Address at Mayville, Cato Crest Community Hall, Durban to Welcome 350 new members joining the UDM in KwaZulu-Natal by the UDM President (25 October 2008)

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are meeting here today once more to welcome new members to the UDM in KwaZulu Natal. We are being joined by 350 new members from various political organisations. You come from across the province; notably the majority of these members are formerly from the ANC. Present here are representatives of those 350, branch chairpersons and branch secretaries, from the following areas: Ulundi, Mkhanyakude (far north of KZN), Xhopo and Wemmer. To these leaders who are here, we welcome you, please report back to your branches that you are now appearing on our systems as UDM structures; we are satisfied that your UDM membership is in order and that you are now fully entitled to participate in the UDM. The leadership of the UDM is looking forward to visiting your areas and to launch even more new branches. A special word of thanks to the leaders from Ulundi and Mkhanyakude, who came all this way in this rainy weather; your presence despite the distance and weather shows your commitment.

In hindsight we can safely say that after Polokwane December 2007 the politics in this country will never be the same. Indeed who would ever have thought that today we would be witnessing the split in the ruling party, even though their leadership was still recently fond of saying the ANC would rule this country until Jesus returns? If that is the case, then we are not far from that prophetic date. They are already unsure of winning several provinces in the next election.

Of course we have seen the ANC's reluctance to acknowledge that they are facing a huge crisis; for them it is a crisis because they never believed in a multi-party democracy. They have always clung to the idea that this country will be a one-party state dominated by them.

The realisation of the voters of this country that they should begin spreading their vote more evenly, to ensure a more balanced spread of power, will go a long way to end the arrogance of the ruling party that we have witnessed in the past 15 years.

There is no doubt in anybody's mind that the politics of coalition will be the order of the day after next year's election. And we must encourage this development, because it would improve service delivery. It will eliminate the politics of cronyism and nepotism which has devastated our civil service's ability to deliver services. Multi-party coalition governments will promote the ethics of good governance.

For the first time in our democracy we stand the chance of appointing South Africans on merit to the civil service in various provinces and thereby improving the standards of service delivery.

It would also reverse the ANC strategy of wanting to devalue the democratic state institutions. A reduced ruling party will no longer be in a position to blatantly undermine the value of democratic institutions like the judiciary and National Prosecuting Authority for their own short-sighted goals. Indeed this will put to an end the intransigence of people like Zuma who don't want to go and face their criminal charges in court like any other citizen has to.

A more balanced spread of power will also ensure the end of lawlessness. It would change the attitude of investors who are hesitant to invest here because of uncertainty regarding crime. A coalition government will ensure more discipline, order and a respect for the law among South Africans.

All of these objectives that I have listed above could be realised if the law enforcement authorities will nip in the bud any signs of political intimidation and violence that the ruling party has threatened to unleash.

Indeed we cannot wait for Mr Lekota and his group to launch their party so that they can reinforce the ranks of the Multi-Party Forum, which has for the past year been campaigning with the IEC regarding levelling the playing field when it comes to electoral processes.

It is that Multi-Party Forum that will seek guarantees from the SABC, ICASA and IEC that never again will the ANC be the only party that receives blanket live coverage for the launching of their manifesto as well as their major election rallies.

The IEC has failed dismally so far to tell us on what basis they are involving the National Intelligence Agency in the electoral process. They have further failed to come clean on the manner in which they select the IT companies that handle the capturing and processing of election data.

The culture of tolerance which we have witnessed in this country in the past couple of years, where we have done away with no-go areas, seems to be under threat. We are seeing signs that the ruling party wants to revert to the politics of thuggery to intimidate its political opponents.

We have been campaigning freely in the country as political parties, but the recent bussing of people from different areas to destabilise Mr Lekota's rallies, is an indication that we need to close ranks and guard against sliding back to the pre-1994 era of political violence and intolerance.

As we are preparing for the elections, we call on our structures to encourage voters to register on the 8th and 9th of November.

The UDM's election campaign will be underpinned by themes of inclusiveness, consultation and accountability. These are the three democratic ingredients that the ruling party lacks, and which dooms any election promises they might make in the coming months.

In the first place South Africans will know that a vote for the UDM is a vote in support of these values that underpin democracy.

In this period leading to the election, we have decided to focus on the 'big five' issues, although a comprehensive manifesto dealing with all the major issues will be launched once the election date is announced.

The big five issues are:
Number one; socio-economic development, specifically job creation.
Number two; fighting crime.
Number three; education
Number four; corruption
Number five; electoral reform

In this era of global economic instability we have seen again examples of the major capitalist countries intervening in their economies to protect the interests of their domestic businesses and jobs. It reinforces the UDM's economic philosophy that Government must do more. There is a need - on issues such as food security, education, health and job creation - for Government to invest in the South African economy to ensure that our national interest is promoted.

I thank you.

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