by Bantu Holomisa at Lookout Hill Tourism Centre, Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Members of the UDM NEC;
The President of the UDM Youth Vanguard;

The outgoing leaders of the Provincial Executive Committee
Provincial Leadership of the UDM Youth Vanguard and Women’s Organisation;
UDM Public Representatives;
Fellow UDM members and supporters of the Party.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am proud to stand before you today. It is encouraging to see the faces of the people who made the effort to be here. This Provincial Congress would not be possible without your dedication.

The structures of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in the Western Cape have worked tirelessly to recruit fellow South Africans to swell the ranks the UDM.

We all have the same vision; we strive to unite South Africans from all communities in a new political home, built on the foundation of the principles and ideals of our National Constitution, as inspired by our unifying love of our Country and its people.

To each of you who helped to make this Provincial Congress possible – thank you. You managed to stick to the Party’s Ascendancy Profile despite the challenges you face.

Congratulations!

It is quite clear that the Western Cape is treated as nothing more than a battlefield for the powers that govern this province – and those at a national level – to fight for their political ambitions.

The people of this province find themselves in the middle of this battle for power. You sit in a quagmire of misery whilst they sling mud at each other; completely forgetting about you.

  • Where are the houses that you were promised?
  • Where is the education our youth has been waiting for?
  • Why do you have to sit in fear in your homes whilst gangsters roam the streets and your young people are enticed to abuse drugs and alcohol because they are so demotivated that crime and loitering in the streets are their only recourse?
  • Where do the sick and injured go for help if our hospitals and clinics have no medicines and staff are paid a pittance to take care of those people?
  • Where are the jobs that are supposed to empower each of you to become citizens who contribute to the economy of this country?
  • Why do you allow those in power to loot State resources and squander taxpayers’ money, when the true power lies with you, the voters?

It is a sad fact that those who are supposed to lead by example think it is okay to, for instance, spend millions-and-millions of Rands to build a whole lodge, whilst you sit in the squalor of tin shacks that have no electricity, no water and no sanitation, which are vulnerable to fire and the elements.

The Public Protector’s interim report indicates that Mr Zuma benefitted substantially with the Nkandla project. As the owner of that property the onus is on him to prove that all the “improvements” was “security related” and not to his and his family’s exclusive benefit.

It is most nauseating to realise how much time and money was spent to cover up this mess under the smokescreen of “security”.  An enormous effort was made to keep the secret that taxpayers’ money was spent to improve, not only President Zuma’s own homestead, but also the homes of his family outside the property. If this information was not leaked, the people of this country would still have been in the dark.

It is not necessary to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is indeed something fishy about the development of the Nkandla. The balance of probability is sufficient to convince voters that the African National Congress (ANC) and their leader deserve to be punished for breaking their trust.

The UDM is of the view that the South African Police Services and the Hawks must start familiarising themselves with dynamics of Nkandlagate so that a parallel investigation can take place whilst Government is wrangling with the Public Protector’s report.

For us to take this matter to Parliament is not going to work and we, instead, must send the police, the Hawks and the auditors to get to the bottom of this mess.

It would, however, be mischievous and dishonest to suggest that corruption in Government only started during the Zuma regime.

Many of you will recall that some of the most devastating corruption scandals go as far back as Sarafina-2, the Arms Deal, Oilgate, Travelgate, as well as the Chancellor House/Hitachi and Eskom Deal.

Do you agree that public representatives should be held accountable to the people of this country and not to the leaders foisted on them by Luthuli House?

South Africans are far too often delivered to the vagaries of public representation that is based on a proportional system. Both the provincial and national governments are more interested in political posturing, and their get-rich-quick-schemes, than the plight of the people.

Institutionalised corruption shows us, in no uncertain terms, that we need to review the programmes and some of the governance systems we have been using.

We need to move towards a mixed electoral system, that draws from the strengths of both the proportional and constituency-based electoral systems.

Our people should be allowed to directly elect their president. In addition, the cabinet appointed by that president should be subjected to the scrutiny of the Parliament’s Ethics Committee before they are sworn in.

Such a system will, among other things, ensure that cabinet is representative of our population, or at least a fair geographical spread, and that such individuals understand the field they are entering.

This Congress is the starting point of our Party’s election campaign in the province.

Our communities of the Western Cape have a myriad of socio-political issues that are unique to this province. You are in the best position to articulate those challenges and I invite you to talk to amongst yourselves and make your input into the UDM’s election manifesto for 2014.

You have, after this Congress, ample opportunity to discuss those issues and tell us what is bothering you; what are your needs and what are your dreams?

Your job today is to choose the people that will lead you in the election campaigns next year and some time thereafter. This is a big responsibility and you must choose wisely.

In conclusion, we need to walk out of here with the voting map of this province. This map will help us to prepare properly for party building and the 2014 elections.

We need to go out and build UDM in all the corners of this province in preparation 2014.

Good luck with that! I will see you on the campaign trail.

Thank you