Address by the President of the United Democratic Movement at the UDM Mpumalanga Provincial Council - on 2 February 2008 in Standerton

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The outcome of the Polokwane Conference of the ANC has created a lot of uncertainty about the future of the future of people leading the national, provincial and local government and governmental institutions. The signs of a purge are already visible and this will affect service delivery even further, precisely because the civil service under the ANC has become incredibly politicised.

The so-called new NEC of the ANC is threatening to remove those who resist them, but they have not been clear about what exactly this “resistance” is. They have often said, before Polokwane and afterwards, that their policies are no different from the policies the ANC have been pursuing, but then this idea of people in government resisting them looks like a false accusation designed to allow the new NEC to pursue personal vendettas against people that they view as being from another ANC faction. In the process they are bringing the entire country into disrepute and causing dangerous uncertainty in the minds of investors.

The question is how the people of this country will have to endure these ANC shenanigans that cost all of us so dearly?

A good example is their decision to disband the Scorpions but without being able to advance any valid or coherent reasons.

As the ANC turns inward to ferret out those they consider to be “undesirables”, service delivery and good governance will take a backseat.

The question thus arises: How do we as citizens address all these problems facing the nation when there is such a lack of accountability and arrogance of power? An example of this is the Eskom mess, where nobody has taken full accountability and the list of excuses and promises grows on a daily basis.

There was a clarion call from across all sectors of society that the style of leadership by Mbeki and his Government was not good, that there seemed to be arrogance and an uncaring attitude.

But 45 days after the new ANC NEC was elected it doesn’t seem as if they have any concrete programme, or even the intention, to address the urgent national issues.

Instead we see vendettas, and already the new ANC NEC seem to be fighting amongst themselves. It would seem that some of them only used Zuma’s popularity to gain power and are now ready to ditch him.

It looks like the ANC is stumbling from one disaster to another. It is for that reason, among others, that the UDM has proposed to sponsor a National Convention that operates outside the confines of party politics.

The UDM identified that there is an urgent need for a national debate and consensus on several matters which participants in the Convention can add to, amongst others:
• The economy.
• Crime and corruption.
• Threats to the judiciary.
• Education.
• The lack of service delivery which has been occasioned in many areas by infighting in the ruling party. How long must the nation wait for this disease in the ruling party to heal itself, if ever?
• The role of the SABC.
• The de-politicisation of the Chapter 9 institutions (such as Public Protector, IEC etc) and the civil service in general
• The electoral system
• Social cohesion – racism, tribalism and xenophobia

To the UDM structures; I call on you to develop the UDM in every corner of the Province. The UDM must be available in every town, township and rural area.

In this Province we must position the UDM as a mouthpiece for the people, because the greed of the ANC has led to the people, especially the poor, being neglected.

The UDM Youth and Women structures must be strengthened, as is necessary for the mother body as well.

You are also called upon to go to the Traditional Leaders, churches, business, labour and all civil society stakeholders to engage them on the need for a National Convention, which we aim to hold by June or July this year. As South Africans we can’t simply fold our arms and watch our country going down the drain.

We are told the economy is doing well, but out in the streets we see so much suffering. There is a need for this Convention to review South Africa’s progress since 1994 and to chart the way forward. The promises of the ANC have not yielded the results we expected. It is high time that we as a nation take it upon ourselves to map the way forward.

People have been calling for change and for accountability and that is why we are suggesting a number of electoral reforms. Constituencies must be mixed with the current PR system, and the President of the country must be separately and directly elected by the voters, not just one faction within the ruling party.

For the past 14 years we have been held captive by the promises, assurances and propaganda of the ANC. We have noted that the ANC Government style is not different from the Apartheid Regime’s approach when it comes to propaganda. The state-controlled media has been used to paint a rosy picture, but when you watch e-TV you see something entirely different. One would be forgiven for thinking that you are looking at two different countries!

The time of brainwashing is over.

Thank you

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