Sunday, November 16, 2008

Helen Zille relaunches the DA - full speech


I attended the re-launch of the Democratic Alliance yesterday (Sat, 15 November, 2008) at Constitution Hill. Helen Zille, the party leader, revealed the new logo and slogan and set about repositioning the strategic direction for the organisation. I have reproduced the speech below:

What we have unveiled here today is not just a new logo, a different look. This is not a marketing exercise. It's much, much more than that. It's our promise - a promise that we will deliver on the South African dream for the rainbow people.

We signal here today a new approach - to South Africa, to the voters, to the future. There will be a new offer; a new style of campaigning; a new determination to address the injustices and transcend the racial divisions of our country's past.

We share a dream for South Africa with millions of people who do not yet identify with the DA, and millions more who do. Our mission, going forward, is to turn that dream into a reality.

We saw last week how in the United States of America, Barack Obama made history by overcoming history. He convinced people that they could. And so can we.

We can overcome our past; we can turn South Africa into a safe, prosperous, free society in which everyone has a fair shot at achieving their dreams, irrespective of the circumstances of their birth.

But as we move forward, we will not cut ourselves adrift from our animating values or our vision for South Africa. On the contrary, our core beliefs and the success we have enjoyed to date, are the foundation for our regeneration and renewal.

And so I want to spell out very clearly what stays the same, and what will change.

What stays the same is our vision of an open opportunity society for all, founded on the bedrock of our core values.

We have always cherished the rights and freedoms of every person, enshrined in a Constitution. We still do.

We have always stood for equal and ever-expanding opportunity. Not for some, but for all. We still do.

We have always believed in the dignity and equality of each and every person, and promoted the language, culture and heritage of all the rainbow people. We still do.

We have always fought for the security of the children, women and men of our country, who deserve to live without fear of criminals. We still do.

We have always been committed to clean government, and exposing corruption wherever it is found. We still are.

We have always believed in an economy driven by the market, appropriately regulated, focused on creating jobs, and a welfare safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves. We still do.

We have always championed tolerance, excellence and personal responsibility. They are core values.

We champion them still.

That's what stays the same.

Now here's what's new.

The DA is a party of government.

Let me say that again: Ons is ‘n party van regering; Siza kuba ngumbutho olawulayo kuRhulumente.

"Viva DA, viva! Viva, Helen Zille, viva!"

We are in government in Cape Town and in many other municipalities. We aim to be in government in various provinces after next year's election. We are determined to be in government in cities and towns across South Africa in 2011.

We will be part of national government in the near future.

Of course, where we are in opposition, we will always provide the critical oversight and policy alternatives that everyone expects of us, and our country requires of us.

But our purpose is not to be an opposition party. It is to be a party of government.

And so, from now on, the DA no longer offers opposition and nothing else.

From today, we offer the people of South Africa a government that really can deliver a better future. A future in which every person is free. Where everyone has access to life-changing opportunities. Where growth and prosperity are shared by all. Where every child is protected and safe. Where each and every language and culture is respected and protected.

That is our dream. That is our promise. That is what we offer and will deliver to the rainbow people.

Our new offer is reflected in the policy proposals we are currently rolling out, covering every area of public life in South Africa today.

Only the DA has a comprehensive policy alternative to the challenges our country faces. Because underlying our offer is real substance - comprehensively researched and carefully considered.

As you can see, our new logo reflects our new offer. It is a morning sun rising over the Rainbow Nation. It represents our dream of an open opportunity society for all. It lifts our sights and our spirits. It signals hope. And it is grounded in our love for diversity.

The DA is a party that cherishes diversity. Some people believe merit and diversity have to be traded off against each other in South Africa today. We say not so. Not at all.

Diversity lies at the heart of merit. Because diversity adds strength, adds insight, adds value, to each decision we make and every initiative we take.

And so we will ensure diversity inside our party, and fight for it outside of our party. It is a core value.

It will not be compromised.

That is why you will see a new DA emerge from here on. More diverse. More reflective of our rich racial, linguistic and cultural heritage. And more committed to providing excellence and equity in public service than ever before.

Friends, the DA loves South Africa. We love our rainbow people in all their glorious diversity. They are our inspiration and our hope.

We love the Constitution, which binds us to one another after so much division and despair.

We love the land itself: the winelands of the Cape; the haunting horizons of the Karoo, the Highveld after a thunderstorm; the majesty of the Drakensberg.

The DA will not let down the land we love. We will never give up our dream for the rainbow people.

We will go from this place and campaign, every day and every night. But not just for votes in an election. This is not an election campaign launch. This is the launch of a new vision for South Africa; a renewed determination to make the South African dream a living reality.

And so we will campaign without cease or respite, before and after the election, until our country really is a land of hope and opportunity, of peace and prosperity, of safety and security. For all the rainbow people.

Een nasie, met een toekoms

Sinye isizwe, linye ikamva

One nation, with one future.


Photos by David Ansara


  1. I don't get this: Diversity lies at the heart of merit.

  2. I guess Zille is trying to counter the perception that the DA is opposed to transformation. She is saying that merit-based appointments aren't necessarily going to prejudice against people of colour.

    That sure sounds nice, but I'm afraid transformation doesn't happen that organically, it needs to be actively promoted.

    Nick, thanks for the comment. You sure have a lot of blogs I see. That's a record as far as I have browsed. Which is the one you post on the most?