• Traditional leaders
• Leaders of religious organisations
• Provincial Office Bearers of the UDM in the Eastern Cape
• UDM Public Representatives
• My fellow South Africans and Transkeians
We stand at the precipice of what can be a great change in the future of our country – in your futures.
We can all agree that many things have gone right in the past 20 years, but the tragedy of the South African story unfortunately lies in the things that have gone wrong.
THE STATE OF THE EASTERN CAPE
The Eastern Cape is the step-child of a government that does not listen to the cries for help from the people in this province. The ruling party prefers to practice ostrich politics and ignore you.
It is common knowledge that the Eastern Cape is heavily under budgeted given the two homelands and townships’ infrastructure that had to be integrated into in the developed infrastructure that was inherited in 1994. This has not happened. For instance, the roads are impassable, there is a shortage of water and no fencing of graze lands and mealie fields, etc.
The infrastructure of the former homelands and townships are in a shocking state of disrepair. When you reach the Transkei, the Ciskei and places like Duncan Village, Mdantsane and the townships of Port Elizabeth, it feels as if you have entered a third world.
One of the main threats to the Transkei region, for example, is the short supply of water. Any businessperson, in his or her right mind, would think twice before starting any commercial endeavour in towns such as Mthatha, because water supply is either non-existent or erratic.
Our buildings are run down; our streets have more holes than tarred surfaces, and they are just plain dirty. If you go down the streets of the cities and towns, the paint flakes from the walls and roofs of the buildings. It is a sad and ugly sight.
No-one respects the bylaws and they are definitely not enforced. Our towns are fast becoming slums and is threatening hygiene. It becomes worse when some business persons sleep inside their shops. Our people experience this phenomenon as a cultural shock.
Government buildings are in a state of disrepair and our schools and hospitals are falling apart. Who would want to invest in a city or town that bears such scars of abject neglect?
We see that there is absolutely no co-ordination between the local and district municipalities, as well as the provincial and national governments. This has resulted in the breakdown of discipline, and anarchy prevails where people build where they want to. Even in the villages people build in commonage areas with not respect for the traditional institutions.
Government funds, in other words every cent we pay for tax, are syphoned off to consultants that are appointed to do government’s work through corrupt tender processes.
Many small companies who win tenders are ruined because the ruling party and its government do not pay them on time. As a result of this ineptitude many business are forced to close down.
This once great region, that produced some of the finest minds and struggle icons in the country, have become an embarrassment to its people. The current leaders of the ruling party is not only blatantly insulting their memory, but their actions are an affront to the people.
We have heard how learners in KwaZulu-Natal have benefitted from state of the art computer laboratories with broadband internet access. The question at the top of our minds is: “Why are those children more important than those in the other provinces – the Eastern Cape included?” This is pure discrimination at the expense of our children. Simple.
When the ruling party came into power, they threw away the baby with the bathwater and destroyed all the good things they inherited without spending a moment of thought to the consequences.
In their lack of wisdom, they took away the incentives that made it attractive for companies to build their factories closer to the people who desperately need a source of income.
The policies and programmes that worked in the past were callously left by the wayside, because the ruling party did not have a future vision for the province. Here we think of the units that combatted soil erosion and eradicated alien species, as well as the numerous maintenance and agricultural projects.
Lastly, the people of this province have been treated as nothing more than voting cattle. Every five years, just before an election, the ruling party honchos come around and promises heaven and earth. After the results are announced, they suffer from selective amnesia and leave you in the dust of their passing gravy train.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THE EASTERN CAPE?
The reality is that should voters reward the ANC with another five years to loot state resources, this province will sink even deeper in the quagmire of underdevelopment and corruption. The Eastern Cape will fall even further behind the rest of the provinces.
As we speak they misused over R22 million that was intended to improve schools, hospitals, housing, etc. They diverted the funds to the Madiba’s memorial service, but in in real terms it was used to buy ANC election material.
If I had the opportunity to influence things here in the Eastern Cape, and this I can say from experience, the future of this province will be ensured once we return to the original agenda, which is to better the lives of all South Africans – and especially those who live in the Eastern Cape.
As leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), I am not interested in theories and promises. You will remember that I have successfully done this job in the past and the ethics of good governance was at the top of our list of priorities.
I am only interested in practical solutions that will make a real difference to the lives of the people in this province.
Collectively we need to speak with one voice and make it clear that the government that comes after this election must to do more and prioritise the development of this province.
We need to recapture the lost ground in the area of education. This province was once the fountain of education for the whole country.
We need to once more seriously interrogate the lack of discipline and the selling of drugs in our towns and villages
Each of you have the right to say “no” to corruption and poor service delivery. Let us make our voices heard and say: “We will not stand for the looting of state resources”.
You have the power to demonstrate to our forefathers and mothers (many of whom paid the ultimate price for our freedom) that you can take charge of your futures and build on their legacy, instead of destroying it.
The UDM calls on the traditional leaders, as the custodians of our country’s traditions, norms and future direction, to play a critical role in ensuring that our people’s right to dignity is restored and protected.
The UDM also calls on the leaders of religious groupings, who are the moral compass of our nation, to lead their flocks on the path of morality and ethics. Take your rightful position, as you did in the Apartheid years, and remind our people that discrimination on any basis is wrong.
We must stand together and fight to realise the dream of the Rainbow Nation. There is hope for South Africa and the UDM can lead real change in your lives.
When you make your mark on the 7th of May, I want you to remember, that the power is in your hands. Think of our future and that of our children.
I thank you