• Moderator/Programme Director
• The leaders of other political parties
• Members of the audience
• My fellow South Africans

Thank you to the Daily Dispatch for giving the United Democratic Movement (UDM) the opportunity to discuss our points of view regarding our plans to transform South Africa into a Winning Nation.

Although some progress has been made over the past five years, corruption sticks out like a sore thumb.

It is undeniable that South Africa finds itself on the slippery slope of more regular incidents of serious corruption. We have become a jaded nation where we only notice the misappropriation of funds if there are billions of Rands involved.

We are witnessing a government that more and more resembles the dreaded apartheid regime. Here we think of the dissolution of the Scorpions, the introduction of the Information Bill, undermining press freedom, attacking Chapter 9 institutions and abuse of State Owned Enterprises (such as the SABC).

The other alarming reality is that we have a president that does not know how state moneys were used to build his private residence… also, what happened to the so-called “spy tapes”?

We are talking about a government that does not have the word “accountability” in their vocabulary.

Our democratic constitution seeks to guarantee our freedom, but this can only be achieved if the socio-economic environment allows the Bill of Rights to be manifested i.e. a return to the original agenda to better the lives of all South Africans.

As a result of the high rate of unemployment and poverty, our people have taken to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction. Sadly, government does not even bother to listen to their desperate plight and instead dispatches the police to silence them.

The main question that a voter should ask of him/herself is this:
“Do I want to suffer another five years at the hand of a party that loots state resources and celebrates corruption?”.

The UDM believes the answer should be “no” and that we can still salvage the situation.

The UDM fundamentally believes that job creation is the ultimate weapon to combat poverty, but that the economy must be managed properly to achieve this goal.

Strong government intervention is required to ensure that we have, amongst others, functioning roads, electrification, water irrigation and reticulation, and an efficient rail network, which are required to ensure economic growth.

There are more details on what the UDM offers the nation in our 2014 Election manifesto, which is available on www.udm.org.za, but I would like to raise some salient points:

A UDM government commits, amongst others, to:

Good governance:
a) Restore respect for the rule of law.
b) Put in place the necessary checks and balances to ensure that government money is not wasted.
c) Instil respect for the separation of powers of government, legislatures and the judiciary.
d) Introduce courts dedicated to handle cases of corruption; to swiftly eradicate corruption.

The economy and job creation:
e) Remove the red-tape that prevent small businesses from flourishing so that our citizens become wealth creators rather than employment seekers.
f) Invest in the economy with a properly planned “map of infrastructure development” with emphasis on transparency and cooperation between government and the people.
g) To defuse the tensions between the government, labour and the private sector in an effort to harmonise relationships in an open and transparent manner.
h) Treat all provinces the same way, instead of the current tendency where budget allocations are biased towards provinces from where powerful individuals hail.
Feeding SA – food security and rural development
i) Use agriculture as a tool to expand our economy, create jobs and generate wealth, especially in rural areas.
j) Prioritise the needs of our commercial and emerging farmers by developing policies that will enable them to fairly compete against their international counterparts.
k) Restore the respect due to traditional leaders and create space for them to constructively interact with councillors and involve them in the decision-making processes, especially where development projects are concerned.

l) Involve all the relevant stakeholders in curriculum development.
m) Translate the large education budget into quality education by developing and maintaining an education system that produces school-leavers and graduates that are equipped with job related and life skills.

Health care:
n) Bring health care infrastructure and services closer to the poor.
o) Ensure that the budget allocation is spent on the services for which it is intended and no “savings” or rollovers will be tolerated.

It is common knowledge that the Eastern Cape is heavily under budgeted given the two homelands and townships’ infrastructure that had to be integrated into in the developed infrastructure that was inherited in 1994. This has not happened.

The UDM has identified the following key objectives for this province:
a) Address the democracy dividend deficiency so that it becomes a model province in terms of all development goals.
b) Make the Eastern Cape one of the key economic growth areas in the country, so that it becomes the 4th fastest growing economy in South Africa by 2019.
c) Improve on the quality of life of the poorest in the province, by bringing essential public services closer to the people and increase the capacity of the institutions that provide those services e.g. healthcare, education, food security and local employment opportunities.
d) In particular, turn around the performance of the departments of health and education.
e) Provide effective local governance through appropriate personnel employment, proper planning and utilisation of resources as well as performance management.
f) Restore the correct relationships between politicians and officials.
g) This province is endowed with the most spectacular and under-utilised resource in the form of our environment. Our environment is a priceless asset; and yes, development is necessary, but not at the expense of our natural heritage. Our environment can be preserved and also be used as a tool to create jobs through tourism.

We cannot afford to sit with our arms folded whilst the majority of our people live in abject poverty – future generations will judge us harshly, because we let things slide on our watch.

The UDM election campaign is inspired by hope, and the certainty, that this nation can overcome its challenges and deliver a better future for all South Africans.

7 May is around the corner! Make your vote count! Vote UDM

Thank you