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The UDM had a successful 2nd National Congress attended by 2200 delegates from the 9 provinces.  The Congress, held at the Pretoria Show grounds on 8 and 9 December, discussed and adopted policy and strategy to broaden the UDM support base in ensuring that the UDM becomes the alternative choice for government towards the 2004 elections.

In his opening address, President Holomisa highlighted the need for state intervention in the economy in partnership with business and labour to ensure that the necessary real economic growth that is required to improve the lives of South Africans is achieved.  This is especially true as far as job creation is concerned.  He devoted part of his speech to highlight the failures of the ANC government in addressing poverty and unemployment and their failure in fighting crime and HIV/AIDS.  He lamented the ANC for attempting to neutralize all opposition by buying them in, through offering them positions, or discrediting political parties and even opposition that he experiences in his own ranks.  Mr Holomisa wished the ANC "good luck" in trying to do the same with the UDM.  He made it clear that the ANC has moved to the right of the political spectrum and that the UDM gladly takes up the central position left void by this move of the ANC.

Against this background and after long deliberations from delegates the Congress adopted the ten prioritised policies that were tabled, including a new economic vision, which clearly differentiate the UDM from the ANC.

Congress gave its leaders a clear mandate to vigorously recruit the disillusioned supporters of the ANC, based on this, now clear distinction, between the UDM and the ANC.  The majority of South Africans and their needs have been abandoned; their lives have not changed for the better.  The UDM who is the only other realistic and viable alternative for the majority of South Africans will continue to pursue a better life for all South Africans.

The confused and deserted supporters of the New National Party and the disillusioned supporters of the Democratic Alliance will also be deliberately and actively recruited.  The delegates, representing more than a thousand branches, in a clear demonstration of the commitment to the vision and the mission of the UDM accepted this challenge and mandated its leadership at all levels to embark on a programme of action to achieve this.

This deliberate attempt to recruit supporters from the ANC, the DA and the NNP is the only way that real and lasting political realignment will manifest itself.  Realignment can occur on the one condition that all South Africans must be united.

The UDM furthermore took a decision to structure relationships with labour unions in order to achieve our common and shared intent to improve the livelihood of the workers, their skills and to create more jobs.  Congress therefore mandated that discussions with organised labour be pursued.

We leave this Congress with a clear vision on where we are going.  We know what it is that we want to achieve.  Our structures and supporters are motivated and empowered to focus to pursue the goal of building the UDM as the alternative government for all South Africans.  The UDM sends a clear message to political pundits - WATCH THIS SPACE.

Bantu Holomisa, MP
President United Democratic Movement
082 552 4156

08 December 2001

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