Address by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP (UDM President) at a workshop with Branch Chairpersons and Secretaries of the UDM in Limpopo on Saturday, 6 July 2013
Members of the UDM NEC;
Limpopo Provincial Leadership;
UDM Public Representatives;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I welcome you in the name of party building. Thank you to all of you who have come today to make this Provincial Workshop possible.
To the organisers and facilitators of this workshop, thank you ever so much for your hard work.
Workshops are an integral part of our party building strategy because they help us to sharpen our axes for our political work. They are a critical way of keeping us abreast of latest developments in the political arena, which enables us to be responsive to the needs of the communities we serve.
I have said it many times before; the ground is fertile for us to go out and grow the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in every corner of Limpopo as well as in other provinces. This is because the ruling alliance is imploding and this has handicapped service delivery in all spheres of government.
The fact that, in April this year, I was here to collect a list of service delivery complaints from the people of Limpopo, bears testimony to this. This list was thereafter forwarded to President Zuma for attention and action.
The leadership of this Province has done a sterling job of encouraging communities to come forward with their service delivery complaints and concerns.
I am aware that the Presidency, working together with the office of the Premier, dispatched senior government officials to look into those complaints.
We should not rest until the Premier’s Office has given us service delivery plans for the areas in question with clear timeframes.
When one looks at the list of service delivery complaints, one discovers that they have one thing in common. That is: public representatives have either failed to consult, or account, to the people about service delivery.
Democracy is subverted when elected politicians do not consult and account to the electorate, and when they deliberately misinform the public about some of their decisions.
We should do everything in our power to ensure that this does not happen.
We should use the list of complaints as a tool to campaign for the 2014 National and Provincial Elections, because we now know what our people’s service delivery needs are.
We should also use this list as a tool to hold public representatives to account for service delivery in this province.
This is the only way in which we can make improvements both in the pace and quality of service delivery.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The UDM has warned many times that, unless something is done about the high levels of corruption in Government, we are on the slippery slope to anarchy and dysfunction.
Corruption in Government is widespread despite assurances to the contrary. Nowhere is this more evident than in the extent to which National Government went to prevent the Public Works Task Team Report on Nkandla, which lays bare all the corruption that took in this project, from coming out.
Another example where the ruling party condones corruption is what took place in Tlokwe Municipality (Potchefstroom). Here ruling party councillors voted their mayor out of office for the second time and handed the mayorship to the Democratic Alliance (DA). These councillors have publicly stated that they had so done because the African National Congress (ANC) mayor is corrupt.
However, instead of working with its councillors in fighting corruption, the ruling party chose to expel them with immediate effect. This occurred despite the fact that none of them were brought before a disciplinary hearing.
This begs the question: “Can we trust them to fight corruption when their actions both in private, and in public, condone it?”
What comes out clearly from the Tlokwe Municipality incident is that ours is a controlled democracy, in which people are punished for exercising their democratic rights, for the simple reason that their decisions are not in line with the wishes of the masters from the palace.
We need to double our efforts in calling for the review of the current electoral system, which makes politicians accountable to political parties instead of the electorate.
The other practice that you need to strongly oppose is the allocation of the Country’s resources along ethnic and regional lines.
You will recall that recently we wrote a letter to President Zuma requesting him to intervene in the looting of state resources taking place at the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), a portfolio organisation under the Department of Communications.
Apart from asking for strong action against corruption and maladministration, the letter also calls for the broadband infrastructure to be rolled out fairly and equitably, because it is currently skewed in favour of certain regions and ethnic groups.
For instance, in the first phase of Government’s infrastructure broadband rollout project, 23 out of 33 sites that are targeted for this programme are in KwaZulu-Natal, while only eight are in Mpumalanga and two in the North West Province. The question now remains: “What criteria did Government use to roll out this infrastructure and why have other provinces been sidelined in this project?”
The implication of this skewed infrastructure rollout programme is that learners from other Provinces will not have access to computer laboratories with internet connectivity.
This reminds us of the failed Verwoerdian policies, which sought to improve the education of one sector of our society at the expense of others.
The letter to President Zuma has been circulated to your structures. However, should you require more copies, feel free to ask National Office for assistance.
As from the 15th of July 2013, we must circulate this letter to traditional leaders’ kraals, communities, businesses, churches, schools and School Governing Bodies around the Province so that they can see for themselves what we are talking about.
We should mobilise civil society to sign a petition demanding that computer labs be rolled out to schools in this and other Provinces as soon as possible.
We have to stop this discrimination! This is not what our struggle heroes fought for.
However, a long-term solution to this problem revolves around ensuring that the composition of future cabinets truly reflects the demographics and the geographical spread of South Africa. This will ensure that government not only understands the challenges facing the people, but it is also responsive to the needs of all the communities across the country.
I want to motivate you to go out and work hard; we should host a UDM provincial congress in Limpopo by the end of September this year.
With branches that are properly constituted you will be ready when the time comes for the compilation of party lists for Parliament and the Provincial Legislature.
I encourage the women and youth of Limpopo to claim their space; use the UDM as a vehicle to ensure that your are properly represented in Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures. Roll up your sleeves; go out and spread the gospel; make sure that you change your destinies and that of the people of Limpopo.
Best wishes with the workshop and all your endeavours to build the UDM in this Limpopo.