Message from UDM President
My fellow South Africans
2014 is an auspicious year, as South Africans mark 20 years of freedom.
The Bill of Rights ensures that all the citizens of our beautiful country have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Our dignity has been restored and we enjoy freedom and security of our person. We can live where we want to. No one is denied access to establishments based on colour. We all have the right to basic education; to speak our own languages, freedom of religion and celebrate our diverse cultures.
These liberties, as enshrined in the country’s constitution, which were hard won are being destroyed by corruption. To compound matters the socio-economic circumstances of our people make it very difficult to safeguard the gains of our freedom.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) seeks to address these basic deficiencies and also empower our people and transform South Africa into a Winning Nation. If one looks at our economy one cannot deny that, amongst others, job creation and poverty are interlinked.
The UDM believes that job creation is the ultimate weapon to combat poverty, but this goal will not be realised if our economy is not managed properly. Government has a must intervene to protect our economy and South African jobs when necessary.
Meaningful government intervention is needed to ensure economic growth. This necessarily means, for instance, that our roads should be passable; an efficient rail network should be in place; the electrification, water, irrigation and reticulation of communities and business should be high on government’s agenda.
Regarding our macro-economic policy, there is still no consensus on how South Africa can transform its economy in a manner that creates wealth and improves the fortunes of the disadvantaged majority.
South Africa already finds itself on the same path as our sister nations on the African continent that have failed their citizens.
Disrespect of the rule of law, as exhibited by our executive, as well institutionalised corruption, has a direct bearing on South Africa’s downgrading on international ratings, which in turn negatively impact on investor confidence. The symbiotic relationships between political parties and their so-called “investment arms” (such as the ANC and Chancellor House Holdings) erodes private sector confidence.
It is an unfortunate fact that South Africa is steadily sinking deeper in the quagmire of corruption. What makes matters worse is that these acts of corruption keep reaching new heights and they happen with greater frequency.
A case in point is, during the infrastructure development in preparation of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, service providers inflated their prices to make a greater profit at the expense of the taxpayer. Citing another example, we were all shocked to learn that Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which had a good international reputation, could be embroiled in corruption and maladministration.
In the final analyses; no one can dispute that: Corruption destroys the gains of our freedom!
The obvious question that follows is: Are things so bad that we might as well throw in the towel?
The UDM emphatically says NO!
As much as the situation in which we find ourselves might be discouraging and bleak, the UDM firmly believes that it is not too late for us to turn things around. There is so much untapped potential in our country and her people that we cannot, and should not, let go of the dream of prosperous nation.
In this manifesto the UDM makes a number of constructive suggestions to address some of the burning issues we face as a nation – for greater detail on our policies please visit our website www.udm.org.za.
As you read through this manifesto, remind yourself that you, the voter, have the power to make the dream of a prosperous South Africa a reality.
We need a government that puts South Africa and her people first. We deserve a government that will really take South Africa forward. Vote UDM!
Rule of law is a system on which a proper government should be based as it guards against the abuse of power and allows innovation and the economy to flourish.
As an indictment of our government, the Institute for Accountability unequivocally stated that, since 1994, the reason for poverty in South Africa is directly attributable to, “the theft” of R700-billion. The Institute further stated that government in fact had the resources necessary to uplift 11 million citizens from abject poverty – see http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/01/27/corruption-is-killing-the-poor).
The UDM sees corruption as one of the main contributors to unemployment, poverty, inequality and poor service delivery. Our people are so frustrated by their living conditions that their anger frequently boils over and instead of government listening to their concerns it dispatches the police.
We cannot hope to effectively eradicate poverty without addressing “institutionalised corruption”. There are many examples, such as the E-tolling system; Travelgate; the Oilgate/PetroSA (Iraq) scandal; the deal involving Hitachi, Eskom and Chancellor House Holdings; the IEC and the South African Police Services’ lease agreement scandals; Guptagate and also of course Nkandlagate.
Another typical example of the disregard of the rule of law is that, despite the fact that a court ordered the President of this country to hand over the so-called “spy tapes”, a government property, he refuses to do so. In yet another instance, cabinet chastised the Public Protector for simply fulfilling its mandate.
