by Bantu Holomisa (02 July 2000)

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This document is intended for discussion by UDM structures at all levels nationally in preparation for the National Council (NC) and provincial congress meetings where the issues raised herein will be debated and culminate in the National Congress next year which will endorse the final version of this discussion document.

The NC meeting will take place in Bloemfontein on 1st July 2000.  On 2nd July 2000 the Council will convert to a local government workshop.  The provincial chairpersons are required to ensure that all delegates are given copies of this discussion document before they come to the council meeting.

The document contains a timetable charting the way forward for the UDM up to the year 2004, as well as local government election guidelines.

At the council meeting the delegates will fill the vacant posts of Secretary General, National Treasurer and National Organiser.  The council will recall that with the death of Sifiso Nkabinde our Acting Secretary General was appointed to fill his vacancy.

With the deployment of the National Organiser and the Acting Secretary General to legislatures it was resolved that these positions be filled with permanent officers who would devote their full-time attention to these duties.  No decision has been taken by the National Management Committee (NMC) on the filling of the vacant post of Deputy President.  The view of the NMC is that this issue be deferred to the National Congress next year, unless the Council advises otherwise.  Council will recall that Roelf Meyer retired from active politics in January 2000, although he remains a member of the Party.

The quality of candidates that will be elected to these positions is of crucial importance because they carry important and demanding responsibilities.  Some of the problems we have, emanate from the absence of suitable full-time officers in these key positions.

The UDM was not founded on individual personalities’ sudden whims that were triggered by an impulse to dabble in the national politics of South Africa. Its birth was a political response to a historical need to fill a political vacuum that was created by the tremors of a momentous social revolution that had taken place. The impact of the social forces that transformed a totalitarian racist regime to a democratic social order, founded on the most progressive principles to be enshrined in a bill of rights in any country in modern times, shook the social foundations that had hitherto provided the basis and rationale for the alignment of political groupings which characterized our political landscape prior to1994. The tumultuous shift of individual and group attitudes created a magnetic vortex that sucked in people from diverse social, economic, political, racial and ethnic backgrounds, into a melting pot which spawned the UDM.

So forceful was the call of historical destiny that the UDM had to hit the ground running and pit its untested infant strengths against established veteran formations in a general election, within twenty months of its launching. We acquitted ourselves admirably in a less than fair election, which was run by an ANC hand-picked “Independent Electoral Commission” and managed to salvage  thirty (30) seats in national and provincial legislatures in six of the nine provinces, being the official opposition in the Eastern Cape and Northern Province legislatures.  This confers a national character to the UDM rather than a regional one.  We should be proud of our performance within such a short space of time.

The UDM ventured into a very hostile and violent political environment where there was no tolerance of dissenting voices.  We survived a vitriolic political diatribe and bloody campaigns that sought to push us out of the political landscape.  All the talk about lack of free and fair political climate for elections in Zimbabwe is irrelevant when we did not have free, politicking in South Africa during our general elections last year.  The ruling party has always been the common denominator in all-political violence involving parties in South Africa. The consequence of that violence, was the tragic death of our Secretary General, Sifiso Nkabinde and many others in the Gauteng and the Western Cape.  This occurred in the context of demonising the UDM and its leadership and much political intimidation.  Today ANC card-carrying members are being tried in our courts of law in relation to murders committed to our members.  ANC functionaries barred our leaders from entering tertiary institutions to address students.  All these are still very fresh in the memories of South Africans. Against this background it is sickening to read about the ruling party passing a moral judgement about fairness or otherwise of pending elections in Zimbabwe, because they are not qualified to do so.  On the other hand the UDM maintains its position of insisting on freedom of expression and association and insists on these values being upheld by the ruling party.

The thrust of our opposition parliamentary performance has been a positive and proactive engagement, in which at all times we endeavoured to steer the government along a course of clean governance, commitment to the search for economic and social policies that can eradicate poverty, create a strong economy and narrow the chasm that divides our society into two nations of extremely rich white minority employers, who own 87% of the land and virtually the entire production process and skills, on the one hand, and 80% of a predominantly black nation who own only 13% of largely unproductive land, and nothing else except their labour which they are increasingly unable to sell in the absence of employment opportunities.  The UDM ethos primarily addresses this social disparity and advances economic strategies that can reverse this social order and create a South Africa that can be the home of happiness and prosperity for all its rich diversity.

cart_citypressOur point of departure in nation building must not be an ideological paradigm predicated on our inclusive intolerant nationalism.  This would be an unfortunate repeat of the discredited and failed social orders such as apartheid and communism in the former eastern block countries.  This view has been propounded by Dr Van Zyl Slabbert in his book.

