Dear Mrs Mbete
The abovementioned matter refers. I was informed today that the UDM had been given one
minute to participate in the debate on the State of the Nation address scheduled for 13
and 14 February 2007.
I want to state unambiguously that this is simply not acceptable; how am I to express the
concerns and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of UDM voters regarding the State of the
Nation in a single minute? It is preposterous to suggest that the UDM would able to make
any meaningful contribution to the debate with one minute of speaking time. The time
allocation as it currently stands is stifling multi-party democracy and preventing the
legitimate representatives of a significant number of voters from being heard. I cannot
fathom the thinking behind the time allocations; if there is supposedly a proportional
arrangement why is the UDM given as little time as one-person parties?
If this time allocation is not increased to a reasonable period (as was allocated to us in
previous years), I assure you that the UDM will not attend the debate simply to listen to
hours of propaganda and one-sided rubbish from one party. If our concerns are not
addressed, the one minute that has been allocated to the UDM can be donated to another
party, because we will not give false legitimacy to a one-sided backslapping exercise
masquerading as genuine democratic debate. Outside the chambers of Parliament large
sections of our constituencies are wallowing in abject poverty, whilst none have escaped
the terror and violence of rampant criminals. Yet it seems as if a culture of silence is
more important to some than addressing our shared challenges.
Bantu Holomisa, MP