|UDM participation in Western Cape municipal councils - memo to UDM Western Cape Secretary from the UDM President (23 March 2006)|
|The abovementioned matter has reference.
You will recall on 22 March 2006 I met with the Western Cape PEC and was given a full briefing about the situation following the decision to form a government in the Cape Town Metropolitan Council. I wish to thank you for that briefing, and in due course I will in turn provide a full briefing to the next National Executive Committee meeting.
However, I wish to express my observations and some concerns. The politics of the Western Cape are well documented, especially the race for control among the NNP/ANC/DA. There has been, rightly or wrongly, a perception that the politics of the province and the city is laced with racism. The tendency seems to be that whosoever gains the upper hand immediately seeks to settle scores and replace perceived partisan officials with their own loyalists, and that this often has a racial undertone too. It is precisely as a result of this background that you see race featuring in election campaigns and debates. It is therefore imperative that our structures in their participation in the Council and through the communication, activities and delivery of the Cape Town Metro must be clearly seen to be free from racial discrimination. We must avoid appearing like voting cattle of the DA. Especially when the decisions of the Council are communicated they must be communicated as the joint decision of the multi-party government, not just the DA. So far, although the Exco has not been appointed or the Council sitting, we've already heard in the media of major decisions being pursued by the DA. Yes, some councillors of the DA in the Metro have already been briefed by City Management and apparently the employment of some officials are already being questioned, but no Exco meetings have met to discuss these matters. The last thing we as the UDM want to be part of is any scheme to humiliate other citizens of this country. In conclusion, our members and other members of the forum of smaller parties should insist on a full briefing to the entire Exco by the current city management team before any decisions are taken. Such a briefing should cover what development plans and projects are currently underway in the city and what their status is. It is important that we ensure that developments already promised to the community or underway should not be disrupted or unjustly halted due to a change in government. We require a full briefing of the current status of all projects before we can determine our priorities and proceed from there.
As discussed yesterday the UDM immediately after the first Exco meeting will have to go to a strategic workshop to get a full briefing of what the Exco is discussing so that the UDM can decide for itself what it is the programmes and decisions that it intends to pursue. This workshop will empower our councillors and strengthen the capacity of the Council in general. The UDM cannot merely go into a caucus with other parties and become a rubberstamp for other parties' programmes; this is a joint government that requires us to participate as full members.