Our history demands an awareness and willingness form all South Africans to fight the resurgence of racial hostilities and conflicts.  It is in recognition of this historical legacy of our society that our party has committed itself to the vision of a new – South Africanism, which recognises and embraces the cultural diversity of our society.  We agree with the view expressed by one leading Van Zyl Slabbert that:

“In a deeply divided society the challenge is to build institutions that could cope with, and mediate, the problems of diversity. Particularly important in this context is an efficient criminal justice system, the quality of education, religious tolerance; an open and accessible economy and generally a competent state administration.”

Our concept of the new South Africanism is based on the vision and conviction that “We are the political home of all South Africans, united in the spirit of South Africanism by our common passion for our country, mobilizing the creative spirit inherent in our rich diversity towards our transformation into a winning nation” (UDM Manifesto).

In pursuing its vision and mission the UDM encroached on constituencies which had been monopolized by other parties including the ruling party.  In the latter case the UDM began to articulate the aspirations of the disadvantaged majority who are increasingly being marginalized by the failure of the transformation process and in particular the inability of our economy to narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots.

We must now anchor our roots and expand our presence in these constituencies and translate into practice our mission to make the UDM the home of every South African.

Our analysis of the changing socio–eco-political order in South Africa formation, and politics in South Africa indicates that there will be discernible political shifts along interest group divides, distinguished by common concerns and aspirations.  This process will move towards the crystallization of two major political streams, which express the ethos of the beneficiaries of the established order, on the one hand, and the aspirations of the emerging major social groupings that are marginalized at present on the other hand.  This will necessitate the emergence of two major political formations representing these interest groups.  Indications are that the ruling party is already catering for the elite and pursuing economic policies that benefit a few who share a common vision with the elite’s of the core world economies.

The UDM could well be the focus for an emerging political formation, which will articulate the concerns and aspirations of the vast marginalized people of all colours and races in South Africa, who belong with the periphery, hence our economic policy centres on the need to invest in enterprise development, to alleviate unemployment among others, and narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots.

The levels of poverty are increasing and pervading all social and racial communities.  The emergence of this major political grouping representing the interest of the marginalized will remove the confusion created by an ambivalent Tripartite Alliance (ANC, Cosatu & SACP) ruling clique who preach elimination of unemployment in the streets and legislate retrenchments and greater unemployment in parliament.

The labour movement is encountering threats to their member’s job security as a result of government policies.  The impending retrenchments in the various sectors of the economy recently resulted in national strike by the COSATU labour federation.  It must be remembered that some of COSATU members are members of the UDM, some of whom hold official positions in their unions.  The anomaly of COSATU’s alliance with governing party brings the federation into collision with its patrons who hold government positions when it champions the interests of the workers.  Very often our UDM member’s political credentials are questioned when they refuse to conform to manipulation by the governing alliance.  It is for this reason that UDM has urged the labour federation to extricate itself from this complex and contradictory political entanglement, and focus its attention on purely labour related issues.

It is now imperative that the labour union assumes its traditional independent stance as a trade union and reject government pressures and divisive tactics which seek to discredit some of the labour union members in order to advance its jobless growth macro-economic policies.  It is a fact of life that there is no national support on the GEAR macro-economic policy because it creates joblessness and does not lead to economic growth.

There will be a political formation, which is well focussed on improving the quality of life for all South Africans.  The current confusion has undermined investor confidence and eroded our currency.  The consequence of the current trend is social instability.  In this situation corruption and misrule abound.

The revolutionary firebrands of yester-year have reneged on the struggle day’s promises to redistribute the national resources for the benefit of the disadvantaged.  Instead they have strategically positioned themselves in bogus workers empowerment projects, for their own benefit, without issuing even share certificates, let alone dividends to the workers they purport to empower.  The former champions of worker’s rights are now exploiting their traditional relationship with the workers to enrich themselves.  The erstwhile communists have abandoned their social programme and boarded the gravy train.

The UDM is challenged to lead South Africa out of this confusion and quagmire of corruption and parasitic exploitation.  We cannot let down the people who elected us because they believed in our vision and mission.  We must create a leadership cadre among our youth, students and women structures which is a highly motivated, and equip them to preach this vision and lay down the groundwork for the re-alignment of the political landscape towards the establishment of an alternative government founded on the principles that address the historical inequalities and imbalances.  The Tripartite Alliance partners seem to have forgotten their original agenda.  Their macro-economic policies have not delivered more jobs or more investments, instead billions of rands are leaving this country on a daily basis without any hope that they would ever come back.

