UDM FAQs

/UDM FAQs
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The UDM believes that traditional circumcision speaks to the essence of being of many of the people our people.

Whilst the UDM is fully cognisant of the horrific number of fatalities suffered by initiates at traditional circumcision schools, a sensitive balance must be kept between prevention of loss of life, innovation and the preservation of our culture.

Yes, the UDM believes in respect for, and the promotion of, universal human rights, justice and democracy.

South Africa’s peaceful transformation to democracy gives it the moral status and legitimacy to play a leading and universal role in the promotion of human rights and democracy.

While the UDM believes that the role of an interfering international moral crusader would be counter-productive and harmful to South Africa’s national interests, it stands for “prudent activism” and collective foreign policy engagement e.g. multilateral peace-keeping in cases of serious human rights violations.

A UDM government will cooperate with other states and international bodies such as the United Nations to protect and promote human rights and democracy on a universal basis.

At the outset, a UDM Government shall ensure a coherent framework for the development of, and investment in the energy sector.  In this respect, the formulation of an Integrated Energy Plan shall be paramount, which will include enhanced attention to renewable energy resources.

The UDM will promote renewable energy resources as a greater component in the energy mix of South Africa. Renewable energy resources include hydro, solar and wind related energy generation.

To this end economically feasible technologies and applications shall be encouraged and implemented, if necessary, by way of incentives. Targets will be set for the gradual and systematic increase in the use of renewable energy resources, coupled with a reduction in the reliance on finite and environmentally unsound energy resources.

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 UDM would add the topic of mining as one of the major points of discussion at the economic indaba we have proposed. 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.

Xenophobia is an unhappy truth and we need to build an internal economic capacity in our country to minimise the growing xenophobia which is spawned by competition for scarce resources by locals and immigrants.

Government can hardly blame our people for their violent expression of dissatisfaction with the situation – this however does not excuse burning down shops and hurting fellow human beings.

In addition the UDM believes that effective border control, specifically illegal arrival/departure of goods and persons, is necessary and that this would also curb xenophobic attacks.

The UDM subscribes to the South African constitution which states in Section 12(2)(a) that, “Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right […] to make decisions concerning reproduction,” while section 27(1)(a) states “Everyone has the right to have access to […] health care services, including reproductive health care.”

We, however, also recognise that many South Africans do not agree with a pro-choice point of view and since this not a decision to be made lightly, the UDM favours a referendum on abortion, and if necessary, an amendment of the constitution.

Women are the backbone of our society; they are life-givers, nurturers and educators. They are our foundation and our moral compass.

The vast black majority of this country are still relegated to physical, economic and social backwaters of society with inferior education and health. Among these poor and marginalised masses, women are often the poorest of the poor.

In addition, the unfortunately reality is that there is no equitable partnership between men and women in South Africa.

As a nation, we need to make 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 concept of “traditional leaders” does not only include kings, but the whole hierarchy of traditional rule and this includes, for instance, chiefs and headmen.

For millions of South Africans, traditional leaders are the custodians of their culture, traditions and values. They are authority figures, undisputed leaders and they are decision makers. They are closest form of government to our people, especially in rural South Africa.

When you talk about “lifestyle”, it has a negative connotation – I guess that the example here is His Majesty King Zwelethini and the perceived excesses of his lifestyle at the taxpayer’s expense. The sad irony is that there are gross disparities between how the traditional leaders of the various tribes, at various levels, are treated.

The UDM will never support the indiscriminate waste of taxpayers’ money, but we are of the view that the value of the perks (such as vehicles) must be properly budgeted for and, of critical importance, is that such perks should be standardised across the board for ministers, deputy-ministers, directors general, mayors and traditional leaders.

Our constitution protects our individual rights and freedoms. Customary law in some of our cultures allow for a man to have several wives. Although we don’t think this is prevalent in South Africa; if a man can have several wives, what is to stop a woman from having several husbands?

We however do not think that this topic would have been a point of discussion if it had not been for the fact that President Zuma is a practising polygamist.

At the heart of this debate is not whether one approves or disapproves of this practice, but whether the taxpayer must foot the bill for their lifestyles – even should Mr Zuma accumulate another wife or wives.

When one considers the whole Nkandla debacle, the whole issue crystallises into an even clearer picture.

The basic health care system itself.

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.

The country’s states that each South African is entitled to basic health care and the UDM supports the idea of helping the poorest of the poor. One of our main philosophical points of departure is: “Government must do more”.

The danger with a national health insurance is that this will be maladministered. Check and balances need to be put in place and monitored closely.

Some believe that South Africa’s massive social security programme is a calculated strategy by current government to maintain power. It is a pity that social grants have become a political football.

