Honourable Speaker, Honourable President and Members
As we enter the 23rd year of our democracy, we see a rise in the levels of anxiety and anger among citizens, with anarchy knocking at our door. Notwithstanding these trends, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) acknowledges the great strides South Africa has made since 1994.
The most disturbing reality is that we see an increase in the politics of patronage, uncontrollable corruption, the collapse of government institutions, a high unemployment rate, lack of development, failing health and education systems, widening inequality, chronic poverty and ineffective provincial governments.
With regard to provincial governments; the question is, do we really need these glorified homelands or rather strengthening the local sphere of government and let national government take control and introduce the lacking uniformity.
We are commemorating the late OR Tambo; an undoubted champion of the struggle for a just and free society. It would be interesting to know his thoughts on the so-called leaders who have dumped the deprived masses and took care of themselves at the expense of the poor.
We believe that no individual party’s policy conference could proffer all the sustainable solutions to the challenges we face as a nation. This is even more apparent when the governing alliance lacks policy coherence; thus threatening investor confidence.
It is in this regard that the UDM resolved that, in preparation for 2019 and beyond, we will during this year convene a consultative conference which will be open to all citizens, to amongst others:
• Take stock of the 22 years of our democracy;
• Identify areas of intervention to bring about meaningful economic transformation;
• Review the legislative framework that impedes fundamental socio-economic transformation, including the Constitution;
• Develop mechanisms to stop corruption and maladministration;
• Take stock of the quality, qualification and placement of our civil servants including those who provide security services to the nation;
• Improve our constitutional democracy with the introduction of a people-driven electoral system;
• Introduce legislation for transparent political party funding; and
• Find a lasting solution to reduce tension between the social partners at NEDLAC in particular labour, government and business.
At the envisaged National Consultative Conference, we shall also evaluate the agreements between the ruling party and the apartheid government pre- and during the Codesa negotiations. Meaningful transformation, including the transfer of land and control of the economy, will never realise so long as those agreements are used as scarecrows and lock the majority of our citizens outside the economic mainstream.
South Africans, it is our collective task to ensure that the ideals of a truly democratic and prosperous society as envisaged by OR Tambo and others, are realised. In this regard, I encourage you to take advantage of the proposed conference to ensure that we reclaim the original objective of the struggle we have so dearly fought for.
I thank you