Speech at a UDM Rally at the Ngagelizwe Rotary Stadium, Mthaha the UDM President (13 December 2008)

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are meeting here today to launch the UDM election campaign in this region of the KSD municipality.

We are meeting at a time when there are signs that the political landscape is changing. There are opportunities presenting themselves for all political parties now, because the time of one-party dominance is coming to an end. These are the signs of our democracy maturing.

However there are some concerns that this democratic project of ours might be hampered by a lack of intolerance on the part of the ruling party. Their consistent interference and intimidation of opponents and their campaign against the SABC Board and staff not to air the views of other political parties, does not auger well for our democracy.

There was for instance a SABC show that would be aired tomorrow about the recent history of the ruling party, but now we hear that Luthuli House is vehemently opposed to it. It remains to be seen if the SABC will once more bow to the demands of the ruling party.

In the same vein we must condemn in the strongest terms the revelation this week that Jessie Duarte is demanding from the SABC their programme of how they are going to cover the opposition parties. It is none of the ruling party's business who a supposedly independent public broadcaster will treat other political parties. One can only assume that the ruling party wants to intimidate the SABC into not covering other political parties, and if that fails then they will hold competing events at the same time and area.

For instance yesterday I received more than 200 new members formerly from the ANC, and the SABC was there, but the news was never broadcast; is this the outcomes of the ruling party's intimidation?

I have proposed from the beginning of the year that a summit between all political party leaders and the SABC Board is required to level the playing field. Now, more than ever, such a summit is urgently needed. South Africans must be given fair and balanced reporting on all political parties so that they can make informed choices about how they will vote.

A major issue in this election will be unemployment and poverty, especially when corruption and incompetence has undermined service delivery.

This is a unique opportunity for the people of the Eastern Cape to pause and ask whether the contribution that the people of this region had made to the liberation struggle is being reflected on the ground. People from this area were in the vanguard of the struggle, yet we do not see the fruits of our liberation here. Why should this area look like a part of Afghanistan?

The lack of service delivery has been occasioned by corruption at the highest level in this province. Now is the time for voters to ensure that the UDM is put into government in the Eastern Cape. It is high time to give other parties an opportunity to contribute; clearly the ruling party has had more than enough chance in 15 years to make a difference if they wanted to.

We cannot accept another five years of ruling party bad governance and poverty. It is ridiculous that we have such poverty here when we have abundant supply of one of the most precious resources; namely water. 38% of water resources in Southern Africa passes through the Eastern Cape. A study that was done by DBSA under the auspices of the former Transkei government revealed that we can be self-sustainable, to supply water to every household and develop irrigation schemes to boost agriculture. One worries about the Department of Water Affairs spending R7 billion on a Lesotho water project, full well knowing that none of that investment will come towards uplifting the people of this province.

Why do the ruling party only use the people of this area as voting cattle?
Everybody runs here for votes when they want to ascend to power, but when it comes to service delivery this is one of the most neglected parts of the country.

The election of next year will be about the voters choosing parties that they believe can take them forward. In doing so, the question of trust will feature prominently in the mind of every voter.

Questions that arise include:
Can the public trust a party whose almost entire top echelon is or was the subject of criminal investigation?

Can voters trust a party who has more than a 100 Members of Parliament who abused their travel benefits?

Can voters trust Mr Jacob Zuma when he says the ANC is serious about fighting crime and corruption when he is using every trick in the book to avoid his day in court?

Can voters trust a movement who has presided over a vastly expensive Arms Deal that has involved massive corruption?

Can the voters trust a party whose last three presidential choices, namely Messrs Mbeki, Motlanthe and Zuma, have only one thing in common: a steadfast refusal to institute an independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Arms Deal?

The theme of our election campaign is: "Now is the time for all South Africans."

Now is the time to choose a political party of your choice.

Now is the time to choose a party that will change the electoral system, so that by 2014 you will vote for MPs from your constituency and you will directly elect the President of the country.

Now is the time to elect a corruption-free leadership.

Now is the time for improved service delivery.

Now is the time to do away with nepotism and cronyism.

Now is the time to create jobs for all South Africans, not just a select few.

Now is the time to give opportunities to all South Africans, not just card-carrying members of the ruling party.

I thank you.

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