The UDM agrees that there is a need for social grants to help those South Africans who are vulnerable and need assistance. In terms of the current grants, a UDM government will however seek to improve certain aspects e.g. to extend child support grants up to 18 years and the expansion of assistance of child-headed households.

In the long-term a UDM government will ensure that the economy creates jobs on a massive scale to lessen this burden on the taxpayer; we must assist people to become economically independent.

Yes; a UDM government will introduce free public education until Grade 12.

There is enough money to provide free education, the problem lies with the poor management and maladministration of the budget. Despite ploughing approximately 6% of GDP into our basic education system the quality of education remains poor.

However, sending our children to school for free, is not the only factor to consider. We can swop the concept around: The South African basic public education system has to: “Go back to the basics” i.e. teachers must teach; learners must learn.

Amongst others, the UDM will

  • Improve the quality of the educational infrastructure, such as the physical infrastructure. By this we mean:
    • Building and maintaining schools as well as the necessary specialised classrooms, such as science and computer laboratories.
    • Provision of water, electricity, sanitation, etc.
    • Provision teaching material and timeous delivery thereof and
    • Allocation of adequate human resources and proper compensation for educators.
  • Introduce appropriate career orientation to ensure that our children can determine their future careers timeously.
  • Ensure that crime, especially sexual harassment and abuse, at schools is met with zero-tolerance.
  • Foster a culture of learning, discipline, order, neatness and productivity – in part this will be achieved with the reintroduction of regular school inspections.

Though our nation has come far in healing some of the injuries of the past, racial intolerance unfortunately still mars our society. The recent incident of alleged racism at the University of the Free State immediately springs to mind.

The SA Human Rights Commission recently said that racism allegations on average make up 80% of the 10,000 human rights complaints it receives annually. We cannot deny, or turn a blind eye to, these statistics.

We need to frequently discuss racism as a nation. Not to label or discriminate against each other, but to foster tolerance, to learn about our fellow South Africans and remind ourselves to never repeat the human rights abuse of our past.

The UDM has batted on the wicket of anti-corruption and good governance since its inception in 1997. Our track record bears testimony to this fact.

Corruption is one of the main contributors to unemployment, poverty, inequality and poor service delivery. As part of our ethos, the UDM will (amongst others) do the following to combat corruption:

  • Restore proper relationships between politicians and officials. The current culture of political interference in the daily administration of government causes bureaucratic chaos, fuels corruption and tender fraud.
  • Appoint government employees and leaders of the Chapter 9 institutions and SOEs based on merit, and the relevant knowledge and qualifications.
  • Review the current tender system that makes it possible for bribery and corruption to flourish.
  • Introduce courts dedicated to handle cases of corruption.

Again I make the point that the sunset clauses should be discussed at an economic indaba.

That said, land ownership in South Africa has a painful history since it played a central role in the racially divisive politics of the past. It is for that reason that land ownership must be dealt with fairly and why the constitutional right to own land must be realised quickly and effectively by government.

The failure of the current government to make sufficient progress on equitable land ownership deprives South Africans of a vital nation building tool. The UDM maintains that slow delivery of land occurs due to corruption, ineffective government and maladministration.

The UDM therefore proposes that the process of equitable land distribution must be streamlined and accelerated.

This is a tricky matter. Making fundamental changes to any constitution has inherent risks and we do not have to look far to see how dire the consequences can be.

That said, during the Codesa negotiations the sunset clauses (as proposed by the late Mr Joe Slovo) was helped to reach compromise. The bargain that was struck did not meet with the approval of all the negotiating parties, but in the end it may well have paved the way for a bloodless transition to a free South Africa.

Are the sunset clauses still relevant? This is what we should debate. The UDM is of the view that an economic indaba, on the scale of Codesa, should be held where all interested parties and stakeholders can meet to discuss the challenge pertaining to land and property ownership.

We have to recognise that South Africa has a painful history regarding the death penalty. Many of our people had paid the ultimate price for their political convictions, because they were considered criminals in terms of unjust laws.

This is a serious matter and the UDM does not believe that Parliament alone can take this decision without the input of the nation.

A UDM government will call for a national referendum and should the majority of the population support such a measure, the UDM will introduce capital punishment. We however propose that benchmarking studies would be important so that we may learn from other countries’ experience in this regard.

The UDM subscribes to the supreme law of the country – our constitution – and the bill of rights is clear on what constitutes discrimination. Gay and lesbian South Africans are therefore entitled to live their lives as they choose.

In addition, the UDM’s party platform includes the following basic principles:

  • respect for life, dignity and human worth of every individual;
  • the individual rights and freedoms enshrined in our Country’s Constitution;
  • tolerance and respect for the rights and freedoms of others.

