UDM launches 2009 election campaign and innovates with UDMConnect statement by the UDM President (8 October 2008)

At a media briefing in Johannesburg today UDM President Bantu Holomisa kicked off the party’s 2009 election campaign around five key themes: Socio-economic development, crime, education, corruption and electoral reform.

Describing his party’s approach to each, he stressed the current government’s failures to serve and protect its citizens and its inability to demonstrate accountability. He emphasised that the UDM would launch a comprehensive election manifesto once the poll date has been announced.

“The ANC has forgotten who it serves – the voters,” he said.

Holomisa said that over the past decade the ANC has refused to hear what South Africans say and lately show nothing but arrogance in their unilateral decision-making and self-preservation, no matter which ‘faction’ it is at the helm. He cited the following concerns:

• The ANC doesn’t hear when people say the opportunity to work and have an income remains their single most important concern. The UDM shares the view of John F. Kennedy, who believed: ‘A rising tide floats all boats’. Government’s obsession with wealth creation for the few has neglected the many with its narrow focus and economic policies that generated jobless growth.
• The piecemeal attacks on the criminal justice system to protect members of the ANC leadership leave us with shocking crime statistics, mass emigration, lower business confidence, destruction of one of the most effective investigating and prosecuting agencies (the Scorpions), and universal fear.
• Our teachers cannot adequately teach our children who are leaving school mathematical and scientific illiterates. The ANC is incapable of appropriately and effectively delivering quality education despite spending more per capita on education than any other developing economy.
• The ANC doesn’t understand that by tolerating corruption and allowing its members to act as though they are above the law undermines the most fundamental promise of government: earning and keeping the trust of the people.
• The electoral system must be reformed to ensure power rests in the hands of the electorate, not the politicians. A UDM Government would introduce constituencies into the PR electoral system. A UDM Government would also introduce separate elections for the President of the country to allow South Africans to elect directly a candidate of their choice, instead of having a shadowy unelected cabal in the ruling party foisting their decision on the nation.

“The UDM is a political home for all South Africans,” averred Holomisa. “Our leadership is committed to decency and integrity and respect for our democratic institutions.”

Holomisa also launched UDMConnect to revolutionise the way people sign up for party membership and receive party communiqués. UDMConnect accommodates both cell phone and online based party membership and communication, in the style of commercial ‘customer care’ models.

South African ‘customers’ will now be able to

• become a member of the UDM, without the drudgery of filling in forms, or appearing in person at branches;
• communicate local community problems via SMS to the UDM, enhancing the party’s ability to follow up, effect constituency work and keep in contact with voters;
• log problems on the website, or update membership information;
• be informed of local UDM activities.

After membership dues are paid, SMSs will cost R2.

ANC Split
Responding to the inevitable split in the ANC he replied, “It’s just re-arranging the deck chairs. South Africans tell me they are dissatisfied with both factions of the ANC and the larger opposition parties. The time now is for a viable alternative and we believe we are just that, offering the UDM’s values of inclusiveness, consultation and accountability.”

We have reached a point in our political maturity where it is clear the best interests of the South African voters can only be served by checks on power.

As a viable alternative the UDM can give voice to the frustration and disappointment at poor delivery and out-of-touch politicians in government, holding them accountable.