will integrate the divergent bus services, and we will bring about a single ticket system so that our residents can travel seamlessly. And we’ll promote rapid transit, adaptive parking, bike-sharing, and walking paths.

We’ll work with the private sector to build sporting facilities. I want to see new soccer turfs in every community where young soccer talent is currently lost on dusty sand pitches.

We’ll have properly resourced and staffed clinics. We’ll employ caring nurses, and we’ll fill vacancies so that people don’t spend hours and days queuing for medical help.

For if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

The time has come to put the government to work.

These are not pipe-dreams, but tried and tested promises, from where the DA governs already.

The best story to tell in South Africa, is how life gets better and better under the DA.

It’s the story of how unemployment is lowest, where the DA governs.

It’s the story of how services are delivered at the highest levels in South Africa, where the DA governs.

It’s the story of how we spend every cent of public money for the good of the people, where the DA governs.

The time has come to elect a DA government that brings this change to Johannesburg.

The time has come to elect a DA government that works for the people.

These are not empty words.

We stand on the shoulders of DA councillors who have already changed South Africa.

And let me say this: If I do not deliver on these promises after being elected, vote us out. It is that simple.

There is nothing broken in Johannesburg that cannot be fixed by Johannesburg. Johannesburg has all the right ingredients to be a great City.

The potential to greatness is in the residents of the City.

The current government talks big but acts small. But there is no glory in acting small.

Greatness does not happen by chance. It takes hard work, guts, and determination.

The DA government will create jobs and deliver quality services to every resident.

We will deliver a Fair Johannesburg, where Freedom is tangible, and where Opportunity abounds.

So far, this campaign journey has taken me from door to door, street to street, township to township.

The journey has taken me to meet people of character, of goodness, of decency.

The journey has brought me to this point. I am now asking every resident of Johannesburg to come on board and join me on this great journey: A journey to a prosperous and fair Johannesburg.

Your votes will elect a DA government that creates jobs and provides services.

That destiny rests in all of our hands.

For this is true: If Johannesburg works, South Africa works.

Related stories:

Book details

» read article