Meyer and Holomisa hold rally in KwaMhlanga statement by UDM Media Manager (23 November 1997)

The quiet of the late Sunday morning in Kwaggafontein near KwaMhlanga (Mpumalanga) was shattered today by the beating of drums, rhythmic singing and ululating women when Bantu Holomisa and Roelf Meyer visited the rural highveld area of Mpumalanga for a rally in the local stadium.

700 supporters from the area, many of the women in the colourful Ndebele traditional dress and men sporting UDM T-shirts, enthusiastically cheered the two UDM leaders in a program of song and dance.

In the leaders’ addresses, Holomisa emphasised the crime question, referring to President Mandela’s acknowledgement that MK fighters may be involved in the killing of Free State farmers. Holomisa said that only half of the original number of MK soldiers had been integrated in the SANDF. Many of those have since left the Force, complaining of integration irregularities. What happened to all the ex-fighters? If they weren’t integrated in the SANDF, were they at least integrated in society? Holomisa demanded a proper government investigation into the issue of the armed forces of the liberation movements.

Regarding the Truth Commission, Holomisa emphasised the UDM’s viewpoint that all people who can shed relevant light on our past should be encouraged to do so before the TRC, including people such as Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Mr PW Botha. A lot of allegations have been made against Madikizela-Mandela recently, but why have the allegations not been investigated earlier and the culprits exposed?

Regarding the position of tribal chiefs, Holomisa said that a policy commission on tribal authorities of the UDM has been tasked with coming up with a workable solution to the issue.

Roelf Meyer said that the UDM is growing to be the only party able to challenge the ANC, whilst the ANC is increasingly becoming more like the old NP regime in the way it is consolidating power and not giving attention to the real needs of the people on the ground. Possibly the greatest challenge now is that of job creation. There has been no growth in the number of jobs offered over the last years, which is so disconcerting that the UDM is planning an economic workshop focussing on the issue. It will be held in the new year and involve all interested parties.

Meyer also emphasised that other issues will be dealt with in the same way, showing that the UDM is not all talk, but means business. In the quest for the hearts and minds of all South Africans, the UDM will try to outvote other parties in stressing that the apartheid struggle is over, but that the new struggle is for the future of South Africa.

About 40 chiefs and Inkozi also attended the rally from areas as far as Piet Retief and Secunda. The chairman of the meeting was local UDM leader Prince James Mhlangu.

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