This cancer of corruption has implicated many top leaders and officials (including the highest office in this country) and it has spilled over into the private sector.
The brazen practice of corruption has the ruling party reeling from one scandal to the next. It has in fact reduced its promise to combat corruption to a joke.
How perfectly timed was the arrival of the Information Bill just after the media had exposed a number of corruption scandals. Although the jury is still out, there seems to be general consensus that the Bill was introduced to hide evidence of corrupt practices.
The tendency to appoint people with the “right political connections”, instead of those who have the right qualifications and/or skills, promote mediocrity.
One sees many examples of this tendency when one looks at the corrupt and ineffective state owned enterprises (SOEs) that serve as a gravy train for the elite. To make matters worse, the situation has become more complicated with the tri-partite alliance leaders now fighting over state resources forgetting that this infighting erodes investor confidence and leaves our people living in squalor without basic services.
A UDM Government commits itself to:
- promote a culture of good governance.
- respect the separation of powers of government, legislatures and the judiciary.
- develop a vetting process where persons nominated for positions in the executive are subjected scrutiny to establish their integrity and suitability to serve in a specific portfolio.
- restore proper relationships between politicians and officials; the current culture of political interference in the daily administration of government, causes bureaucratic chaos and fuels corruption and tender fraud.
- restore the powers of the accounting officers and ensure that there is no political interference. The role of political heads should be confined to oversight.
- introduce courts dedicated to handle cases of corruption; to swiftly eradicate corruption as demonstrated by the UDM’s track record of consistently and fearlessly exposing corruption.
- root out this culture where corruption is condoned and celebrated.
- conduct a skills audit to ascertain whether the right people are employed in the right posts and at the right levels.
- appoint government employees, leaders of the Chapter 9 Institutions and SOEs, based on merit, relevant knowledge and qualifications.
- review the current tender system that currently makes it possible for bribery and corruption to flourish.
SA economy in context
While the UDM acknowledges and appreciates the impact of the colonial and apartheid legacy on the South African economy, 20 years into our democracy there is clear verifiable evidence that poor policy choices, mismanagement, corruption and lack of visionary and imaginative intervention has negatively affected our economy. As a direct consequence, massive poverty, high unemployment (especially among the youth), growing inequality as well as shrinking productive manufacturing sector have become defining features of our economy. In recent years our global and continental competitiveness has been on the decline as reflected in most studies and surveys. The reality is that this country is fast becoming more of a welfare state than a developmental state with the swelling number of dependents on state-provided social security and diminishing productive sector of manufacturing and entrepreneurship. All this happens against the backdrop of escalating cost of living which puts a greater squeeze of economic hardship on the average citizen.
As an answer to these challenges, the UDM has a carefully considered plan to stimulate and grow the South African economy for the benefit of all its citizens while remaining globally competitive.
The economy and job creation
Since 1994 the paradox of the South African economy has been a jobless growth, even when this country has had a sustained growth for ten years. Therefore the recent global financial crisis can never be used as an excuse for what is obviously a structural problem perpetuated by poor policy choices by the ruling party. The problem is twofold, slow economic growth to meet the increasing demands for employment and development as well as jobless growth even in the sectors that have registered significant growth.
The ruling party has adopted policies that have failed to grow the South African economy at the rate required to create jobs. As a result, the average economic growth rate stands at a dismal 2.6% per annum compared to the other emerging markets and most African economies where average is between 6 and 8%. The official unemployment rate is 24.7%. This unemployment rate excludes those people who have given up looking for work. When this category is included in the overall measurement, the unemployment rate deteriorates to more than 35%, with youth the most affected. This presenting perfect conditions for social and political instability should this situation not be urgently addressed.
In other words, nearly 7 million South Africans are unemployed due to the misguided policies of the ruling party. According to the 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk report, South Africa has the third highest youth unemployment rate in the world. It estimates that more than 50% of young South Africans are unemployed and this rises to above 70% in some rural communities and informal settlements. The growing service delivery protests and labour unrest are objective irrefutable indications of a growing crisis, with the state more frequently relying on violence and brute force as evidenced by the Marikana Massacre and many other situations in communities in the Northwest and Limpopo.