The independence and therefore objectivity of state controlled media are severely compromised.  The SABC is not the public broadcaster which caters for all views in the country as it was intended.  It has become the mouthpiece and propaganda instrument of the government and the ruling party.  Generous access to the broadcaster is given to ministers of state and ruling party politicians, and denied to opposition politicians.  This is reminiscent of the apartheid Nationalist Party domination of the electronic media in the previous era.  The UDM suggest that there be a democratisation of the Airways by allowing more electronic broadcaster in the country in the spirit of our constitutional values.  After all our biggest bi-national commission partner the USA exemplifies this electronic media diversity.  Government leaders should use their extensive overseas fruitfully by drawing lessons from their exposure.

The social and political revolution which released the dynamic energy that had been trapped by the social engineering of the past regimes has created a new socio-political climate in South Africa wherein new political and social alignments can take place.

The tremors of social change have dislodged people and groups from familiar traditional positions.  Five years ago no one in his wildest dreams could have visualized Pik Botha campaigning for the African National Congress, his erstwhile mortal foe, urging his Afrikaaner Volk to take the Great Trek into the ANC.

 The very essence of the UDM was an expression of this phenomenon in so far as it brought together the Roelf Meyers and Holomisas of this world.  Our continued articulation of the need for re-alignment is a validation of a necessary and unavoidable political trend.  To us it comes as no surprise to see people like Pik Botha endorsing the ANC.  We are proud to own that the process we began, and continue to campaign for, is now being vindicated.

We recognize the defections from the UDM as a consequence of the process of political re-alignment, in terms of which groups and individuals began to drift towards interest groups they feel at home with.  Likewise there will be a drift towards the UDM from other formations by people who identify with our Vision and Mission.  It is to be hoped that such shift if allegiance will not elicit political intolerance and intimidation which seem to be the trade mark of ruling party style of politicking.

The current pattern of some opposition groupings in South Africa largely reflects the political and social divides of the apartheid and struggle days.  The advent of freedom, however, has created a new socio-political environment, which brings into focus fresh dynamics, and demands that we shed off the blinkers and prejudices of the past, jettison the shackles of our thought habits and open our minds to new ideas and be prepared to enter into open dialogue with people from different political backgrounds who are equally committed to the formulation of a new vision for South Africa.  We visualise a paradigm shift that will focus on the process that will lead to the establishment of alternative government.

The NMC last year mandated the party to engage other political formations in discussions that could culminate in the formation of an alternative government for South Africa.  This was an endorsement of a concept espoused by the UDM at its inception.

The UDM entrusted this task to the President of the Party, HB Holomisa  National Chairman Professor M Mabeta, Dr G Koornhof and Mr PG Qokweni.

In all discussions our point of departure as a party is the recommitment to the principle of improving the quality of lives of the people of South Africa as a national objective agreed to by all parties during the negotiation process in 1994.

This point of departure informs our insistence in all discussions on re-alignment, that the long-term objective of an alternative government must address the needs and receive the support of the majority citizens of our country.

It is for this reason the UDM in its discussion with other parties and public utterances insist on encompassing people beyond the existing political formations and reach out to all spheres of society.

We have suggested proceeding along the following stages in the process:

a. Engage in informal discussion with all stakeholders.

b. If there is an emerging consensus to establish an alternative government, we should establish a Committee of Parties with equal status.

c. That Committee of Parties must, in consultation with their leaders, work out the following:

          i.        a vision

          ii.       a possible vehicle

          iii.      areas of agreement and disagreement on our values.

d. If there is consensus, the Committee must call a Summit of Leaders to send a message that we are serious about political realignment in South Africa.  It is at this Summit that the leaders will decide on what the next stage in the process will be.

e. The UDM view is that an appropriate format for discussions will be a National Convention of Political Parties including other sectors of society.

f.  Alternative objectives from the broad spectrum of society.

g. The Convention can set up Commissions to deliberate on different policy areas.

h. The Commission can report their findings to the Convention, indicating differences and agreements on key areas and principles underlying party platforms.

i.  It is the responsibility of the Convention to take resolutions, on the most important aspects of this process, which is a commitment to an accepted common vision of an alternative government.

j. The question of the leadership of the Convention itself; retired judge or politician may be requested to direct the process.

If consensus is reached during the course outlined above, it is conceivable that the situation could result in a new political formation that would pursue the objective of an alternative government by 2004 and beyond.

