As another year draws to a close I’d like to reflect on the achievements of the DA Abroad in 2011 – it’s been a great year for us and it has all been thanks to you. Our successes have only been possible through your support, the support we’ve received from the Democratic Alliance at home and the energetic activities of our Organising Committee members and representatives around the world.
The DA Abroad was established in late 2009 as a network for South Africans living abroad to keep in touch with what’s happening in our country and to contribute to its future and success. These goals are achieved by participating in specific campaigns and projects that help our country, and creating international awareness, interest and pressure to ensure their success.
This year the DA Abroad was active in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Namibia and the United States, and some of our successes include:
- Raising international awareness on key issues affecting the South African economy at a public event in London where we hosted Dr Dion George MP, DA Shadow Minister of Finance. [See the pics and read the speech]
- Launching “You Decide” in London – which includes this monthly column, and a monthly debate night – to ensure South Africans abroad are informed about issues back home and to generate debate on these issues. Next year we’re hoping to launch more of these in our hubs around the world. [Read all the previous columns]
- Holding a peaceful protest against the Secrecy Bill in front of the South African High Commission in London, generating a great deal of public and press attention abroad and back home. This fight will continue into 2012. [See the pics]
- Making excellent progress on the Global Voting Campaign – we tabled a question in parliament, which we believe, propelled the IEC to announce that they will be looking into the issue of voting abroad. We will continue to apply pressure to the government and the IEC to ensure that all South Africans living abroad will be able to register and vote conveniently in 2014, and are prepared to take this to the courts if necessary. [Read our Voting Abroad FAQs]
- And lastly, kicking off our Adopt a School Project in conjunction with the Ubunye-Unity Trust and the DA Young Professionals Network.
2012 is going to be an exciting year – we’ll continue to develop our footprint around the world, and look forward to working with you to ensure a positive future for our country.
This column first appeared in The South African, a UK newspaper, on the 18 December 2011.