The most painful irony is that the former liberation movement, that espoused egalitarian principles during the struggle years, now presides over the most grotesque and ever-worsening inequality. South Africa today has earned the dubious title of being one of the most unequal societies in the world even surpassing Brazil that has held this ignoble title for some time.
This badge of dishonour is a direct consequence of corruption and policies that allow the rich to accumulate obscene levels of wealth in a vast ocean of material poverty of the majority of our citizens.
This situation is made worse by the ruling party’s abuse of otherwise well-intended policies of empowerment such as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and state tender policies that are twisted to enrich the politically connected cadres of the ruling party. The most dramatic and symbolic demonstration of the social distance between the ruling political elite and the people is the failure to review and make modest the ministerial handbook. Even in the face of global and local economic and financial crises they insist on parasitic preservation of their lifestyle using taxpayers’ money.
Poor management of fiscus
The ruling party often prides itself on its ability to maintain fiscal discipline. However, in the past five years South Africa’s fiscal position has deteriorated significantly due to the ruling party’s poor management of the economy and its failure to improve the country’s competitiveness.
Nowhere is this loss of competitiveness more evident than in the current account deficit of 6% (R200 billion). In 2008, South Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 23%, and it is projected to reach 39.3% in 2013/14 and 43.9% in 2016/17. In 2007/2008 South Africa had a budget surplus of 1.7%. This surplus declined to a budget deficit of 4.2% in 2013/14, which puts our country in the unenviable position of operating twin deficits on the expenditure side of the budget and the current account.
It is clear that the ruling party has failed to properly manage our economy. It has also failed to close the gap between revenue and consumption and is therefore unfit to govern.
Government has failed to create an environment that is conducive for foreign direct investment. Instead it insists on keeping the interest rates artificially high in order to attract portfolio investments that are fickle in nature. This however raises the cost of credit for ordinary South Africans.
South Africa’s current cabinet is far too big to function effectively. Millions of taxpayers’ money is wasted on maintaining their opulent lifestyles with perks like fancy cars and luxury accommodation.
Government departments waste billions of rands hiring service providers and consultants to start projects; they however do not even make the effort to monitor progress and establish whether the minimum requirements are met. Such service providers are paid in full without government inspecting the quality of their work.
When international businesses seek to invest in our economy, they are “told” who their South African partners would be. A classic example would be the deal between Hitachi, Eskom and Chancellor House Holdings (the latter of course being the ruling party’s investment arm). This institutionalised corruption that makes potential investors think twice about investing in our economy.
UDM plans for economic development and job creation
After a careful analysis of South Africa’s economic challenges and opportunities, reinforced by comparative analysis of successful policies in other countries, the UDM has a practical realisable plan.
The basic philosophy of the UDM is that “Government Must Do More”. While the UDM recognises the valuable role that markets should play, it is of the firm belief that government must play a key role in creating a stable policy environment and developing the economy for the benefit of our people.
“Government Must Do More” means that a responsible government:
- cannot depend on market forces alone.
- cannot fail to decisively intervene in the economy whilst the quality of life of its citizens deteriorates, South Africans cannot find decent work, millions live in abject poverty and suffer because of underdevelopment.
- has to ensure that our political freedom translates into economic emancipation.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- use a manageable budget deficit and government debt to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
- implement the necessary checks and balances to ensure that government (i.e. taxpayer’s) money is not wasted.
- streamline the cabinet by appointing fewer ministers as part of cutting costs.
- review the public sector wage bill.
- stop the over-utilisation of consultants by appointing competent staff.
- stop the current practice of appointing individuals, who did not make it as public representatives, as so-called “advisors”.
- standardise the value of perks (e.g. vehicles) across the board for ministers, deputy-ministers, directors general, mayors and traditional leaders, etc.
- take action against any government employee found guilty of corruption, instead of rewarding them with ambassadorial posts.
