Check against delivery
• UDM Deputy President, Mr Nqabayomzi Kwankwa
• Provincial UDM Leaders of our host province, the Eastern Cape,
• UDM leaders of the OR Tambo Region
• Cllr Luxolo Namette, Deputy Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality
• UDM Councillors
• Members and supporters of the UDM
• Ladies and gentlemen, those here present and those watching at home
Welcome to the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) ceremonial launch of our election campaign, and our manifesto, for the 2021 Municipal Elections.
Even though we are thankful for the rain, to those who are present, thank you for braving the weather to be here.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) timetable dislodged most political parties, but here we are, launching our manifesto under these difficult circumstances.
A big thank you goes out to all the people that contributed to the success of today’s event.
There are too many to mention by name, but you did a massive job under very difficult circumstances! Thank you for your hard work!
I quickly want to mention that there are some discrepancies with the UDM candidates’ lists and names that appear in wrong slots on some of the IEC’s published lists.
The EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) Secretary General confirmed the same to me last night, as well as he President of the ATM (African Transformation Movement) this morning.
I have heard that the AIC (African Independent Congress) and the PAC (Pan Africanist Congress of Azania) have also concurred.
The UDM has already submitted our complaint over these lists with the IEC and we qualify them as technical glitches on their part.
Insofar as the plea from our ward candidates to be assisted with posters, we have some good news!
The UDM will be footing the bill.
You are requested to WhatsApp your high-resolution head-and-shoulder photographs to our National Treasurer, Ms Thandi Nontenja, via your local regional leadership.
2. UDM victories
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in saying: “Happy Birthday UDM”, as we recently celebrated our 24th birthday on the 27th of September.
Yet another achievement is that this will be the fifth municipal elections in which the UDM will participate since our inception in 1997.
The UDM and its leaders have always operated from a non-partisan position, with a view to achieve social cohesion and transforming South Africa into a Winning Nation.
Over the past 24 years, these are some of the highlights:
• The UDM was instrumental in agitating for the abolishing of immoral floor-crossing legislation, which is no longer on our statute books.
• I was a founder member of the Thuthuka project in collaboration with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and others. This project developed study guides in English, math and accounting and produced more black chartered accountants.
• When the Mandela family requested my assistance in the preparation for Madiba’s final farewell, I accepted without hesitation.
• During the Conference of the Parties to CITES 17 (CoP17), we assisted with the planting of 35,000 indigenous trees in the Zulu Kingdom whilst under the reign of His Majesty the late King Goodwill kaZwelithini, as part of the fight against climate change.
• When our soldiers threatened to rebel due to bad service conditions in the South African National Defence Force, we stepped up to the plate when former President Jacob Zuma and then Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu asked for assistance and successfully quelled the threatening uprising.
• I served on the National Defence Force Service Commission when mandated to do so by the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans.
• When Covid-19 hit our shores, I raised around R750,000 in donations to purchase PPE (personal protective equipment) for around 32 health centres and hospitals in the Eastern Cape.
• We recently joined forces with the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) leader Zwelinzima Vavi to mediate, with fruitful results, in the dispute between Cape Town taxi associations.
• During the KwaZulu-Natal mayhem I assisted a group of business women to fundraise for food parcels for adversely affected families in KwaNongoma, with the delivery made to His Majesty Misuzulu Zulu kaZwelithini.
• UDM Deputy President Nqabayomzi Kwankwa’s African Parliamentarians Association for Human Rights (AfriPAHR) have been doing sterling work in Africa.
He was recently appointed as the Africa-representative to the steering committee of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief.
• Since 1999, the UDM advocated for the changing of the rules of the party-political funding.
The ANC (African National Congress) and the DA (Democratic Alliance) dug in their heels and refused to budge for many-many years.
We are now vindicated as parties are forced to declare their donations.
We now also know why they were so reluctant to share that information, and one wonders, what that picture would have shown over the years.
• When President Ramaphosa asked me to serve on the Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission, which advises on South Africa’s climate change response, I said yes.
• The UDM’s exposure of alleged corruption in the Public Investment Corporation, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Department of Education and the Ministry of Defence, is well documented.
• Students may find the correspondence regarding our unceasing constituency work, where we advocate for communities and individuals, on the UDM’s website at www.udm.org.za.
Ladies and gentlemen, these local government elections are already demonstrating voters’ appetite for issue-driven manifestos.
This trend will continue in the 2024 general elections.
South Africans are no longer interested in catchy slogans and hollow promises.
You know what the problems are, and you want solutions.
A case in point, is the confessions made at the Zondo Commission.
