DA leader John Steenhuisen has thanked his party for showing the best of itself during the Covid-19 pandemic.Addressing the DA congress on Sunday, Steenhuisen lauded how the Western Cape government, led by his party, performed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If it weren’t for this challenging year, we would not have seen the very best of the DA up against the very worst of the ANC. We always speak of the ‘DA difference’, the tangible benefits of living in a town, city or province, where the DA governs. And, normally, this difference is built up over years and years of perfecting systems, of finding the right people and of trimming the sails of our policies just right.
“But this year, that difference was compressed into just seven months of Covid response. This has made it just real, and incredibly real, and very visible. Never before has the water between the DA and the ANC in government been as clear and blue and as vast as it is right now,” said Steenhuisen.
He said with all eyes on the government of the Western Cape government, led by premier Alan Winde and the DA, which was an early epicentre of Covid-19, the response was near faultless.
Steenhuisen said when infections in the rest of the country started to spread, the hopeless inadequacies of the ANC were exposed.
“The speed and efficiency in which hospitals were repurposed and field hospitals were set up and staffed in the Western Cape stand untouchable as a benchmark in SA. This should never have been in question though. Barely a year earlier, the province had emerged from the worst and the longest drought in history and there, too, the DA governments of the City of Cape Town and Western Cape proved to be up to the task,” said Steenhuisen.
He said even though his party was in opposition nationally, it always set the benchmark and should be proud of that and use that to its advantage.
“We have a year now in which to convince voters in municipalities and metros across the country of that DA difference and nothing is more convincing than results,” said Steenhuisen.
He said the DA governments in municipalities and the Western Cape were the strength of the party and their biggest weapon in next year’s local government elections.
But the DA leader did not spare his wrath for the media, saying it was one of the party’s opponents.
“There are plenty of people willing us to fail. There are plenty of people who cannot wait for the first DA misstep so that they can draw parallel with decades of ANC misrule. We are indeed held to a higher standard and we are judged on a completely different scorecard by the commentariat that cannot seem to escape that ANC’s grip on SA politics and life. Believe me, this frustrates me as much it does you.
“But here is the thing: we either throw our hands up and complain about the unfair treatment by the press, or we can see it as the reflection of the expectation people still have for us,” said Steenhuisen.