Well-targeted strategic infrastructure development is critical for the proper functioning of the economy. It is the cornerstone of sustainable social and economic development. The ruling party’s infrastructure development programme is not properly planned and fails to address past imbalances and backlogs. For instance, while government has budgeted and approved more than R800 billion over the next few years for infrastructure development, very little of this is allocated to rural areas and other previously disadvantaged communities in the townships, informal settlements and peri-urban areas. As a result, the infrastructure in these areas is in a state of disrepair. This causes people to migrate to large cities in search of better job prospects and better living conditions. Even as new infrastructure is being put in place there is a decay of the old infrastructure due to the lack of maintenance plans.
In many parts of this country the only way to access service delivery requires that a citizen be a card-carrying member of a particular political party.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- draft a “map of infrastructure development” with emphasis on transparency and closer cooperation between government and the people.
- invest in the economy through a properly planned infrastructure development programme and other large scale, government funded programmes that are community-driven and applies good environmental practice.
- empower communities by investing in the transfer of knowledge and skills to create jobs.
- ensure that South Africans have access to passable roads, electricity, water irrigation and reticulation as well as a railway network.
- allocate a significant amount of resources to infrastructure development in rural areas and previously disadvantaged communities e.g. build roads and dipping tanks, fence grazing lands and mealie fields and adequate sanitation.
- ensure proper consultation with the affected communities before projects are rolled out.
- eradicate the culture of rolling out infrastructure development and basic service delivery to people who belong to a certain political party.
Small business development
Development of small businesses has been accepted worldwide as the backbone of global economic growth and development while simultaneously creating more jobs.
Small businesses in developed countries contribute more than 50% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while in Asia they contribute around 40%. In South Africa, too little has been done to reduce the costs and administrative burden for existing small businesses. As a result, our small businesses contribute around 30% to the GDP. Ironically, government’s delayed or even non-payment to small businesses has contributed to their collapse.
The UDM believes that a growth rate of 6 to 8% is required to reduce unemployment. To do this we need to unleash the creative spirit inherent in South Africans to create jobs. UDM also plans to reverse the trend of shrinking numbers of South Africans in the retail sector that is gradually being taken over by foreign nationals with little, if any, assistance provided to South Africans to compete effectively in this sector.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- develop a policy that will ensure a fair system where entrepreneurs and small business owners, from inside and outside of South Africa, can do business harmoniously.
- do more to promote small business development to ensure that our citizens become wealth creators rather than employment seekers.
- introduce capacity building and training programmes for aspirant and existing entrepreneurs as a way to encourage people to start new businesses and to improve the competitiveness of existing ones.
- identify and remove obstacles that inhibit small business development.
- create access to capital, for example, via development banks that assist sector specific entrepreneurs.
- facilitate access to new markets for their products.
- provide tax incentives for businesses that create jobs and specifically those in labour intensive industries.
- empower and create opportunities for unemployed graduates in beneficiation programmes.
- review labour policies to reflect the desire to stimulate SMME growth.
There is no equitable partnership between men and women. There needs to be a social paradigm shift about gender-equality that should usher in a new generation of women and men working together to create a humane world order.
The violent crime perpetrated against women and children should be addressed. Women must be assisted to establish co-ops as part of economic empowerment and job creation.
A UDM government commit itself to:
- ensure the participation of women in development processes with sustainable investment in capacity building through education, health and nutrition programmes.
- eliminate all obstacles that limit women’s access to wealth creation, decision-making, education, health care services and productive employment.
- a zero-tolerance system to punish, deter and rehabilitate offenders while supporting and restoring dignity and justice to victims.
According to the 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk Report, we have the third highest youth unemployment rate in the world. It estimates that more than 50% of young South Africans do not have jobs – this includes the semi-skilled and skilled youth.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- focus on initiatives to get our youth working through education, skills development and vocational training.
- initiate job creation and opportunities for young South Africans, by radically reducing the red-tape that stifles entrepreneurship, introducing targeted incentives and supporting programmes for small businesses started by young people.