As we heard, for many years, massive amounts of money were syphoned from the government and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) into the ruling elite’s pockets and to Luthuli House.
We even heard how Bosasa cash paid for events and Siyanqoba rallies in the 2014 elections.
These millions and billions of Rands, should have created jobs, maintained infrastructure and kept the SOEs functioning properly.
Yet it all went to shambles, whilst some people and their party were gorging at the trough.
Now, voters want to know how and when the stolen money will be returned, and when the corrupt will be brought to justice.
The UDM is of the view that as soon as possible after these municipal elections, like-minded South Africans of all persuasion should converge under one roof to discuss this country’s future.
Waiting for the ruling party, which thoroughly ruined this country, to have its much-vaunted self-correcting nature to kick in and fix this country, is an exercise in futility.
At such a gathering, a quick and simple blue print should be crafted that will address the burning issues that are affecting South Africa’s economic performance and our image.
4. Is our local government system working at its best?
Ladies and gentlemen, the previous South African local government system saw councillors essentially work for free.
It was therefore an improvement when in the new South Africa, we ushered in a system that compensated those leaders in government who worked closest to our people.
Yet, 27 years later, we should be honest with ourselves and admit that our local government system is not working in all respects.
The UDM is of the view that the entire local government system must be reviewed; in main because it fosters Tenderpreneurship and the abuse of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Year-upon-year municipalities receive qualified audits from the Auditor General (AG) as fruitless and wasteful expenditure keep growing.
UDM municipalities will tighten the screws where financial management is concerned in co-operation with provincial and national governments.
Where we govern, the UDM will simply implement the AG’s instructions and recommendations of the last financial year’s audit report.
We will also work closely with law enforcement to implement the AG’s findings where prosecution is necessary.
5. Our budgeting system is dysfunctional
We must also review the budgeting system, as the three-year allocation cycle does not work.
Municipalities, especially districts, blow their budgets within the first year, mainly due to corruption and poor planning.
Projects, particularly those in road and water, come to a grinding halt in the second year as funds dry up.
Projects remain unfinished until someone wakes up five years later.
This is exactly what happened with the 2019-OR Tambo water and sanitation project which left villages from Mthatha and Mqanduli up to Coffee Bay dry, until today.
6. Powers and competency
To mention the OR Tambo District Municipality in yet another compromising story; this council had the dubious honour of simultaneously having two speakers and two mayors as the ruling party’s infighting interfered in their work.
I am proud to say that the UDM councillors did not side with either faction, which brings me to my next point.
UDM municipalities and councillors will not fall into the trap of politicising service delivery and the Integrated Development Planning programme.
We will work together with all communities irrespective of political affiliation, be accountable and will give feedback.
Further to our goal of Putting People First; the UDM will strive to work with other political parties that might govern at provincial and national levels to depoliticise and achieve service delivery.
Furthermore, in UDM municipalities, councillors will keep their noses clean, and they will stick to their role of oversight.
7. Local economies and job creation
The UDM has long argued that rural revitalisation and stimulating smaller local economies are key elements to addressing some of the weaknesses in our economy.
Creating jobs closer to where our people live will curb the massive influx to the cities where job-hopefuls come to have their dreams dashed.
We believe, for instance, that the closure of the so-called border-industries, which created jobs close to the former homelands, was a case of throwing the baby away with the bathwater.
UDM municipalities will therefore advocate for tax incentives to be reinstated for factories to be reopened closer to where rural communities live.
UDM municipalities will also conduct audits of current industrial areas and infrastructure within the boundaries of the municipalities where we govern.
Such audits will show where the potential for development and investment-needs are.
The UDM is, furthermore, all about transparency and consultation.
We will enter into discussions with communities, interest groups and business-organisations, and business-owners.
This will, in part, act as an indicator for the direction in which industrial and commercial development should take place.
Regarding the employees of the Expanded Public Works Programme, the UDM will employ those who qualify, without considering political affiliation.
We will pay them a decent living wage because we know they have responsibilities like everyone else.
The UDM will ensure that ward councillors play only an oversight role and do not manipulate this process.
The UDM is passionate about establishing job-creating programmes that will deal with environmental issues such as soil erosion, eradicating invader plants, fencing off grazing and arable land, and desilting riverbeds and dams to hold more water for the dry season.
8. Revenue generation
The phenomenon of the illegal occupation of buildings owned by local government must stop.
This is a symptom of municipalities that do not care, have lax administration, and have no inspection and law enforcement capacity.
UDM municipalities will conduct physical inspections, audits and inventories of moveable and immovable property, to have a clear picture of the state of the municipalities’ properties, their state and their values.
In instances where businesses are illegally run from such premises, the UDM will address the matter in accordance with the relevant legislation.
