The speech as delivered this afternoon at the DA Eastern Cape 2014 congress in Jeffrey’s Bay by Athol Trollip, DA provincial leader.
This is the seventh time I’ve addressed a Provincial Congress of the DA as the Provincial Leader and I can say without any fear of contradiction that this position has, despite a number of challenges over the past 14 years, been the most exciting and fulfilling one I’ve ever held.
When I reflect upon my association with this Party and its predecessor party’s that I’ve been personally involved with, the PFP, the DP and now the DA, I can honestly say that it’s the DA experience that’s been most meaningful. This sentiment is forged by what we set out to achieve in 2000 and what we have achieved to date.
I think of how we brought so called eternal enemies together and how well we managed this integration in the Eastern Cape. Many here will remember anecdotal experiences of how we all had to make concessions and that reconciliation cannot be reached without this.
In die tyd het Tony Leon selfs geleer om Afrikaans te praat. Die gebaar was van uiterste belang vir die toekoms van die DA.
When I look at what our Party looks like now, I know that it was all worth it, especially when I find myself in the same caucus and executive with people like Veliswa, Nosimo, Dorah and Nqaba.
Malcolm, Yusuf, Ondela, Celeste, two Annettes, Vicky, Marshall, Andrew, Kobus, Kevin, Elza, Edmund, Ross, Terry and Bobby
Ons moes eers geleer het om saam met mekaar te werk voordat ons werklik ‘n party vir alle Suid-Afrikaners kon word. Ek glo dat ons dit nou bereik het en ek weet vir seker dat geen ander party in Suid-Afrika lyk soos ons sin en dat geen ander is soos ons sin.
Helen Zille often says that we are trying to do what has never been done before and we are succeeding! However the ultimate success, of a DA led government is going to make what we have achieved to date seem like a cake walk! This means that we will have to do much more than what we have done to date. We will all have to ensure that our under pinning philosophy of R2D2 is not merely a slogan but an ingrained ethos and value in each and every one of us. The late Colin Eglin often extolled “more substance less slogans”
This can best be described as follows: Real liberty for all will require us all to be focussed on the task, the team and the individual.
Our objective/task is to create an open opportunity society for all. This is the future we dream about and one that the next generation deserves.
In this regard I believe that former US President, Theodore Roosevelt’s “square deal” proposal reflects what we strive for.
“Let the watchword of all our people be the old familiar watch words of honesty, decency, fair dealing and common sense. We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a “square deal”, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less. The welfare of each of us is dependant fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.”
This is essentially what Ubuntu is all about.
We all need to become “self-starters and activists for change or change “warriors” because change is often a battle. Some of us need no ignition, some need more than ignition, but this is an ethos that is highly infectious, so I expect our leaders to be self-starters that need no day to day supervision.
We are competing in a highly competitive political environment and we can only be successful if:
- We avoid hierarchical attitudes, leaders are not bosses.
- We avoid being hung up on positions and titles. Leader/chair etc. is passé.
- We must all get our job done by each one taking full responsibility of our respective jobs.
I often ask myself if we all wake up with the same objectives? This question was partly answered by my experience of conducting the recent province wide PDMS. It was clear that some amongst us consider public representation as a job and not a calling. Some believe that being an MP, MPL and Cllr is about attending meetings of the relevant institutions. Those that have this attitude will have to change it very quickly or prepare themselves for their last term of office. We are simply not going to carry freeloading passengers because we are running out of time to turn our country around.
I quote my favourite poet Rudyard Kipling’s poem “IF”:
“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them – hold on!”
The political environment is changing and we are no longer the sole proprietors of alternative ideas. This means that we must improve and adapt our political strategies and activities.
We will have to use electronic, mobile and social networks much more effectively to complement but not to replace our conventional activities of direct contact and interaction with voters. Nothing replaces this, because saying you care holds no credibility compared to showing that you care.
Care means compassion, compassion means care.
What we now need to do is to make sure that we elect leaders who will be at the forefront of changing the order of business. Real leaders are people who unlock leadership potential in others. Good leaders are those that have faith in others. I have faith that you will elect such leaders.
In this regard I want to tell you about the 20% principle. This principle talks about a 20% of people in an organization that are “change warriors“. These people have the courage of their convictions and make things happen. The next 20% are the “I won’t go” component of an organization. They are a source of resistance to change and they are the people that are the biggest risk to our organizations growth and success. Then there is the 60% of the organization who are the sceptics and who won’t move unless moved by inspirational leadership and nothing will happen in an organization if this group is not moved. I know that we will elect leaders today that will take these people with them.
