by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP President of the
United Democratic Movement at the UDM Manifesto Launch Election 1999
It is most appropriate that the release today of our manifesto coincides with the weekend of our National Youth Conference, because we are charting a future, which will be led by the youth. Our objectives therefore address the needs of the future which belongs to them. We are grateful to our youth movement for inviting us to share ideas with them and keep us relevant to their needs and aspirations.
In our manifesto we address the historical imbalances which are the heritage of this century. It is up to us to ensure that we do not enter the new millennium with the baggage and legacy of conflict, corruption, greed and selfishness of the 20th century. We must begin a fresh and promising era. This is the challenge facing us all.
On the 2nd of June 1999, South Africans will be voting in the last South African elections this century. These elections are of a tremendous significance to the people of South Africa who will be choosing which political party has the most relevant vision and best capacity to lead the country into the next millennium.
The main challenge of this years election is to give hope to millions of disillusioned South Africans who have seen most of the promises made by incumbent government evaporate before their eyes. South Africans demand an apology from the ANC government for failing them. Further, the choice which will be made on 2nd June 1999 will be about building a government that is clean, accountable and who cares for the people. It will also be about a government which will make South Africa a competent nation that enjoys the support of its citizens and the respect of other nations.
As UDM we must give leadership and clarity to a people whose material well-being has degenerated to unparalleled levels even under apartheid. We must restore faith in governance by reversing the process of disempowerment. Our poor working people have been systematically edged out of employment with no prospects of alternative employment for them. Millions of the unemployed, whose ranks are annually swelled by school leavers and more retrenchments, stare a bleak future in the eye.
The 1994 elections in our country provided a historic framework for the transition from apartheid oppression towards an era of democracy and prosperity. The transition was conceived in various phases with each phase costing the lives of many South Africans as they, in different ways, struggled to develop a common vision and purpose in the search for a democratic society.
Unfortunately, for South African people, the reality in our country indicate that the ANC-led government neither has the will nor the ability to govern. This reality is seen in the escalation of unemployment, crime, interest rates, corruption and the general state of institutional decay in all spheres of government.
We in the UDM must arrest this downward spiral which is turning state departments and corporations into a playground for ANC deployed members, who line their pockets by driving other black and white South Africans into the streets in the name of down-sizing and rationalisation.
The UDM will substitute a new economic philosophy for ANCs GEAR. The ANCs policies are impervious to the needs of the disadvantaged who are bewildered by the disregard of their needs by a government they voted into power. The poor have paid the capital price to ensure the success of a struggle they waged in the fore-front when those who now enjoy the fruits of their labour were touring the capitals of the world.
Our manifesto is a statement of intent, which provides a framework for a ten-year period within which we would govern when elected to government. The manifesto seeks to address the glaring national grievances and provides alternatives and solutions in the future as the way forward.
Inspired by our unifying love for our country and respect of her people for each other we will address these grievances. It is only by means of genuine co-operation and partnership that we, South Africans, will be empowered to ensure a better quality of life and individual freedom for every citizen, family and community. This will be based on good governance and civil order.
One of the most serious flaws in the economic policy of the present government has been a blind leap onto a band-wagon of globalisation without taking the necessary measures to protect local emerging industries and markets which have become the dumping ground for cheap foreign goods. The demise of local industries as a result of unfair competition resulting from inferior technology of the sanctions era has resulted in massive job losses and stifling of economic growth.
Our manifesto recognises that globalisation is a reality, but argues for a balanced global strategy that does not reduce South Africa into a satellite economy. An UDM government will develop an economic policy that will enable our economy to withstand the external shocks that have rocked the Asian tigers and other emerging markets. To that end the UDM has adopted a policy of enterprise development to empower South Africans to create wealth and thereby narrowing the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
However, globalisation accounts for only part of our economic woes. Lack of investor confidence has been occasioned by lawlessness and escalating crime. Rightly or wrongly there is a growing perception that the relocating and delisting of mining giants like Anglo-American is linked to the deteriorating law and order and lack of confidence in the future of South Africa. We need to arrest this process and restore confidence.
In this regard, the UDM will adopt realistic and committed strategies to stop the rampant crime wave and to transform the penal code into an effective mechanism for punishing wrong doers. In line with our philosophy of an integrated approach, we propose a single Ministry of Civil Order. This Ministry of Civil Order will combine the current ministries of Justice, Safety and Security, Correctional Services, National Intelligence and Defence into one, effective mechanism to combat crime and restore civil order in South Africa.
In doing so we shall instil pride and commitment in our law enforcement agencies to ensure their loyalty and dedication to their job of protecting the public and divest them of the feeling of despair and disillusionment at the hands of a government which treats them with contempt.
We will give the people an opportunity to decide whether the life of a murderer is more valuable than that of its victim, by holding a referendum on the death penalty.
The UDM recognises that while students in centres of learning must be given a hearing and allowed to make a meaningful contribution to the learning process, their primary responsibility to themselves and their parents who pay their fees is to restore the culture of learning. Learn in the process and equip them to salvage the disadvantaged from the throes of perpetual enslavement. The students of today and in the future must take a leadership position in society which only skills can assure.
Conversely, we will not countenance lawlessness, anarchy and disrespect for authority law and order.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the foreign policy of the UDM will determinedly work towards reclaiming the international opportunities squandered under most favourable circumstances. We will play a leading role internationally by assiduously co-operating with other states, the U.N., the O.A.U. and the Non-aligned Movement to protect and promote human rights and democracy on a universal basis.
The UDM believe that South Africas role on our continent and in our region can be meaningful without being hegemonic and coercive in our approach. For that to be a reality we need a foreign policy that reflects the wishes of our people and the wisdom of our parliament so that we are not accused of following destabilisation policies of the apartheid era. Therefore in our region, the UDM government will play a significant role through co-operation and consultation in all forms of interactions including trade, investments security and other forms of partnerships in order to bring shared development and happiness to the many disadvantaged in our region and continent who have yet to realise the material benefits of political liberation.
As far as the elections are concerned, we are fully prepared for a hostile winter election. The ANC, by its own admission, is mobilising its forces to stop the growth of the UDM all over South Africa. We are hardly surprised that no other party has been targeted, like ours, because scientific forecasts indicate that the UDM is the fastest growing party in South Africa. The UDM is the only party that can erode the power base of the ANC. It is up to the UDM and all its supporters that all the checks and balances as enshrined in our constitution are guaranteed. As long as South Africa is being seen by the international world as drifting towards a one-party state, investor confidence will elude us.
It is for this reason that we are calling for a more objective and non-partisan election monitoring mechanisms. To this end I have recommended to the I.E.C. Commissioners to convene a summit of all the leaders of the registered political parties to clear some concerns related to the levelling of the political playing field.
However, it is to the credit of our leaders at all levels that our membership growth patterns reflect that we have support in all South African communities irrespective of colour, race or class. This is testimony to our total break with the past and the acceptance of the UDM as a political home for all South Africans.
The UDM has a message for all South Africans. Our lack of resources should not constrain the distribution of this manifesto. We appeal to all South Africans to make this document accessible to all voters. This will enable them to make informed decisions when they vote.
We have moved from the past and converged on a common course to a shared future. Any suggestions, as have been made, that we are a marriage of convenience or a home of outcasts is devoid of truth. We have severed all links with the past. We are a party of the future. We are a party of hope. Those who think otherwise are themselves extinct dinosaurs.
In summary, the UDM believes in alternative, independent and competitive politics and responsible government; UDM believes in empowering all South Africans; UDM offers hope; this is our challenge.
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