Fellow South Africans,

I herewith extend my heartfelt wishes for a peaceful 2015/2016 festive season. As we bid farewell to this year we are appreciative of our achievements and mindful of the challenges we face.

2015 was a good year for the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the nation. It is a year in which my family and I celebrated my 60th birthday. My extended family and friends celebrated this achievement both in Gauteng and in Mqanduli – where my roots are. I thank all citizens for taking the time to join me and my family as we marked this milestone.

The leadership of the UDM continues to serve the party, and the nation, as we promised this time last year. Indeed, we provided clear and successful leadership in fighting for clean governance and, amongst others, we helped the IEC to cleanse itself. We also increased our positive contribution to shape the legislative regime that takes forward the interests of the citizens in both the national and the Eastern Cape legislatures.

This is the year in which the citizens of this country in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Ward 30, entrusted their livelihood to the leadership of the UDM. Once again, I humbly say thank you to the people of this area; we shall not disappoint you.

In 2015 the UDM successfully held its our 5th National Congress. This congress will provide a firm base to sustain the vision and mission of the Party, with very clear and practical resolutions to be implemented. In this regard, I thank all UDM members for their work.

Indeed, the UDM is a party to be reckoned with, as it brands itself to be relevant in the 21st century. We are currently in a drive to ensure that all citizens join our movement toward the realisation of our noble dream. This is the basis of our campaign theme for the 2016 Municipal Elections: “Put Communities First. Save South Africa – Live the Dream”.

In few days’ time, the 2015 matric results will be announced. I wish to congratulate the class of 2015 in anticipation. I hope that these results will bring hope for better and quality education for the nation. Accordingly, I must congratulate the class of 2015 from all tertiary institutions for putting the need for free quality education high on the agenda of the nation. The UDM believes that education is the cornerstone of our developmental agenda.

The year 2016 is the year for the citizens of this country to determine their destiny by electing leaders who will represent their aspirations. The UDM is ready to give citizens an opportunity to govern directly by electing their own representatives.

Let us begin 2016 with the commitment to make our democracy and freedom a reality. Accordingly, the UDM will continue to make South Africa and its people a priority. Amongst others, we shall do everything possible to ensure that our country is provided with the leadership it yearns for and deserves.

The critical challenge of addressing poverty, inequality, unemployment and the inherent cancer of corruption, shall remain high on our agenda. Our efforts to fight these scourges are important in order to raise the floor of prosperity and it must go hand-in-hand with democracy and freedom.

The robust and open debate in our National Assembly enhances accountability and responsiveness, as well as the health of our multi-party democracy. Accordingly, the UDM shall continue making sure that this centre of power conducts its constitutional mandate in accordance with the prescripts of the law and the relevant rules and regulations.

The Public Protector and other institutions of democracy continue to do well for our democracy. The UDM will continue in the new year to support these institutions and defend the gains of our democracy.

The number of road accidents on our roads remains unacceptable. In this regard, the UDM calls on all citizens to respond to the important messages communicated to ensure safety on our roads.

Similarly, we must double our efforts to reduce fatalities in our traditional circumcision schools.

On behalf of the UDM, I wish fellow South Africans safe passage and happy and successful 2016.