The crime crisis is broader than only the improvement of policing. We have to keep in mind other stakeholders such as intelligence, the courts and correctional services.

The UDM has long proposed the creation of a Crime Prevention Ministry as the present criminal justice cluster struggles to implement coordinated strategies that are driven from the highest levels.

However, our first line of defence against crime is SAPS and they have broken their trust relationship with the public. They have much work to do, to again earn the confidence and respect of South Africans.

The UDM believes that the following strategies will help counteract crime:

  • Eradication of corruption in the criminal justice cluster must be a priority.
  • Development of a doctrine to ensure that our police functions according to a set of rules that is in line with the values enshrined in our constitution.
  • Establish or reinforce community programmes to encourage communities to participate in neighbourhood watches and intelligence gathering.
  • Promote the best and the brightest through the police ranks thus ensuring that those who command understand policing.

Introduce special units to ensure rural safety, through the deployment of reserve forces and other government security agencies, to provide safety in far flung areas and also enhance border control.

The development of small businesses is accepted worldwide as the backbone of global economic growth while simultaneously creating jobs.

If given the mandate to govern, the UDM will:

  • Introduce training programmes for aspirant and existing entrepreneurs to encourage people to start their own businesses and to improve the competitiveness of existing ones.
  • Identify and remove obstacles that inhibit small business development.
  • Ensure access to capital, for example via development banks, which assist sector specific entrepreneurs.
  • Facilitate access to new markets for entrepreneurs to sell their services and/or products.
  • Provide tax incentives for businesses to create jobs; specifically in labour intensive industries.
  • Empower and create opportunities for unemployed graduates in beneficiation programmes.
Formation of the National Consultative Forum – During his testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Holomisa made reference to a possible bribe that was paid to the former Prime Minister of Transkei, Chief George Matanzima and Miss Stella Sicgau, the then incumbent Prime Minister. Holomisa was expelled from the ANC because of these allegations. In November 1996 Holomisa publicly announced consulting South Africans on the need or not for a new political party. With this objective, the National Consultative Forum (NCF) was established on 8 February 1997.

New Movement Process – Roelf Meyer left the National Party on 17 May 1997, including fellow politicians Nilo Botha, Takis Christodoulou, Kobus du Plessis and Annelizé van Wyk, some of whom had resigned their seats in the Gauteng Legislature. At a three-day strategic planning conference in May 1997, it was decided that a political movement should be established capable of unifying people around shared values across racial, historical, ideological and social dividing lines. The New Movement Process (NMP) was subsequently established.

Bantu Holomisa and Roelf Meyer (who had met previously, with Meyer still representing the National Party to discuss the process for a new movement) again met at Loftus Versveld, in mid-1997, to discuss working together and agreed in principle to explore the possibility of formal cooperation. A Joint Committee (JC) between the NCF and the NMP was formed to look into matters of common interest. The JC amalgamated its two (NCF and NMP) technical support teams into a Technical Committee (TC) to act as its executive body to implement the brief of the JC. This was to “look into matters of common interest between the two sides… consider… the establishment of a new party at an appropriate time… (and) in regard to the latter question… (investigate) matters of strategy, time scales, policy and funding”. The TC was jointly chaired by Kobus du Plessis (NMP) and Joel Mafenya (NCF) and its first meeting took place at the Carlton Hotel on 22 June 1997. After a joint strategic session at the Vaal Dam in July 1997 it was agreed that a new political party should be formed.

The United Democratic Movement was launched at the World Trade Centre, in Kempton Park, on 27 September 1997. Bantu Holomisa was elected the party’s first president at it’s first national congress in June 1998.

The Core Values, which the United Democratic Movement will uphold and promote and upon which its fundamental policy positions are based, are as follow:

  • respect for life, dignity and human worth of every individual;
  • integrity in public- and private life;
  • the individual rights and freedoms enshrined in our Country’s Constitution;
  • tolerance and respect for the rights and freedoms of others;
  • solidarity in the common spiritual ownership of all that is good in our Country;
  • national self-discipline based on an acceptance that each right and freedom carries with it a corresponding and equal obligation and responsibility;
  • national moral regeneration towards a clear distinction between right and wrong, between what is acceptable conduct and what not, between good and evil;
  • economic policies based on moral values;
  • freedom of religion and worship.

National Congresses of the UDM

1st National Congress
27 June 1998
Johannesburg
2nd National Congress
8 and 9 December 2001
Pretoria
3rd National Congress
9, 10 and 11 December 2005
Mthatha
4th National Congress
17, 18 and 19 December 2010
Port Elizabeth