- employ semi-skilled youth as “green battalions” in projects to remove alien species, combat soil erosion, help with afforestation projects and introduce sustainable subsistence farming.
- empower our youth to develop micro-businesses, where they could for instance recycle, maintain schoolyards, parks, cemeteries, sporting facilities, etc.
- arrange youth mentorship and exchange programmes through bilateral agreements with other countries.
Empowering people with disabilities
There is a whole department dedicated to improve the lives of women, youth and people with disabilities and yet those with disabilities are treated as the step-child of this department. There are very few people with disabilities who are employed, not only in the public service, but also in the private sector.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- develop policies based on the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as described in http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml.
- conduct regular audits to ascertain whether the public and private sectors are fair in giving people with disabilities the same opportunities as able persons.
In 1995, government embarked on a massive trade liberalisation programme that dramatically reduced trade tariffs in a wide range of labour intensive sectors, such as textile, agriculture and mining industries. This resulted in massive job losses as our core industries and labour intensive sectors had to compete with countries where such industries are heavily subsidised. Even worse, key strategic industries e.g. the steel industry (Iscor) were unbundled and sold to the private sector that now sells the same products for infrastructure development at inflated prices.
The governments of the most powerful economies in the world, such as America, China and India and various other countries in Europe recognise the responsibility they have to their citizens. They do not hesitate to intervene in their economies by protecting local jobs and businesses. A government that proposes anything less does not care, and is not willing to accept responsibility, for the welfare and prosperity of its people.
If you drive around in Ekurhuleni (in Gauteng), which used to be a hub of the steel industry, one only sees the scars of neglect and disuse because it could not compete with subsidised industries in other parts of the world.
The ruling party is obsessed with the concept of beneficiation – this is however mere lip service. How ironic that, we export raw materials only to import the final products. The ruling party thus creates jobs for people in other countries.
There are far too many instances where major developments, such as big mining projects, start in areas without the necessary consultation with the affected communities. What makes matters worse is that these companies, after pillaging the resources and damaging the environment, disappear into thin air.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- do more – a responsible government cannot depend on market forces alone and fail to intervene in the economy while the quality of the life of its citizens deteriorates and millions of our people live in abject poverty and under-development
- review South Africa’s international trade tariffs and duties to protect developing local industries, encourage exports, increase international trade and support inbound tourism.
- create an environment that is conducive for the manufacturing sector and industry to flourish.
- create Export Processing Zones (EPZ) or Industrial Development Zones (IDZ) on a trial basis in some of our coastal provinces or in identified industrial areas with the purpose of creating jobs.
- reduce the red tape that stifles the ability of domestic companies to export their products to the rest of the world.
- develop support programmes for the labour intensive sectors and give special attention to those that create job opportunities for all South Africans.
There has recently been some interest in the subject of the nationalisation of mines which raised tensions to a boiling point. This situation resulted in great instability, not only amongst mine workers and their employers, but it also negatively impacted on South Africa as an investment destination.
The complete UDM policy regarding minerals and energy is available on www.udm.org.za.
A UDM government commits itself to:
Make the mining topic one of the major points of discussion at the Economic Indaba which the UDM proposes. Some of the matters to be discussed are:
- the question of ownership of land, mines and mineral wealth.
- the allocation of mining rights to the ruling elite and its implications.
- socio-economic conditions of the workers and the communities that settle close to where the jobs are.
- the controversial issue of mineworkers’ access, or lack thereof, to a provident fund worth billions of rands.
- the unions’ investment arms and the pay-out of dividends to workers who have contributed to the fund.
- the appointment of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate how these workers’ monies had been invested, especially in cases where the workers were retrenched, had retired or passed away.
Our education system has become a political football and the solution lies in firm leadership. We need to restore authority to government and not teacher unions.
Government spends approximately 6% of GDP on education. Despite the significant amount of resources ploughed into our basic education system, South Africa’s quality of education is very poor.
This means that our children do not get the basic education they deserve thus leaving them ill-equipped to find employment. The 2013 matric pass rate of 78.2% is meaningless when one considers that the majority of matriculants can barely read and/or write. This scenario worsens when one considers that 60% of learners drop out before they reach Grade 10.
