Issues for debate at UDM National Congress in December - statement by the UDM President (04 November 2010)

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) released a discussion document on 1 November 2010, in preparation for the UDM National Congress in Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), 17-19 December 2010.

The full document is available here. This document deals with the State of the Nation, the state of the UDM, the upcoming local government elections, as well as the issue of political realignment.

One of the issues which the UDM is likely to debate is the effect of the previous election’s outcomes. Looking at the 2009 election results we notice that the ANC lost ground in eight out of the nine provinces. Unfortunately, the UDM and most opposition parties failed to capitalise on this and the ANC managed to absorb its national setback with a very strong advance in KwaZulu Natal.

As a result of this the ANC has not hesitated to reward KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) people in appointments to cabinet and high civil service positions. This situation was further exacerbated after the cabinet reshuffle of November 2010. People from one province hold key cabinet positions such as finance, labour, social development, intelligence, public enterprises, justice, police, transport, higher education etc., and strings of deputy ministers and other high-ranking civil servants have been promoted from this one province.

This misuse of state resources to reward ruling party faithful is not just bad for service delivery in other parts of the Country, but will also make it difficult for the UDM and other opposition parties to operate in certain areas. The ANC’s strategic thinking depends on impressing the voters of one region at all costs. The danger exists that state resources will be channelled to one region at the expense of service deliver in the rest of the country. UDM structures need to debate how we will operate in the upcoming elections in such an environment. We must acknowledge that this regionalisation of the ruling party will make campaigning especially difficult in KZN.