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Gareth Cliff. Picture: PEGGY NKOMO/The Times
Gareth Cliff. Picture: PEGGY NKOMO/The Times

It is not true, as Subesh Pillay claims, that I was on Gareth Cliff’s platform to “score cheap political points” (“Smirking Steenhuisen just doesn’t get it”, October 25). The truth is that I was there with one singular purpose, which is to bring the DA’s offer of efficient service delivery, job-creating policies and corruption-free government to as many people as possible before they vote on November 1.

Millions of South Africans suffer the daily indignity of not being able to feed their children, or access clean running water, or live without the constant stench of raw sewage lying about their makeshift shacks, or feel safe in their communities. I have travelled every province of this country and seen it for myself. My understanding of the tragic effect of race and racism is anything but “pedestrian”.

Every person’s lived experience matters. The DA is trying to improve that lived experience wherever we govern by delivering better basic services for the poor, growing the economy to create more jobs, and ensuring safer neighbourhoods.

And we are succeeding. Our formula for success is simple, yet powerful. We appoint people based on their ability to deliver, and we spend public money on the public. Thanks to that winning formula, the DA is objectively the most pro-poor party, and the only party with a proven track record of success in government.

The reality of ANC government is that 107 local municipalities are already dysfunctional or on the verge of collapse. The reality, whether the likes of Pillay can admit it or not, is that nothing could do more to bring dignity to the growing millions of people suffering the indignity of poverty and joblessness than for the DA to run their local government with an outright majority after November 4.

With just a few days to go until the local government election, this is a time of choice. I’m not asking people to vote with their heads rather than their hearts, as some commentators have done, implying that a vote for the DA is sensible yet heartless. I’m asking people to vote with their heads and hearts, for competent, ethical, honest government that can bring dignity to those who need it most.

John Steenhuisen
DA leader

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