Another factor that puts our learners and teachers at a disadvantage is the chopping and changing of education policy with the appointment of each new minister. Just when the teachers master a new curriculum, they have to start from scratch and in turn the learners suffer.
Our tertiary institutions do not provide fair access to deserving students. They suffer from high drop-out rates and do not produce enough graduates to fill the skills shortages in the economy.
The Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) have failed spectacularly – after 20 years they have produced nothing more than employment opportunities for the ruling party cadres who could not find jobs elsewhere.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- translate the large education budget into quality education by developing and maintaining an education system that produces school-leavers and graduates that are equipped with job-related and life-skills.
- get back to the basics i.e. teachers must teach; learners must learn.
- free public education until Grade 12.
- career orientation and education will be enhanced to ensure that children can determine their future careers timeously and can reach the various goals on the way towards their employment.
- involve all the relevant stakeholders in curriculum development.
- design curriculum in such a way that it adapts to changing needs of society. it is important that the vital pillars of our education policy do not depend on the whims of one party’s minister, but are agreed to by all.
- improve the quality of the educational infrastructure, such as the physical infrastructure, teaching material and human resources.
- increase spending on the provision, development and maintenance of school buildings, water, sanitation and electricity.
- instil discipline, order, neatness and productivity.
- address the lack of commitment reflected in the neglect of the dress code by teachers and pupils as well as vandalism and truancy.
- ensure that crime, especially sexual harassment and abuse, at schools is met with zero-tolerance. Offenders will be removed from the institution and will face the full might of the law.
- foster a culture of learning and discipline with the reintroduction of regular school inspections.
- depoliticise the management and administration of schools by unions.
- review the entrance requirement as well as the curriculum for teacher training.
- include self-employment as a viable alternative within career guidance. Implement specific entrepreneurship education and training in the curricula of both basic and higher education institutions.
- review structures and curricula at FET colleges to ensure that they become more practical in addressing the needs of learners who aspire to be future entrepreneurs.
- restructure the SETAs by appointing the right people to the right positions.
Feeding South Africa – Food Security and Rural Development
The degradation of household food security in the country is of great concern. Though household food security is not the sole responsibility of the agricultural sector, it is vital that the production of food is stimulated to fulfil the needs of a fast growing population.
Rural revitalisation and economic stagnation
Many rural areas are in crisis with regard to resources and service delivery. Rural economies have imploded. The majority of people live in abject poverty.
A major flaw of economic policy in the past 20 years has been the failure of the ruling party to bring infrastructure in rural areas and townships on par with that in the cities.
People migrate to the large cities fuelling the chronic housing shortage; millions are forced to live in shacks because the infrastructure in the cities cannot keep pace with the demands of rapid urbanisation.
Commercial farmers and their concerns
In the past South Africa was net exporters of food and today we are net importers. It is extremely difficult for our commercial farmers to compete against their counterparts in other counties, because those countries make great effort to support their farmers.
The safety and security of those who live in rural areas and far-flung areas of our country is of great concern. Poor border control and stock theft have a negative impact on our farming communities.
Rural poverty is compounded by government’s neglect of development, alienation of farmers, communities and traditional leaders alike.
In some instances land lies fallow or commercially viable farms has become unproductive because the new owner/s of the land do not have the necessary knowledge and/or capacity to run those farms.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- use agriculture as a tool to expand our economy, create jobs and generate wealth, especially in rural areas.
- prioritise the needs of South African farmers by developing policies to subsidise farmers that will enable them to fairly compete against their international counterparts. We will also protect the South African market from the dumping of such subsidised products.
- reverse this situation through a concerted effort to stimulate agriculture and related businesses as well as using them as platforms for development in rural areas.
- create the necessary infrastructure that will create jobs and encourage the growth of more employment-creating agricultural-related enterprises, to ensure that the migration to urban areas is slowed down.
- accelerate the distribution of land in line with the UDM’s Land Policy and to encourage people to return to, or remain in, rural areas and start productive enterprises there.
