New Movement Process – Roelf Meyer left the National Party on 17 May 1997, including fellow politicians Nilo Botha, Takis Christodoulou, Kobus du Plessis and Annelizé van Wyk, some of whom had resigned their seats in the Gauteng Legislature. At a three-day strategic planning conference in May 1997, it was decided that a political movement should be established capable of unifying people around shared values across racial, historical, ideological and social dividing lines. The New Movement Process (NMP) was subsequently established.
Bantu Holomisa and Roelf Meyer (who had met previously, with Meyer still representing the National Party to discuss the process for a new movement) again met at Loftus Versveld, in mid-1997, to discuss working together and agreed in principle to explore the possibility of formal cooperation. A Joint Committee (JC) between the NCF and the NMP was formed to look into matters of common interest. The JC amalgamated its two (NCF and NMP) technical support teams into a Technical Committee (TC) to act as its executive body to implement the brief of the JC. This was to “look into matters of common interest between the two sides… consider… the establishment of a new party at an appropriate time… (and) in regard to the latter question… (investigate) matters of strategy, time scales, policy and funding”. The TC was jointly chaired by Kobus du Plessis (NMP) and Joel Mafenya (NCF) and its first meeting took place at the Carlton Hotel on 22 June 1997. After a joint strategic session at the Vaal Dam in July 1997 it was agreed that a new political party should be formed.
The United Democratic Movement was launched at the World Trade Centre, in Kempton Park, on 27 September 1997. Bantu Holomisa was elected the party’s first president at it’s first national congress in June 1998.
The Core Values, which the United Democratic Movement will uphold and promote and upon which its fundamental policy positions are based, are as follow:
- respect for life, dignity and human worth of every individual;
- integrity in public- and private life;
- the individual rights and freedoms enshrined in our Country’s Constitution;
- tolerance and respect for the rights and freedoms of others;
- solidarity in the common spiritual ownership of all that is good in our Country;
- national self-discipline based on an acceptance that each right and freedom carries with it a corresponding and equal obligation and responsibility;
- national moral regeneration towards a clear distinction between right and wrong, between what is acceptable conduct and what not, between good and evil;
- economic policies based on moral values;
- freedom of religion and worship.