Speech by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP at Mpunzana Village (UDM President) (08 April 2009, Mthatha)

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like thank the Chiefs, traditional leaders and people of Mpunzana village and surroundings for gathering here this morning and listening to the UDM election campaign.

We meet here at a time when we are seeing a culture that we are not used to; when straightforward criminal charges are sidestepped by labelling them "political". Indeed the ANC is suffering from a victim-mentality syndrome.

The people of South Africa and in particular this province, were raised that in a just society if somebody does something wrong their fate would be decided by a court of law. Equality before the law is the essence of our constitutional order.

The classic example, that people here will remember, is the late Chief Matanzima who was tried in a court of law without political interference; he served 3 years of his 9-year sentence before receiving parole.

The recent decision by the ANC to pressurise the NPA into withdrawing charges against Jacob Zuma, is introducing the politics of thuggery, at its best.

The onus now is on the people of South Africa to vote the ANC out of power.

If you do not, you will be endorsing this culture of selective justice; where the poor rot in jail whilst the rich and powerful escape the law.

Don't vote for the ANC, because they have breached the trust of South Africans. It would be a sad day if the people in these villages were to give another mandate to a party that has violated the constitutional principles of this country.

It is unacceptable for Mr Zuma to blame the NPA and the media, when he has failed to explain the money he received from Shaik and the Thint arms dealers.

The question is: Can we trust a leader of the ruling party who has successfully dodged his day in court?

Some Ministers, like the former Minister of Intelligence Lindiwe Sisulu, were in an ANC committee tasked with seeing that Zuma does not go to court.

Is it coincidence that we now witness how illegal state intelligence is being used to justify the dropping of Zuma's charges?

So again, who would trust that Executive that it will run this country fairly? Now we know why people like Mbeki, Pikoli and Ministers were removed; the aim was to replace them with lackeys like President Motlante.

It is clear that they had an ANC instruction to prevent the NPA from prosecuting Zuma.

Anybody who says that Zuma has no case to answer is living in a fool's paradise. The state needs to explain how these taped conversations of the intelligence service landed in a private citizen's hands to be used selective for political purposes. How many political opponents are they taping?

The only way to fight this is for people to ensure that we reduce the ANC's majority in Parliament so that we can reinstate the charges.

The power you gave them in 2004 was used arrogantly, whilst the people continue to suffer.

As somebody who was born and raised in the Eastern Cape it fills me with sadness whenever I return home to find the sorry state of this province. Why

- in a country of our wealth and natural resources - should parts of this province look like Afghanistan?

I cannot understand why - when you cross the border from KwaZulu Natal, you find that the Eastern Cape side is a dry and dead landscape, whereas just across the river in KZN the crops and trees stand high and proud.

It tells me only one thing: the problems of this province must be attributed to poor management and a lack of leadership.

One of the things that the Eastern Cape is suffering from is that its infrastructure is lagging far behind the rest of the country. Even within the province there is a huge disparity between the infrastructure in the big cities and most other parts of the province. A master plan for infrastructure in the province is required to address backlogs, especially in the former homelands.

There will always be suspicions that the budget of the province is consumed by the big cities because they have existing infrastructure that must be maintained.

Although the problem can partly be blamed on a mismanagement of the existing budget, I suspect that the Eastern Cape is heavily under-budgeted.

A massive investment in infrastructure will also address our high unemployment rate. For instance, look at road infrastructure; road maintenance units must be reintroduced because they provided permanent work for the unskilled.

The current Public Works programme must be re-looked because they only create temporary jobs. People have jobs for 3 months, and then they are unemployed again. In the meanwhile those roads get damaged, but maintenance is neglected. Then it is argued that those roads cannot be repaired until the next year's budget for Public Works becomes available. Often the next year there is no budget.

And what goes for roads infrastructure, also applies to schools, clinics and other basic infrastructure.

The Eastern Cape's budget has repeatedly been compromised by corruption and inefficiency. If a single party continues to dominate the provincial government, then there is a need for national government to intervene heavily and monitor the premier's office.

When we in the Transkei advocated as early 1988 to return to South Africa we were aware that this province was receiving peanuts from the Pretoria government. Back then they kept this place undeveloped and poor because they viewed it as a breeding ground for the leaders of the revolution.

How ironic that today this birthplace of people such as Biko, Tambo and Mandela is still being neglected. As a nation we owe a debt of gratitude to the people of this province for their significant role in securing our freedom from oppression.

Therefore whether you vote UDM, ANC, COPE or DA there is a need to address the unacceptable backlogs and service delivery failures in the Eastern Cape.

How I wish that the outcome of the elections will ensure that the Eastern Cape will be run by a coalition, so that we save this province from one-party domination and the arrogance that breeds poor service delivery.

The problems we face have become so big because of a lack of accountability and poor leadership. Take for instance all the Auditor General qualified audits that have been produced in this province over the years. Yet nobody has been punished or prosecuted and therefore every year the problems become bigger.

Another major underlying problem is that municipalities' budgets are consumed by consultant fees because they lack vital skills like engineers etc. To remedy this, the national department of Public Works must take over projects that were allocated to municipalities who lack sufficient internal skills.

In that way we can avoid the catastrophes of bad planning we currently see, where municipalities simply build housing wherever they please without the necessary water, sanitation or electricity in place. It is a waste of precious resources and create townships that are environmental nightmares not fit for human occupation.

A UDM Government would immediately task the department of Public Works to address this.

In this province another major threat is the question of desertification.

Land-use currently leaves much to be desired. There is therefore a need to begin programmes of greening the province and indeed the country. It must be a mixed bag of greening programmes. For instance not only planting trees in cities but also encouraging subsistence farming to develop into a more productive and commercial activity. In that way we could also address poverty alleviation and household food security.

On the economic front the UDM believes that the people of this province are remarkably resourceful, but have not been properly supported to turn their entrepreneurship into economic growth. The UDM believes that a major priority should be a small business programme. Development Bank financing must be made available for specific industries, such as agriculture, textiles, and IT-related industries. In addition small business need support by way of tax incentives, subsidies and government-sponsored mentorship programmes where established businessmen teach emerging entrepreneurs the ropes.

The UDM believes that it is government's duty to help those who want to start new businesses. This is where the future of combating unemployment and poverty lies; we need to create new businesses and wealth.

The resources are here, but we need to apply the right priorities.

Government cannot be satisfied with what has happened in the Eastern Cape, where instead of improving, things have deteriorated since 1994.

I thank you.

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