article by Bantu Holomisa published in the New Agenda
During my career I have witnessed many governments come and go. As a former head of the Transkei Military Government, I have had an overview of what the Apartheid Government and the Bantustans had done, in comparison with what the current government is doing.
The previous regime’s policies and abuse of human rights is well documented; including some homelands.
Although I was heading this discredited institution, I was able to forge close links with all the liberation movements, when we ascended to power, as my government lent a shoulder in fighting for the freedom of all South Africans.
One of the reasons why we supported the struggle was that we were hopeful that the new government would address the backlogs and imbalances of the past, especially in the townships and homelands.
Indeed when the African National Congress (ANC) ascended to power in 1994 we can say that they started well. They made much progress in areas such as electrification, access to water and providing homes for the poor in the cities.
However what shocked South Africans is the poor quality of the infrastructure they were given. Electricity is not reliable; water projects are launched only to break down after a few months and the RDP houses are worse than those built for blacks by the Apartheid government. Many towns have become slums because of the poor maintenance of infrastructure across the country.
Where they had failed completely was on the question of employment. We see stark difference between the economic policies of the partners in the ruling alliance and in the past twenty years they have spent much energy vacillating between which routes to follow.
Unemployment and poverty is a direct contradiction of freedom. Real freedom – political, social and economic – provides dignity to a nation. On the other hand, unemployment and poverty undermines it.
South Africans are suspicious and mistrust government because of perceptions that it is not equitably distributing the resources of the country. A new privileged political elite exclusively enjoys the resources.
There is no consensus on a macro-economic policy that can transform the economy in a manner that could create and spread wealth wider and improve the lot of the disadvantaged majority. There are in particular concerns about the inadequacies and contradictions of the fiscal and industrial policies.
Our economy suffers from jobless growth due to the confusion created by an ambivalent tripartite alliance. This ruling clique preaches elimination of unemployment in the streets and legislate retrenchments and greater unemployment in Parliament.
In the past 16 years, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) has been calling for GOVERNMENT TO DO MORE!
Government has a responsibility to intervene and protect the South African economy and South African jobs when necessary. Whilst Free Market Capitalism is the best economic system developed by humanity, it is still fraught with weaknesses and failures that must be actively managed.
The situation in South Africa is compounded by high levels of corruption.
The UDM has over the years been involved in exposing many of these scandals. We have the resolve and commitment to fight corruption, and take on any party, no matter its history or power, to ensure that South Africans have the ethical governance that they deserve.
These are but some examples of the UDM’s active role in national politics and the further consolidation of South Africa’s democracy. As our actions and words have proved, the UDM is a viable, trustworthy and reliable opposition party.