UDM rally in Maclear to welcome 350 ANC Branch Members - extracts from the speech by Bantu Holomisa, MP (UDM President) (2 March 2009)

We are gathered here today to welcome 350 branch members from the ANC who have chosen to join the UDM. We consider your decision as yet another sign that South Africans have grown tired of the arrogance and abuse of power that characterises the ruling party these days.

We have no doubt that the number one issue on people's minds during this election campaign is the economy and job creation. Maclear is in the heart of an agricultural belt. This community will understand the importance of promoting and protecting South African agriculture. The UDM policy on this stems from our broader economic stance, namely: Government must do more!

Therefore the UDM is calling for specific state assistance to support agriculture, including subsidies, in order to protect South African household food security. This is also a measure that is necessary to ensure that jobs, especially in communities such as this one, are not lost during this time of international economic crisis. It is necessary and correct that South African agriculture receives subsidy-support in order to be able to compete with the subsidised agricultural products in the international market, especially of our trading partners such as Europe and the USA.

In the same vein, my need to invest in other natural resources. For instance in this area there is huge potential for forestry. Local farmers and the local community could for instance begin small-scale nurseries. This would not only produce an export commodity, which is good for the economy and job creation, but it would also be an environmentally responsible strategy to follow. Climate change is a real and present danger and we need to pursue policies that address this if we don't want our children to inherit floods, droughts and freak weather.