Address by the (UDM President at a UDM Rally at the Tembalethu Hall in George: Welcoming 365 new UDM members (5 October 2008)
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am here today on the invitation of the UDM Western Cape Provincial Executive Committee to welcome 365 new members to the UDM. Notably the majority are coming from the ruling ANC, and a few from the DA.
Before I came here I had a meeting with the leadership of the local taxi industry who have raised a number of issues. These issues were taken up with the present Government for the past ten years, but have fallen on deaf ears. Like you, they have come to realise that the ANC Government doesn't like to consult.
George and the surrounding area is one of the famous tourist destinations internationally. The challenge facing the town council, the community and indeed the provincial government is to devise an integrated approach to development, which meets environmental and ecological standards, whilst uplifting all communities. It also means that infrastructure must allow tourists access to all areas including the townships such as this one. You need to work on ways of cleaning your neighbourhood and networking with each other on security to make it safe for visitors to come here. You don't have mines, but you have great natural beauty so you can turn tourism into your wealth creator.
The municipality in this area should be in the forefront of intensifying tourism-related training and incentives; for instance in terms of transport, tour operators, accommodation, and also training local people to be more aware of eco-tourism opportunities. All of these initiatives will create jobs and business opportunities for the people of this area.
One thing that we have not addressed as a nation is to develop a system of integrating our cities with the surrounding townships. That is a major challenge. A UDM Government would pilot a scheme to bring together all the great minds - such as architects, town planners and community leaders - to resolve this issue. We need to discuss as a nation how the productivity and lifestyles of South Africans are affected by the distance the majority of people have to travel places of work. In the Garden Route we can see how the former black townships are located far from the work opportunities with little or no transport infrastructure to get people to work. When you look at the Garden Route cities and towns you can see how the formerly white neighbourhoods are well-developed, whilst the other townships lag far behind, this disparity must be addressed. The challenge is to implement integrated infrastructure development to address the needs of all city and town dwellers, irrespective of which areas had previously benefited under the old dispensation.
It is a pity that the ruling party, who was in the vanguard of the battle for freedom and equality, has failed to address this disparity. It is a shame that a tourist who visited here just before 1994, would be unable to see, if they returned today, any improvement in the townships in almost the entire Western Cape. When you land in Cape Town with the aircraft you are greeted with the lack of development along the N2, especially in terms of housing. Unfortunately the local, provincial and national governments are always shifting the blame to each other.
Welcome to the new members of the UDM; you must understand that the United Democratic Movement is committed to the original agenda of this country when we as a nation had agreed at the outset of democracy that we must improve the quality of life of all South Africans. So therefore, while we are in the opposition benches, our philosophy has been not only to criticise, but also to offer alternatives. It is why the UDM has been campaigning for a National Indaba to review our progress since 1994, especially on the Economy, Crime and Social Cohesion. We raise this because there are certain threats to the miracle we attained in 1994. Indeed when you see people running around with t-shirts promoting ethnicity, it is worrying given the dangers of ethnic violence we have previously seen in this country and elsewhere on the continent. What makes it worse is that these t-shirts are worn by ruling party members.
The fact that you are joining the UDM, also demonstrates that you are politically aware, because in the past three years or more the ANC has increasingly put aside the development agenda and focussed on internal squabbles. Service delivery is standing still. The ANC's infighting is well-documented from local government all the way to the highest office in the land. If there was no infighting Mbeki would still be President of the country.
Therefore we must work hard in this area and ensure that we spread our influence throughout the entire Garden Route to make this UDM-land. In that way we can unite people from all communities, as we can already see today by welcoming people from all the communities and demographics.
Then we can begin to turn the attention back to service delivery and away from this infighting about who has access to the tenders. You can trace this infighting back to the Arms Deal and through to who gets the local tender to build a school. That is the crux of the ANC's fight - a battle for who can exploit state resources to enrich themselves.
This ANC infighting has led to talk of establishing a new political party by the comrades who no longer control the ANC. So now we have even a significant number of ANC members saying that the ANC has lost its way and forgotten the Freedom Charter. It is a vindication of what the UDM and others have been saying; that the ANC is not leading the country to a better future.
Whilst the ANC is at war with itself we need to strengthen the UDM to continuously and jealously guard against attacks on the Constitution, as well as stand against abuse of power and taxpayers money.
Thus far we have been ignoring Gwede Mantashe and others mouthing off about the UDM and its leadership. Frankly, we have better and more important things to do. But I keep being asked what our response is, since Mr Mantashe and others keep spouting their nonsense about the UDM.
For the record, Mr Mantashe, the UDM and its leaders were never a breakaway from the ANC; the UDM was born after a thorough consultation with South Africans from across the country on whether there was a need for a new political party. As I predicted when we launched the UDM, the downfall of the ANC will be greediness. Mr Mantashe's constant references to us is contradictory, if we are so irrelevant why do people recognise the name of UDM when he uses us as a weak example to deflect attention away from his sinking ship?
He must realise their project as SACP members to hijack the ANC is faltering. They thought they could use Jacob Zuma and his frustrations to ride into high office, but the time is quickly running out, Mr Zuma must still face charges or forever have the cloud hanging over him. This parasitic project of the SACP is soon going to backfire, there are people who are resisting the selling of the soul of the ANC to the highest bidder by a desperate man trying to avoid facing the music.
If you think that the philosophy of communism is the answer, then take that to the voters and see if they endorse your loopy ideas. After all, the standard of living of the SACP leadership is no different from the bourgeoisie ANC leadership that they accuse of being heartless capitalists.
Mr Mantashe realises that he won't be able to stop the voters from supporting other parties, even those disgruntled ANC members, because this is not the South Africa of 1959, 1978 or 1990.
It might be wise after the next elections for all parties and South Africans interested in changing the political landscape to meet and begin the discussion of how we can compete as an alternative government in the 2014 elections. In the meantime there would be no harm for us to talk after the election about forming coalition governments wherever our combined support outstrips the ANC. The important thing is to reduce the ANC's majority in this election.
South Africa doesn't deserve a one-party state, and we certainly don't deserve to be governed by ANC puppets controlled by communists who don't even have the guts to participate in elections.
We believe as John F Kennedy said "that a rising tide lifts all boats". In the economy and in politics it means that every South African should benefit from the resources we all share. It is the right of every South African to support their own party, the new ANC leadership need to swallow their pride and accept that the hour has arrived. The ANC of yesteryear, the much-vaunted "broad church" is now split into two.
I thank you.
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