- build infrastructure to support agricultural activity, such as irrigation schemes that have been proven to be successful in the past.
- establish “One-Stop Agricultural Service Centres” in rural areas where emerging farmers can ask for advice, veterinary services, access the necessary tools and knowledge to run their farms as businesses and also have a market for their produce.
- introduce special units specifically involved in rural safety through the deployment of reserve forces and other government security agencies to provide safety and enhance border control to curb stock-theft and smuggling.
- streamline the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to speed up the processes and restore land to their rightful owners, because the delays causes uncertainty and tension.
The role of traditional leaders in development
Traditional leaders have been side-lined for the past 20 years and they could have, and should, play an important role in rural revitalisation.
In rural municipalities tensions between traditional leaders and councillors have reached boiling point, because traditional leaders have been stripped of the power and the deference they are entitled to. Many of them feel that they are only given recognition at election time.
The houses that were established for traditional leaders are reduced to talk-shops and any decisions made by such bodies are not taken seriously by the ruling party.
There is no standardisation in terms of the packages of the traditional leaders of the various tribes.
Currently the poor are still disadvantaged in regards their access to, and the quality of, the primary health care they receive. It remains a sad fact of daily life for many South Africans who have to travel long distances to the nearest clinic or hospital.
Hygiene at many clinics and hospitals are at unacceptable levels and must be addressed immediately. Provision and medicine stock at many clinics and hospitals fall far short of the basic requirements. The current spread of infrastructure and services prevent medicine from reaching hospitals and clinics.
Inefficient mechanisms in the current system deprives patients, especially those in a critical state or in emergency, from being treated timeously and/or referred to institutions that are able to deal with their needs. At the moment patients are forced to wait hours and sit in long queues before they are assisted by staff that have a dismissive attitude towards their fellow humans in need.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- bring health care infrastructure and services closer to the poor.
- improve public health facilities and services, including the maintenance of hospitals and clinics.
- ensure that all hospitals and clinics are properly stocked with medicines and other medical supplies and/or equipment.
- ensure that allocated money is spent on the services for which it is intended. No “savings” on budgets or rollovers will be tolerated. Accounting officers shall comply with the principle that under-spending is worse than over-spending.
- ensure that all doctors and nurses at primary healthcare facilities are properly trained, qualified and well compensated.
- streamline referral procedures to ensure that patients who require emergency or specialised care receive speedy and appropriate treatment at the appropriate medical facility.
- ensure that the primary health care system is tailored to respond effectively to the major diseases threatening the South African population such as tuberculosis (especially drug-resistant tuberculosis), cholera and malaria which are preventable illnesses and/or that can be treated.
- ensure that nutrition education and family planning form a basic part of primary health care, recognising that appropriate education and training in these areas will have a major impact on the well-being of communities.
- ensure that the Department of Health is part of an integrated response to alcohol and drug abuse, recognising that substance abuse contributes to high levels of violence, death and the breakdown of South African society.
Justice cluster – safety and security
There is no synergy between the various partners in the justice cluster i.e. intelligence, police, the courts and correctional services. The only time when we see any semblance of synergy is when they act in defence of the ruling elite.
For many years the ruling party has refused to acknowledge the magnitude of the crime crisis facing South Africa (aside from the occasional outburst from a minister or two which never makes a difference). A world-class nation can exist only in a productive and safe environment that encourages enterprises to flourish whilst attracting local and foreign investments. It is extreme folly to parachute a national police commissioner, with no policing experience, to command the South African Police Force (SAPS) and that has a negative impact on discipline and morale.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- restore civil order as an immediate priority.
- develop a doctrine that ensures that our police service functions according to a set of rules that are in line with the values enshrined in our Constitution.
- enhance coordination between the ministries and departments of justice, the police service, correctional service, defence and national intelligence.
- improve border and rural security by making use of a re-empowered, reorganised and retrained reserve force of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to patrol our borders.
- transform certain units of the South African Army into smaller, disciplined, professional and well-trained forces that are able to rapidly expand and mobilise when required i.e. rhino poaching.
- implement a crime eradication strategy.
