Speaking notes of Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP and President of the United Democratic Movement at the meeting of opposition leaders on 15 March 2023 at the Southern Sun, Cape Sun, Cape Town at 09:30

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Thank you for taking the time out of your schedules to be here today, I know it is difficult in this busy time. As per usual, the purpose of our meeting is to discuss issues of national importance like we have done on a number of occasions in the past.

The agenda which we are looking at today, was proposed and accepted, but if anyone wants to add to it, as politics keep on changing, you are welcome to.

Today we are fortunate that Mr Moeletsi Mbeki has agreed to talk to us about the state of the economy and politics in South Africa. Mr Mbeki is a South African political economist and the deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs. You are welcome, Sir.

Regarding the item on the provisional agenda about the IEC. I have been in consultation with the IEC CEO, Mr Sy Mamabolo, after Mr Terry Tselane, our initial speaker, could not make it as he is engaged with elections in Kuruman.

Mr Mamabolo suggested that we give the IEC a date for a special NPLC meeting, where the leaders of political parties can be present, to discuss the recently adopted Electoral Act (with the emphasis on independent candidates), as well as the state of readiness of the IEC for 2024 National and Provincial Elections.

We have heard what was said during the State of the Nation Address and also what the Zondo Commission had found a while back and the continued loadshedding embarrassment.

There is no doubt in anybody’s mind, that this nation must deal with the State of Corruption. Most of our problems are occasioned by this looting spree.

As public representatives and leaders in the opposition we must pronounce, and we cannot wait for the ruling party to implement the Zondo Commission’s findings.

After all, it was this forum of opposition parties that pushed the Public Protector’s report on State Capture that had led to the establishment of the Zondo Commission.

How embarrassing that Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had to recently swear in some of the very people fingered in the Commission’s report. A sign that this government is not serious about fighting corruption.

We have a mammoth task ahead of us with the economy in dire straights, and the country’s recent greylisting is cause for concern.

Early surveys are indicating that we will not be experiencing one-party dominance for much longer, and should the people give some power to the opposition next year, are we ready to handle that responsibility.

Given that the voters are forcing political parties to work in coalitions, what have we learnt from our experience at local government since 2016 and 2021 local government elections?

Our responsibility, once more, is that we are called upon to narrow the gaps, as we did during the State Capture saga, in the interest of South Africans.

One thing we cannot escape this directive of the voters; it forces us to not only alone as political parties, but that we engage the entire nation so that we don’t commit another mistake.

We must engage with other sectors of society, so that we can give them the assurance that coalitions are here to stay and that they can be stable based on a standardised set of guidelines.

Lastly, millions of Rands are spent on having free and fair elections, but it is of no use if we are not sure of the IEC’s service providers.

For instance, the IT companies remain shrouded and we know that the ruling party has a knack of gaining government contracts through bogus companies. Just like they looted Eskom through the Chancellor House/Hitachi deal.

We might have to demand that the names of these companies be made public, as well as which ballot printing and transport companies are used, and the issues of the serial numbers be discussed.

I thank you.