It must be understood that this initiative is not prescriptive and does not interfere with the party mandate for the period up to 2004.  Secondly this is a process which call for your discussion and inputs which will be debated at the UDM Congress in June 2001.  Therefore there are no final answers to questions at this stage.

The re-alignment phenomenon, it must be clearly understood, is not an alliance of political parties. It is a re-writing of the political map, a re-alignment of ideas, the regrouping of people around new concepts that have been thrown up by the changes that have taken place.

We call upon South Africans in all political formations, civil society, the business sector, academic etc. to take stock and concede that we should leave the baggage of the past behind and embrace the opportunity to carry our society forward and write a new chapter in our history.

The government of South Africa, inspired by the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution embarked on the course of dismantling Apartheid structures in 1994 and laid the foundations for the emergence of a new social order founded on the universal values cherished by all democracies in the world. The first five years of our democracy represent the creation of an institutional framework through legislation and policy formulations within which to transform our society. It is expected that the current term will see the translation of this legislation and policies into tangible deliverables to improve the quality of life of the broad masses whose lives have not yet been touched by these freedoms.

Regrettably, corruption in government at a very high level is rampant. Several probes have been conducted by the Heath Investigative Unit and the Public Protector and revealed unmitigated corruption of some Ministers and senior state officials. Where stern disciplinary measures should have been taken against these individuals, the ruling party hierarchy and its President close ranks and the incidents and reports on corruption are swept under the carpet.

There have been disturbing tendencies in the handling of the tender processes for the cellular phone contract. Concerns are currently being expressed about the manner of awarding of contracts in the multi-billion arms procurement deal. In all these cases senior government ministers and officials are implicated.

Recently half a Million Rand (R500 000) was paid by the Department of Environmental Affairs to an ANC intelligence operative from ANC’s Shell-House, outside the statutory intelligence apparatus. It is not known what the payment was for, other than the operative’s own claim, that the authority for the expenditure came from above, and according to the media, he is known to have a close personal relationship with the President.

Early this year the Auditor-General revealed unauthorized expenditure of R7,1 Million by the former Minister of Public Enterprises through verbal directives in violation of all financial regulations. This expenditure was authorized by the Minister, despite protestations and advice to the contrary by the then Department’s Accounting Officer.  Some of these payments have been authorized by an “Advisor” from the President’s office.

Another disturbing occurrence was that of an empowerment Consortium which, was sold a 30% stake of VIAMEX FLEET Solutions in December 1998 for R12 Million.  Both the Department of Public Enterprises and the Receiver of Revenue have not received the proceeds of the sale and an agreement of sale could not be produced for audit purposes.

Political colleagues enjoy preference in empowerment deals.  We recently exposed a R15 Million loan having been approved by a Board of Trustees of Lebowa Minerals Trust, for a diamond processing company whose directors are wives of the Premier, MEC’s and Senior Government Officials in the Northern Province.  This loan was approved despite the moratorium previously imposed on loans involving the Trust.  It also emerged that the Northern Province Premier’s wife who had since resigned from the directorate of the Diamond Company had previously been granted a loan facility by the same Trust.  A disturbing feature of these deals is that some wives of senior government personalities use their maiden surnames in these shady projects.

The Heath Investigation Unit is stalled in its investigations by the President’s delay in signing over 127 Proclamations, which would authorize the commencement of the probes.  The requirement that Justice Heath’s investigative Unit obtains authorization by Presidential Proclamation before it begins a probe needs to be revisited so that the Unit can proceed with an investigation referred to it if it is satisfied there is prima-facie evidence to warrant a probe.  The delay by the President in signing Proclamations affords offenders an opportunity to cover their tracks.

The incidence of forged C.V.’s and educational certificates is becoming endemic.  It points to a tendency to give jobs to pals and relatives regardless of lack of qualifications, hence the decline in performance standards and delivery levels.  This happens in the wake of massive retrenchments of experienced civil servants with suitable educational qualifications, in the name of downsizing, that when in fact they had to give way for ruling party favourites.

The majority of the instances of corruption and criminal conduct implicate government ministers and senior officials.  One wonders whether the President will be keen to sign the proclamations if the probes involve those in the corridors of power.  South Africans have every reason to be concerned at this deluge of corruption.  It does not augur well for our investment profile.

