statement by UDM Media Manager 

Gauteng MEC Ms Jessie Duarte has accused the UDM of being involved in violence on the East and West Rand and implicated the party with training paramilitary units.

This is, of course, utter nonsense. The UDM is a democratic party. We reject violence in all forms as means to obtain political power. We have done so emphatically in the past. We have made it clear beyond any doubt that there is no room in the UDM whatsoever for perpetrators of violence. We believe in democracy and we believe in peace. Let there be no misunderstanding about this.

If Ms Duarte has any concrete evidence of violence or paramilitary training anywhere in Gauteng, we expect her as political head of the SAPS in Gauteng to make the evidence public and prosecute the perpetrators. As a person of integrity, we know that she will not willingly be tempted into becoming part of a cheap campaign of political disinformation. In recognising her lapse of judgement, we are confident that she will now either substantiate her claims, or keep quiet. The UDM again emphasises that it is not connected to any such accusations and has no knowledge whatsoever of any such information.

If people are prosecuted in the process, and some of them are indeed identified as members of the UDM, their membership will immediately be nullified. The UDM does not condone or plan violence in any form, and does not entertain perpetrators of violence.

Fact of the matter is that violence in these areas is not a new phenomenon. It existed years before the launch of the UDM. It can, in fact, be traced back to the pre-1994 actions of the ANC aligned SDU’s. A number of ANC leaders have since unsuccessfully tried to put an end to this monster they have spawned themselves. To accuse the UDM now, is nothing but a crude attempt to shift blame.

Ms Cheryl Carolus, acting Secretary-General of the ANC, has also tried to sow suspicion against the UDM by trying to paint a picture of connivance and secret dealings regarding the backgrounds of Messrs. Holomisa, Meyer and Spaarwater. Again there is no evidence to back up the flimsy, opportunistic and half-baked allegations.

Mr Spaarwater was indeed an official in National Intelligence, but also in Constitutional Development, where he played a major part in setting the scene for the constitutional negotiations leading to our democratic elections in 1994. He was involved in the first meetings between the previous government and the ANC, specifically Mr Thabo Mbeki. He was furthermore no supporter of the governing party at the time, and indeed left the DP to join the UDM.

The public will recognise this for the smear campaign it is, born out of apparent panic and a bullying mindset. This is exactly the kind of political attitude that belongs to the past. Let us rather look at the future and use our energy to build South Africa into the great nation that we can, and want to, be.