We will also liaise with the South African Revenue Services to ensure that these businesses are up to date with their taxes.
There are far too many examples of people living in industrial zones and industries and businesses operating from housing zones.
In UDM municipalities we will ensure that proper town-planning takes place, and that zoning is in accordance with the law and is strictly adhered to.
9. Our people’s access to water
Ward councillors who are closest to the people bear the brunt of complaints, as water is cut-off without notice, no explanation, and no indication of when it will be turned on.
Worse still is that people in many places are without water for days, sometimes weeks, and they buy bottled drinking water to cook, bathe and to do their washing.
Councillors at district level, where this competency resides, coast along as if nothing is wrong whilst the people are deprived of their constitutional right.
UDM municipalities and councillors will advocate for water to be made a competence at local municipality level or that service level agreements are signed with district municipalities.
Either model will enable local municipalities to take responsibility for water supply and benefit from its earning potential.
10. Devolving power generation to provide access to electricity
Small municipalities do not have licenses to generate power and they depend on the Eskom monopoly for their electricity.
They then miss out on revenue opportunities and communities suffer because they must wait for Eskom to wake up and smell the roses.
UDM municipalities will therefore approach the Department of Energy and Eskom to provide smaller local municipalities with the necessary licensing to allow for local energy sourcing and generation to fast-track electricity provision.
11. Housing and land tenure
UDM municipalities will initiate housing projects with the national and provincial governments, identifying land for housing developments.
We will ensure that housing projects are of good quality and are able to stand the test of time.
The UDM will improve the standard of living of informal settlers by providing essential services with a view of rather finding long-term housing solutions.
In municipalities where the UDM govern, we will seek to involve all the relevant departments in finding a uniform land tenure system.
Especially where it concerns the provision of services and suitable housing to the poorest of the poor.
Equal and ready access to community and social services, such as, schools, clinics, sports and recreation facilities and crèches are of critical importance.
12. Better waste management
South Africa is the dirtiest it has ever been in its history with littering and garbage-dumping at an all-time high. Our people and government could not care less.
Not only is this a massive health hazard that attracts vermin, it affects stormwater systems that cause flooding, and our environment and tourism also suffer.
We need to clean our country if we have any hope of maintaining our natural heritage, preserving our environment, and restoring our tourism industry.
UDM municipalities will keep their towns and cities clean by enforcing bylaws and ensuring that the waste management divisions properly do their jobs.
The UDM will enter into negotiations with local bus companies and taxi associations to have trash cans in their vehicles and to make a forced stop should a passenger throw garbage out of a window to make them pick it up.
The UDM recognises that communities play a major role in addressing the root causes of crime and violence. They can act as the eyes and ears of our law enforcement agencies.
In UDM municipalities, we shall agitate for local safety and security agencies to be properly capacitated and be brought closer to the people.
The UDM will endeavour to cultivate healthy relationships between the police, community policing forums and communities to prevent vigilantism.
Furthermore, we will actively encourage communities to participate in the eradication of crime through the establishment of properly resourced neighbourhood watches.
14. Civil disobedience
Civil disobedience, as fostered by the ruling party’s unwillingness to listen to our people or to tend to their needs, has become the norm.
The most effective way to acquire government’s attention is to pillage and break. This is a cruel lesson to have taught our people.
UDM municipalities and councillors will, as its primary step, not ignore its citizens – especially in times of crisis.
15. Gender-based violence
Certain legislative changes have been made, but if crime is rife and, on the increase, how will we stem the tide of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide?
The adage that it takes a village to raise a child, is true.
UDM municipalities will therefore allocate more resources to teach communities about how to steer clear of GBV and femicide as part of the collective effort to teach our people right from wrong.
We shall also pressurise the police to place greater emphasis on combatting GBV and femicide.
Coalitions are here to stay, as the South African electorate is tired of one-party dominance. It did not work under the National Party and not under the African National Congress.
However, coalition government is a relatively new phenomenon that still has teething problems and is not uniformly practiced.
The UDM is of the view that guidelines on how coalition governments are managed, i.e. the practicalities, must be outlined and gazetted.
Ladies and gentlemen, the UDM’s motto for this year’s election is: “Putting people first”.
This has always been a fundamental stance of the UDM and is our succinct way of saying you are our priority.
The UDM and our candidates are special purpose vehicles that will strive to free our people from the chains of poverty, inequality, unemployment, corruption, crime and gender-based violence.
Lastly, you will find the UDM’s 2021 manifesto on our website at www.udm.org.za or click here for a PDF/printable version.
Vote UDM as we are putting you, the people, first.
I thank you!