The UDM endorses the public concern and that of medical practitioners, at their present’s stance on the AIDs Campaign.  Before the general elections the government and the ANC adopted a high profile on Aids education and spent a considerable amount of state money on Aids awareness.  Their campaign raised public expectations that the government would support and finance research into the Aids treatments and awareness campaign.  This must have earned them many votes in the general election.

The about-turn attitude of President Mbeki in sidelining Aids practitioners and scientists directly involved in the Aids campaign and research when he picked his team for the Medical Council is inexplicable.  His ill-conceived intervention in an obsolete debate on the causes of Aids, in apparent support of dissenters has not helped our national and indeed the international effort to combat the epidemic.  His attitude casts doubts in the President’s commitment to allocate resources for Aids research in South Africa.  He is also on a collision course with one of his Council members, Dr Mokgoba, on the controversial dissenting view which, he stumbled on in the Internet.

The new South Africa was hatched into a globalised political and economic environment that carried with it inherent structural defects. The uneven development of the colonial era had carved a global order with severe inequalities. The colonial imperial powers amassed wealth, evolved high levels of education and skills for their people, achieved a material and military superiority that enabled them to manipulate the underdeveloped economies in a manner that would ensure the perpetual hegemony of the developed so-called North over the underdeveloped so called South (the stagnant and emerging economies of the former colonies).

The post-colonial era has been characterised by a raging debate among academics, political and economic’s theoreticians and activists on the various conceptualisations of the dependency paradigms, describing the structural relations between the core economies i.e. the former colonial power metropolitan economies and the peripheral economies i.e. the underdeveloped economies of the so-called third world former colonies.

Messrs Gowan and Smith define dependency as follows:

“Dependency refers to an asymmetrical structure of control relations wherein a controller, such as a state, multinational enterprise, or parent, regularly and hence predictably changes or maintains the behaviour of a controlee, such as another state, an economic sector, or a child”.

Neo-Marxists scholars advance the view that monopoly capitalism by its very nature provides surplus capital that cannot be absorbed by the core because consumption does not correspond more closely to production. Consequently surplus profit is exported for investment in the peripheral economies of the client states. It is argued that this peripheral investment does not necessarily conform to a rational economic development plan that has been locally designed to meet domestic needs.  On the contrary such investments are propelled primarily by the profit motive, which directs investment to sectors of economic activity where the biggest and quickest returns on investment can be made.

Paul Baran and his name Sake Paul Sweezey contend that surplus profit in the periphery is not utilized for further development of the latter economy but is siphoned and repatriated for development of the core economy, hence the disparity in levels of development between the core and the periphery.

This tendency according to these scholars is a sufficient condition for the impossibility of periphery development.

Samir Amin and Emmanuel Wallerstein differ with the Neo-Marxist Scholars. They see the dependency paradigm as the result of unequal exchange between the core and the periphery because of wage differentials which create the surplus value that is then siphoned to the core economies.

The “dependency theory as a whole stresses the importance of the overall structure of relations within which political action occurs, and the mechanisms by which the structural dominance of some group is consolidated to the advantage of others.

All these conceptualisations under-gird the existence of rich-poor power relations in the global context which have the propensity to perpetuate or aggravate the disparities and inequalities between the developed western world and the poor under-developed periphery economies of the third world.

It goes without saying that globalisation, which has been accelerated by revolutions in the information and transport technologies, does not bring any respite to the marginalisation of periphery economies by the core developed world. International Agencies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), continue to be controlled by the industrial super-powers who insist on stringent conditions accompanying any relief loans intended for the periphery to the extent that the governments of controlled periphery economies have no freedom in the utilization of the loans and this has aggravated dependency.

How then do we as a government and business sector propose to relate to the developed world community in the light of these untransformed power relations? Do we willingly pursue policies which guarantee our dependency client status? Do we blindly throw our economy on the course of privatisation even when we know that this course does not empower our working and unemployed grassroots? Do we choose to ignore the fact that privatisation has thrown hundreds of thousands of poor people out of jobs without creating alternative economic activity for the alleviation of unemployment and poverty? Do we continue with policies, which enrich the political elites and their chosen cronies and by virtue of their political and social status are in the best position to be manipulated by multi-national interests to advance the interests of core economies at the expense of our disadvantaged people? How do we justify an economic policy, which parcel out vast national assets, including land to outsiders under the guise of joint ventures when in reality local participation is insignificant? We know that some of these joint ventures have collapsed after enriching a few individuals.

We need to pause and look back at historical precedents in order to contextualise our own experiences.

