Following the anti-Zuma protest action led by various civil society organisations and political opposition parties, Freedom Day 2017 marked a bigger platform for these groups to voice their united frustration against the current administration.
Many South Africans embarked on campaigns to ‘Save South Africa’, ‘Pray for South Africa’ and much more. Perhaps the most interesting movement is the one created by various leaders of opposition parties; the Freedom Movement.
Spearheaded by the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and other parties, the group’s first united action took place in Pretoria on Thursday from the Caledonian Stadium.
The movement is focussed on ridding partisan lines and focusing on united goals for the South African people.
The formation of the movement comes a few days after Maimane and other leaders have speculated that political coalitions could see the overturning of the ANC in the next national elections in 2019.
Although emotive and idealistic, the speech does well in rallying the South African public out of political apathy and into a new political mentality that looks past party lines.
Below is the full speech given by DA leader Mmusi Maimane during this rally.
My fellow South Africans,
It gives me great pleasure to call you that: my fellow South Africans. Because that is what we are today.
Yes, we come from different political parties, trade unions, churches and civil society groups, but today we are here as South Africans.
We stand united by nothing other than our love for our country.
We’ve been here before. On this day in 1994 South Africans came together to vote for a new future.
It was an incredible day.
We showed the world that the spirit of the South African people cannot be crushed.
We showed that we can unite in the pursuit of a better life.
We showed that we are a people who love freedom, and we are prepared to fight for it.
Today we are here as a movement of South Africans, brought together by our common goal: Freedom for all who live here.
We represent political parties.
We represent labour movements.
We represent civil society groups – churches, non-governmental organisations, universities and business.
We have come together to save our democracy from a corrupt government.
We have come together because we believe that freedom must be fought for in every generation.
We have come together because we believe unity is strength.
Unity doesn’t mean you’re the same. It means you’re together.
Today we stand together. United in our diversity.
Under the banner of the Freedom Movement, we will channel the hope and the passion of millions of South Africans who believe in the future of this great nation.
I am privileged to share the stage today with leaders from across the spectrum.
Leaders like Mosioua Lekota from COPE and Bantu Holomisa from UDM.
Leaders like Giet Khosa, from the National Religious Leaders Council, Wayne Duvenhage from OUTA, Prince Mashele representing academia and civic leader, Zelda la Grange.
We are also honoured to have the support of a man who has dedicated his entire life to the pursuit of freedom for all South Africans, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
We may all be from different backgrounds, but today we stand here as allies.
All of us have seen what happens when you give one man too much power.
We have seen what happens when one party is in power for too long.
Together, we are building a new movement to realign politics as we know it.
And, together, we extend a hand of friendship to other parties and individuals who want to join us.
Fellow South Africans,
When I look to the future of this country, I see beyond the divisions of the past.
When I look to the future, I see past the narrow party politics of the present.
When I look to the future, I see people who aren’t defined by their political choices. People who no longer have to say “I am ANC” or “I am COSATU” or “I am DA”.
When I look to the future, I see a new political formation in power.
A new political formation of leaders from across the political spectrum.
A new political formation free of corruption and free of corrupting influences.
A new political formation that defends our Constitution.
A new political formation of, and for, the people.
A new political formation united in the pursuit of prosperity for all.
Because the old order is dying and a new struggle is born.
The old order gave us corruption, looting and the abuse of power.
It gave us an oppressive government that abuses state institutions to fight its fights and settle its scores.
It saw millions of people trapped in poverty and unemployment.
But we’re witnessing the dying kicks of the old order, and the rise of a new struggle.
A new fight against oppression begins today.
A new fight for opportunities begins today.
A new fight for freedom starts now.