Speech at a public meeting in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP (UDM President) (30 October 2009)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are gathered here today in Mqanduli for a thanksgiving ceremony. I come from this community and its people continue to nurture and support me. Therefore in my personal capacity – as a son of this community – and also in my professional capacity – as the leader of the UDM – I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support, especially during the last elections. Thus we are gathered here today as a community for a feast to celebrate the contribution that each of you have made.

Allow me to briefly address political matters.

With regards to the UDM, I am happy to report that we have gone through an intensive introspection about our last election results. The national and provincial leadership met and discussed very frankly our challenges and those areas in which we have failed. There is no excuses, we have concurred that we have not performed as we should have. But you can rest assured that we have utilised that assessment exercise to develop our plans to radically improve our performance.

The foremost matter now is the road to the 2011 Local Government elections. In that vein, our ascendancy profile requires certain steps. We call on our structures to follow this process, including the regional and provincial congresses next year, which will lead up to the National Congress in September 2010. Throughout this process our focus must remain firmly on our first priority, which is the 2011 Local Government elections.

These preparations for the Local Government elections means also that our structures must begin to scout for leaders with the skills to be local government councillors. These candidates must be active members of the community, willing to work with the people and civic structures. They must appreciate that whoever is elected isn’t just doing it for a salary. The people of this country have service delivery expectations, that have time and again been shattered by the incompetent and corrupt councillors of the ruling party.

Now we are facing a country-wide meltdown of civic order. Communities are becoming mobs, who rush into the streets and burn down libraries and councillors’ homes. We understand their anger and frustration, but we must provide them with a democratic alternative, so that they do not resort to these acts of violence.

Which brings me to the precarious state of the nation; these are very difficult times. People are losing their jobs, everything is becoming more expensive and many of our people are struggling with massive debts. In these times when all of us suffer, the ruling party’s Ministers still splash out our taxpayer money on expensive cars. The ruling party continues to be riddled with infighting.

Now the infighting which we have been warning about is causing havoc at Local Government. Across the country many communities are burning.

This lack of discipline by members of the ruling party who are fighting over the resources of the state is a challenge to other political parties. Either we will resist this culture of brawling and this looting of the state, or we will also be responsible for the anarchy that will come.

When people voted for democracy the first time they thought there would be a paradigm shift, that corruption would end, but instead the leaders in the ruling party did not practice what they preach. Luxury and extravagance has become the order of the day. When a new faction takes over the ruling party they promise change, but all that changes is the faces of the people with their hands in the cookie jars.

There hasn’t been real change, just a lining of pockets. They don’t want to work hard, they want to use public office to promote their own wealth.

This trend has been developing for years, we are now close to the point where it could spiral out of control. Now is the time to end this nonsense. We need to draw a line and say: Up to here, and no further.

I thank you.

  Back to 2009 Archive