After 1948 the Afrikaner Nationalist government embarked on a development strategy to transform the economic status of the poor Afrikaner and bring them into the mainstream of the English dominated economy of South Africa. To do so they nationalised the railways, the harbours, the Post Office and established numerous corporations all of which employed vast numbers of poor Afrikaners. It was in these economic ventures that managerial and technical skills were acquired by the Afrikaner as a consequence of which the foundations for the emergence of a white labour aristocracy founded on the bedrock of job-reservation were laid.

The advocates of a free market economy and liberal democracy did not preach privatisation of state enterprises then, or if they did, it was not with the strident voice with which they have lectured our democratic administration. As a result Afrikaner workers remained secure in their jobs albeit guaranteed by exclusive racial policies. They never had to experience mass retrenchments as our people do.

Why has the government failed to open up a debate on its macro-economic policies to enable the exploration of alternative models that would minimise job losses and create alternative employment where privatisation of enterprises was unavoidable? The UDM must re-visit these economic policies and up-date our own economic policies accordingly.

Some privatised parastatals have collapsed because their allocations have been characterized by greed-and nepotism favouring party favourites and friends.  We are not concerned that parastatals cannot be run profitably when managed professionally by properly qualified managers.  A case in point is the turn-around of the South African Airways by Mr Andrews and Macozona, which is now run profitably after a bleak performance spell.

In order to redress the economic disparities of the Apartheid era we cannot afford to leave that responsibility to individuals in the ruling party or their chosen consultants anymore.  This is a matter of national importance and they must therefore be addressed by a national Indaba, comparable in scale and depth to the Codesa Indaba which resolved the apartheid political Conundrum.

The colonial experience is noted for exporting resources to the overseas industries who then process them and dumped their finished products in the colonial markets.  We must reverse this process.  Although the South African economy has a well developed manufacturing sector, we still export raw-materials which should and can be processed locally and thereby broaden our domestic economic base and create more jobs, while imparting skills to our local people.  This is just one of the themes that can be debated at a national Indaba.

South Africa should not base its economic policies on USA models alone.  Models which have regenerated the economies of the former post-war West Germany should be studied.  We can also learn from the Scandinavian social democracies who have virtually wiped out poverty in their countries.  All these models should be reviewed in the context of a national Indaba.  We should not forget that we have emerged from a regime that was characterized by state intervention in the economy.  It is not practical to make a right-about-turn and plunge into a Western-type free market economy and in the process render a whole nation unemployed.  We should look at a middle course that will cautiously transform our production relations in a manner that will incorporate a social programme that brings relief to the millions who are beginning to believe that they lived better under Apartheid.

Unemployment is accompanied by a decline in social services. Health care institutions are in a chaotic state. Patients in hospitals and clinics die unattended. Equipment is in disrepair. Old pensioners cue in the hot sun for hours only to return home on wheel chairs and wheel-burrows without their pay. Street dwellers are multiplying in droves. Street children are now a familiar site. Night courts sit at night in police stations in preliminary hearings of child offenders who break into people’s cars and release them into the streets again the same night so they can ply their trade. Lawlessness abounds, the criminal justice system is in a crisis. There is a convergence between top politicians, police and criminals, which blurs the dividing line between law enforcers and criminals. Political leaders engage in high level scientific discourse on matters out their depth, where only eagles dare rather attend to burning issues of putting food on the table for the crying hungry children and the helpless aged.

Our government’s foreign policy has failed to meet the nation’s expectations. A successful foreign policy of any nation is one which meets the domestic needs. In our case job creation and sustainable economic growth to eradicate poverty and raise the standard of living of our people are the primary objectives. There can be no transformation in our society as long as the socio-economic polarization of the nation inherited from the racist regime of the past persists. The government’s foreign policy has not enhanced our economic sovereignty. It is the view of the UDM that the international agreements we have signed do not guarantee the survival of, and a competitive edge for our domestic manufacturing sector. We have opened the floodgates for the swamping of our markets with foreign manufactured goods from foreign industries that either have a technological edge over our own industries or the goods come from industries which pay low wages and thus present unfair competition to our local manufacturers.

The concept of an African Renaissance which is the flagship of President Mbeki’s foreign policy has been associated with foreign adventures in which we are portrayed as interfering in domestic conflicts of other countries by taking sides. Our track record in the DRC and Angola leaves much to be desired. Our land-locked immediate neighbours are apprehensive about our style of maintaining regional stability. We have not endeared ourselves to our Lesotho neighbour.

In typical fashion, the ruling party experimented with an inadequately researched educational policy dubbed “Curriculum 2005”.  There was never a satisfactory consultation on this