- encourage communities to participate in fighting crime through the establishment of neighbourhood watches, etc.
- improve the relationship between the public and police in order to enhance intelligence gathering.
- establish a baseline information system (database) for strategic planning around crime and policing issues.
- ensure that SAPS encourage the best and the brightest to rise through the ranks; thereby ensuring that the people who command the police force understand policing.
- promote regional cooperation between South Africa and its neighbouring countries. Such cooperation will, amongst others, include improved extradition treaties to ensure that criminals do not cross our borders with impunity.
Protecting the Environment
The issue of the environment is of critical national and international importance. The threats to the survival of our environment and the people who inhabit it makes the issue a top national priority.
The practice of proper use of land and resources is understood, but high levels of poverty in many parts of the country have led to the destruction of the environment; soil erosion, water pollution and widespread deforestation. As a result, desertification is threatening our country. It is critical that we uplift the poor and rescue our environment from permanent destruction. At the same time storms and adverse weather are becoming commonplace due to global climate change and this further exacerbates the threat to our environment.
The socio-economic implications of the destruction or degradation of our environment imposes a serious obligation on everybody to play his or her part to protect our environment. Environmental concerns require a holistic and non-political approach because it affects all players, irrespective of social standing.
Any activity by any person that harms the environment impacts on the lives of all the people of South Africa.
The task of saving our environment calls for the elevation of the problem as a priority that warrants a “Marshall Plan” to save our natural heritage. Such a plan should identify, build and reward individuals, institutions and community-based organisations to rescue and conserve our environment. Here a specific opportunity exists to make use of the many community radio stations, which are doing sterling work on reflecting community issues and are well-placed to raise awareness about environmental, health and the related issues. Government advertisements would also help to make these stations economically viable and break the artificial advertising monopoly of the SABC.
Community radio programmes would help with the broadening of knowledge, awareness of environmental issues and encourage commitment to its protection as well as development to show the poor who may have previously viewed issues of environment as a preoccupation of the wealthy. It must be made known to all our people that environmental concerns and strategies are geared towards the improvement of the quality of lives of all our people without exception.
We must defuse the potential conflict between the imperatives of conservation and those of resource-poor communities. We need to link conservation with socio-economic development by allowing communities to have sustainable access to the life-supporting and income-earning potential of nature reserves and other protected areas.
Population, resources and land distribution will remain areas of challenge and opportunity. The environmental and socio-political needs must deal with the material and perceived legacy of apartheid. In environmental management terms, this might mean a shift in focus to living and working environments and land reform.
The UDM supports sustainable environmental development, in other words, we want that the prosperity we create today to not leave future generations without useful resources. The UDM believes that, through the implementation of bio-diversity programmes thousands of jobs can be created – it is possible to generate jobs and business opportunities whilst being environmentally responsible.
A UDM Government will pursue the following objectives:
Implementation of tax incentives to encourage the private sector and other institutions to invest in the development of technologies for conservation and sustainable use of bio-diversity programmes.
Similarly more active enforcement of the environmental law is required. Individuals or organisations that contravene these laws must be penalised.
The massive number of environmental laws and regulations must immediately be consolidated into one concise and effective law.
In South Africa in particular, and in the world in general, we face three major environmental crises: climate change, water scarcity and the energy crisis. These three challenges pose massive threats and require a concerted national and international response.
A UDM Government would be a champion of these causes locally, on the continent and in international forums.
Political accountability is at the heart of fully-functioning democracy.
The current proportional representation (PR) system means that elected leaders are accountable solely to their party bosses and not to the people who voted them into office. We need to be discard the PR system sooner rather than later.
In addition the current practice where political parties impose their choice of president on the nation is profoundly undemocratic.
A UDM government commits itself to:
- move towards a mixed electoral system that draws from the strengths of both the proportional and constituency based electoral systems. The first major step we will take is the introduction of constituencies into the PR system to ensure that politicians have a specific geographically-defined community they represent.
- change the electoral laws to allow for a separately elected President, as is the case in many democracies across the globe in that way we will put the power back in the hands of the voters.