On Monday, 24 October 2016, Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance in South Africa, together with Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Cape Town and leader of the DA in the Western Cape, Sharna Fernandez, speaker of the Western Cape Parliament, and Anton Bredel, chairman of the DA in the Western Cape and MEC for local government in the Western Cape.
Mmusi Maimane was entertaining, eloquent and at the same time put across a very strong message to us and all fellow South Africans. "South Africa, your ship is sinking!" he told us. He said that with the present governing party in place, our ship is sinking. However he also said that we need to see and find hope in every situation. He said that with the current state of affairs, the ANC is losing favour amongst the people of South Africa.
When someone voiced their fears about what is going on with the 'fees must fall' riots, he reminded us that they are not nearly as bad as the riots we have had in the past with the level of violence and even the necklacing that took place. Although he sees this rioting in a very dim light, he says that in the end it will again weaken the ANC.
His very strong message that came across is that we as South Africans must stop thinking of ourselves as individuals, but rather collectively. Not blacks or whites, but blacks and whites. He said we must take it much further, not think of industry or labour, but industry and labour, and much more. He said until we change our mindset and start thinking of South Africa as being a country for all it's people, we will not overcome our problems.
He spoke about where changes need to be made in governance. Starting with things like policing, where we need a Head Of Police who has a background in policing and and not in politics. He said that education is another major factor that needs to be addressed, amongst others.
Mr Maimane gave us a bit of his background. He said he was the son of a teller. He said he was better off than most, by having been able to attend a Catholic School. He also told us that if not for two whites who decided to take a chance, go into Soweto and help those less fortunate than themselves, he would not be where he is today. Mr Maimane has a BA in Psychology from the University of South Africa, his Masters in Public Administration from the University of the Witwatersrand, and his Masters in Theology from the University of Bangor in Wales. Certainly a far cry from the country's current leader!
I cannot sit here and repeat everything he told us that night, but his speech was positive, and we can certainly see that this is a man capable of running a country and taking it to new heights.
Anton Bredel, Sharna Fernandez and Patricia de Lille