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1st SPEECH at Parliament

Madam Speaker, the President and honourable members of this House, on 27 September 1997, South Africans, in their diversity, launched a new political party called the UDM.

Our mission states that we will set free the creative power inherent in our diversity, and will co-operate with all stakeholders to ensure a quality life and individual freedom for every citizen, based on good governance and civil order, in order to become a winning nation. We congratulate the President and new Cabinet on their assumption of this heavy responsibility. We fully agree with the President that over the next five years we should concentrate on implementing transformation policies.

In the same vein, I want to appeal to his Cabinet to address, within the first 100 days, the backlogs created by their predecessors since 1994 in areas such as pension payments, package settlements, settlement of outstanding accounts to contracted companies which supplied books to schools, and built roads and government schools. Most of these affected people have broken families today because their promised packages have not been paid out. Some contractors had to close down because they were not paid.

One advantage of being here today is that we can present our mission and agenda on our own. We are immensely thankful to those who elected us against great odds. Our agenda is not going to be presented by others, and the distortions of our objections will cease.

Last week, the President outlined his plan of action with ideas not different from the fundamental principles in our manifesto. We are therefore happy to present the President with our manifesto which depicts a 10-year plan. Central to our plan is how to deal with job creation, crime and corruption.

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 the conflict, corruption, greed and selfishness of the 20th century. We must begin a fresh and promising era. This is the challenge facing us all. We have moved from the past and converged on a common course to a shared future. There is nothing in our manifesto which is antitransformation, racist or nonpatriotic. Those who think otherwise are themselves extinct dinosaurs.

Our manifesto recognises that globalisation is a reality, but argues for a balanced strategy which does not reduce South Africa to a satellite economy. South Africa must develop an economic policy which 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 to narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Therefore, the time has come for the Departments of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and Trade and Industry to co-ordinate their activities, because the architects of globalisation use "green tags" to set restrictive trade relations for the developing countries. It is important that when we sign international conventions, we unpack such conventions in order to measure their protective benefits to our people. The opinions of our social partners should also be sought. In the same vein, we have not noted that the President made reference to the sale of gold without expressing the country’s opposition to such sale of gold by the International Monetary fund.

Finally, we congratulate all new members of Parliament. Some of them – such as the hon. Gomomo, Nqakula, Cronin, Chief Nonkonyanqe, Chief Mtirara and others – are well known household names. People know that they have been selflessly committed to eliminating the gap between the two extreme worlds in our country. We acknowledge from personal experience the risks involved in continuing the champion the cause of the poor, but we urge them to be bravely committed to a patriotic criticism of Government in the pursuit of their national duty to the people and the country. They should not be intimidated by personal reprisals – they will survive them just as some of us have done.

We are all in this House to accelerate the national programme of transformation so the glaring landmarks of poverty, crime and corruption in Government can be eliminated.

Sibuyile bafana; Siza kudibana. [Guys, we are back; we will get you]

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