• The National Chairperson of the UDM, Mr Zolisa Lavisa,
• UDM Secretary General, Mr Bongani Msomi
• The Members the UDM National Executive Committee Officer,
• UDM PEC Members,
• UDM Members of Parliament, Legislature and Councillors,
• UDM REC Members,
• Traditional Leaders,
• Honoured Guests,
• Members of the Media,
• UDM Members,
• Fellow South Africans:

WELCOME

I am pleased to welcome you to the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) Manifesto Launch for the 2014 elections. On behalf of the UDM I thank you for taking time to share this important day with us.

Before I deliver my address, I would like to request that we all stand and pay our last respects to the late UDM Deputy-President, Mr Ntopile Kganyago and our late global icon and former President, Mr Nelson Mandela.

My fellow South Africans who are seated in this hall, as well as those who are watching and listening from all corners in Africa.

FREEDOM AT LAST – THE RIGHT VOTE

2014 is an auspicious year when South Africa marks twenty years of freedom and democracy.

We should be proud of the fact that our people have been empowered to cast their vote to choose a government of their liking.

In many countries on the Continent, true democracy is a pipe dream and more often than not governments are changed at the barrel of the gun. In that regard we have made much progress after the Apartheid ended.

I am sure that you, my fellow South Africans, will agree that in spite of our wonderful Constitution, and specifically the Bill of Rights, we have not yet reached the goal of transforming our Country into a Winning Nation.

BRIEF STATE OF THE NATION

Today, we are meeting at a time when the tensions between the police and members of the public are at an all-time high due to service delivery protests that are often characterised by anger and violence.

The growing service delivery protests and labour unrests are an irrefutable indication of a growing crisis with the state relying more and more on violence and brute force as the infamous Marikana massacre and many other communities in the Northwest and Limpopo province have shown.

During protests the ruling party sadly sends in the police to brutalise the public, instead of dispatching senior government officials to attend to the people’s concerns and complaints.

In addition, councillors have become convenient scapegoats for the ruling party for service delivery failures.

The situation is made worse by the fact that the ruling party, which is supposed to provide leadership, is imploding. This infighting has even spilled over to the local government level. Local government in South Africa is in shambles.

Councillors have usurped the powers of the administrators and they often fail to distinguish between the party and the state. In many municipalities, councillors decide who should get which tenders and why and state resources are used for party political programmes.

Another area of concern at local government level is that the institution of traditional leaders has been side-lined in rural development programmes.

The UDM is of the view that the local government system should be overhauled as a matter of urgency.

Talking of traditional leaders, the UDM believes that the institution of traditional leaders should be given the respect it deserves.

The UDM commits itself to ensure that the decisions made by the traditional houses are referred the relevant bodies, such as the National Assembly and the National Council of Province for action.

The UDM commits itself to capacitate traditional leaders to take a leading role in rural development and the colleges for the children of traditional leaders will be reopened.

The UDM commits itself to standardise the packages of the traditional leaders of the various tribes.

Travelling the lengths and breadths of our country during our party programmes revealed once more that our people are yearning for a strong political alternative. This compelled the opposition parties to engage in a series of discussions to explore possible models of cooperation.

It is however important to highlight that political realignment is a process, not an event. Finding ideological and programmatic compatibility among different political parties is not an easy process. It requires proper sequencing and pacing due to the number of people and processes it involves.

In 2010, the UDM National Congress gave us the mandate to actively find ways in which we can work and cooperate with sister opposition parties before and after the 2014 elections.

But let me ask you a few questions…

1. Do you think that rich people are getting more and more money, and that poor just sink deeper into poverty?

1.1 Problem statement

South Africa today has earned the dubious title of being one of the most unequal societies in the world.

This badge of dishonour is a direct consequence of corruption and policies that allow the rich to accumulate obscene wealth in a vast ocean of poverty.

This situation is made worse by the ruling party’s abuse of otherwise well-intended policies of empowerment such as BEE and state tender policies which are twisted to enrich the politically connected few.

Even in the face of global and local economic and financial crises they insist on parasitic preservation of their lifestyle through taxpayers’ money.

The most painful irony is that of a former liberation movement that espoused egalitarian principles during the struggle years, that presides over the most sophisticated form of institutionalised corruption, which worsens inequality.

Do you agree with the UDM that: Corruption destroys the gains of our freedom?

1.2. Some of the UDM’s solutions are to:
1.2.1. root out this culture of corruption being celebrated and condoned – this can be done by applying the rule of law across the board irrespective of one’s social standing.
1.2.2. promote a culture of good governance.
1.2.3. Instil respect for the separation of powers of government, legislatures and the judiciary.
1.2.4. restore the powers of the accounting officers and ensure that there is no political interference.
1.2.5. introduce special courts dedicated to handle cases of corruption, as was done during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, to swiftly deal with cases of corruption.
1.2.6. conduct a skills audit to find out if the right people are employed in the right posts and at the right levels. Intensify training of civil servants.
1.2.7. review the current tender system that currently makes it possible for bribery and corruption to flourish.

2. Have you successfully completed your matric and/or degree, only to find that there are no job opportunities for you?

2.1 Problem statement

The reality