I believe that leadership requires faith because faith gives us the gift of compassion, empathy, humility and optimism. If our leaders have these gifts, nothing will stop us from becoming a government.
I am afraid that despite what the ANC says during the month of October when they pay respect to OR Tambo. They, their actions speak much louder than the words of Oliver Tambo. “It is our responsibility to break down barriers of division and create a country where there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity” Our society is becoming more and more polarized.
We as the DA pride ourselves at our diversity achievements, especially at leadership and at elected levels and our staff compliment, however we are not an organisation of concession. This means that we regard concessions as being patronizing and demeaning. We are an open opportunity society for all.
This means that there is no difference, siyafana, ons is een.
This requires all of us to do the best we can, not necessarily to achieve equal outcomes, but it does require equal output or equal effort. Ons almal moet ons kant bring.
In hierdie verband wil ek graag die voorbeeld noem van Raadslede Johnny Lawack en Brian Kivedo, wat albei onlangs hulle meesters grade in openbare administrasie verwerf het – en dit op die ouderdom van onderskeidelik 76 en 60 jaar. Hierdie prestasie is vir my ongelooflik inspirerend.
Aan al die ander verteenwoordigers wat tans besig is om te studeer om julle vaardighede en kennis uit te brei, wens ek julle alles van die beste toe. Ons gaan die kennis nodig he in die nabye toekoms in DA regeerde munisipaliteite.
We need to improve and strengthen an organisational culture that is shaped and informed by the values we hold and what we do, not what we say.
In this regard our public representatives either enhance our brand or dilute it and this provides a potential risk to our party and its objectives. I challenge you today to ask yourself if you are a brand ambassador that multiplies our votes to the best of your ability. If you are honest with yourself and you are not doing this to the best of your ability, you are harming our cause.
Speaking of donors, let it be known that more people are giving us more money than ever before because of our image/reputation and they will give us even more if we grow and govern more places like our 5 strategic municipalities, NMBM, Kouga, Koukamma, Camdeboo and of course Baviaans.
You can only raise money IF you have a good reputation and IF you ask for it. If you don’t do this, you will not be able to establish a ring fenced war chest that allows you to go the extra mile in elections in your respective constituencies.
As the ANC unravels, they provide us with the best ever opportunity to make historic political gains in their stronghold province. This potential can however be wasted by internal challenges that could prove to be our biggest hurdle going into the future.
The containment of a fringe wing of disgruntled and obstructive individuals is happening organically but remains a potentially debilitating hurdle if we allow enough of these individuals to coalesce into a faction. Our provincial unity is the single most important asset that has allowed us to perform best as a province and to achieve what we have achieved to date.
If we lose this, we can kiss the PE Metro goodbye as well as the other strategic municipalities not to mention our historic status as the official opposition in this province.
In this regard I selected a 2nd paragraph from Kipling’s Poem IF:
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but can make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating
And yet don’t look too good or talk too wise…”
Infiltrators, gatekeepers and shirkers will derail our efforts and compromise our mission – Asibafuni kuthi ababantu. Ons verpes sulke mense
Recent by elections in our province have given us an important perspective that we must all learn from:
- Ward 10 Ross/Ray High % – High turnout
- Ward 10 Andy Jordan/Marshall High % – low turnout
- Ward 15 – Jomo Low % – great effort against great odds pushed the ANC close
- Ward 40 – Dacre Low turnout DA voters – high turnout ANC voters
Lastly I want to leave everyone in this Congress with some salutary sentiments from a speech made by Theodore Roosevelt, US President from 1901 – 1908
I chose this piece so that all who stand for office should know what it’s about. All who contest positions at this congress know what these are about and that all who will contest to be councillors in 2016 will know what is expected of them.
Almost more importantly we should all know that democracy is our holy grail and that if we participate therein, we must know there will be winners and losers. In the DA the winners don’t take all and the losers don’t lose all. This is what makes us different to the other political parties in this country and is something that we must guard with all our might lest we succumb to the travails that have destroyed so many other political parties.
Listen to what Roosevelt says in this regard in a speech entitled: “The man in the arena”.
“It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.
Who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.
But who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause.
Who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Athol Trollip, MPL
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