Better Future Plan
UDM Manifesto 2004
MESSAGE FROM BANTU HOLOMISA – FREEDOM FOR ALL
Dear Fellow South African
This year we celebrate ten years of freedom. We understand freedom as the ability of individuals and groups to make choices and pursue their aspirations freely. This includes choices such as where to live, what work to choose and where to engage in it, where and what to learn, where and what business to pursue, and many others.
This means that the level of freedom depends on the socio-economic conditions. The better the socioeconomic conditions, the greater the freedom of citizens to pursue their aspirations and address their concerns.
Our democratic Constitution seeks to guarantee our freedom, but this can only be achieved if the socioeconomic environment allows the Bill of Rights to become a reality for all South Africans. Freedom is not just a political condition; freedom is also a social and economic condition. Political freedom, without social and economic freedom is a hollow concept. Has the political freedom gained in 1994 translated into social and economic freedom?
Freedom of choice will be the key symbol of our celebration of ten years of liberation. South Africans will exercise their freedom of choice to determine who must govern, both and national and provincial levels.
This political choice will not only determine who governs, but also which political party is best suited to keep an eye on the ruling party. This party will use Parliament to ensure that the ruling party sticks to the mandate it received and that it serves the entire nation, not just those that voted for it. After all, the entire nation, irrespective of party political support, contribute to the funding of Government through taxes and are equal under the Constitution.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is ready, willing and able to fulfill either of these roles: to govern and deliver, or to hold the ruling party accountable to the citizens of this country.
The UDM is seven years old, but already has established itself as a significant player on the political landscape. In less than two years since our launch the UDM participated in the 1999 elections and gained 16 seats in Parliament, and representation in six provincial legislatures. In the process the UDM became the official opposition in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo legislatures.
The UDM has given value to all South Africans who voted for us in the 1999 elections, and to those who did not vote for us but who are committed to the democratic principles of good governance.
Three examples of this are:
The floor-crossing legislation
When the ruling party, with the support of the DA and NNP introduced the floor-crossing legislation, it was the UDM that took the fight for the rights of voters to the highest court. Voters need to ask these parties why they supported this law, and thereby gave the right to a single individual politician to nullify the votes of tens of thousands of people.
The Arms Deal
The UDM is amongst those who took the lead in challenging the Arms Deal that appears to be a hotbed of corruption and fraud. Eventually certain Government officials were found to have been guilty of improper behaviour. Even now, the matter is not resolved, with powerful people linked to the ANC facing court trials, and a cloud of suspicions hanging over Deputy President, Jacob Zuma.
The Hefer Commission came about as a direct result of these unresolved matters relating to the Arms Deal. The UDM will continue to pursue this matter because corruption cannot be tolerated. We disagree with the wastage of billions of Rands of weapons of war when the real enemies of our country are unemployment, poverty, crime and HIV/AIDS. This is part of the UDM’s commitment to accountable and responsible government. We have the resolve and commitment to fight corruption, and take on any party, no matter its history or power, to ensure that South Africans have the ethical governance that they deserve.
When Government announced its Taxi Recapitalisation programme most South Africans were justifiably relieved that the existing taxi fleet would be upgraded and the industry would be democratically run.
However it quickly became evident that Government was bungling the process, not sticking to its own deadlines and blaming taxi owners for Government’s mistakes. Government was unable to answer commuters’ questions about affordability and availability of services, whilst owners’ questions about equity remained unanswered.
Government refused to apply relevant safety regulations to existing makes of vehicles, and offered owners a small scrapping fee regardless of the roadworthiness of their current vehicle, thus making it virtually impossible for owners to afford the new vehicles. It became apparent that this process was in danger of becoming a self-enrichment scam for the elite, at the expense of commuters and black business people in the industry. It would be wrong for an industry that supplies millions of people with transport and tens of thousands of people with jobs to be undermined in this fashion.
The UDM together with most of the taxi associations actively campaigned for Government to address these concerns, since Government itself had unreasonably delayed the process and was making it impossible for the industry to transform. As a result Government recently agreed to postpone the deadlines to ensure that the Taxi Recapitalisation is properly implemented and that commuters are not deprived of services whilst thousands of entrepreneurs in the industry are bankrupted.
These are but some examples of the UDM’s active role in national politics and the further consolidation of South Africa’s democracy. Being a viable, trustworthy and reliable opposition party is a demonstration that we are equally up to the task of governing.
The UDM and its leadership understand the fundamental values that South Africans apply when choosing their government.
We understand that:
– South Africans want a sense of ownership of their government.
– South Africans want direct control of their government.
– South Africans want an accountable, ethical and incorruptible government.
– South Africans want mutual trust between them and their government.
– South Africans want to be in charge of their own destiny.
– South Africans want a say in the management of the country’s resources.
A vote, at national or provincial level, for the UDM is a vote for these values.
Ten years after the achievement of political freedom we need to ask how free are South Africans. How much has freedom grown for South Africans of all races and creeds since 1994?
Reviewing ten years of freedom
We must deliberately measure our progress since 1994, because true freedom is not a once-off event but an ongoing process. The UDM understands that the growth of freedom depends on certain basic conditions that affect citizens’ physical ability but are also directly linked to their dignity, including the following:
Jobs. Without productive employment and a decent living wage people will not be able to experience the fruits of freedom. In the long term, food security can only be achieved and hunger beaten if people have jobs
Education. Without knowledge and skills people cannot make informed decisions and achieve their goals, and so enhance their livelihoods.
Health. People need to be healthy and have adequate health care in order to reach their full potential and share in the benefits of a democratic society.
Security. People who feel under siege from criminals in their homes, neighbourhoods and places of work cannot fully concentrate on pursuing their aspirations.
Property ownership. Without ownership of land and property people are unable to participate actively in the economic and social life of the country.
The UDM understands that if these conditions are lacking or inadequate, freedom for all has not yet been achieved.
Unemployment and poverty is a direct contradiction of freedom. Real freedom – political, social and economic – provides dignity to a nation. On the other hand, unemployment and poverty undermines it. Similarly, crime, rampant HIV/AIDS and inadequate education are all factors that undermine freedom.
Whilst Apartheid undermined the majority’s dignity and freedom, the current levels of unemployment, poverty, crime and HIV/AIDS are taking many South Africans back to that same state of hardship and suffering experienced under Apartheid.
Therefore, when we assess South Africa since 1994 we need to ask: Are South Africans more free now that ten years ago? The answers are well-documented and visible all over our country. Despite major strides that have been taken: unemployment is rife; poverty and homelessness are evident everywhere, HIV/AIDS affects millions, crime is holding people hostage in their own homes, education fails to provide adequate skills for employment and the majority are still without property and landless. This is a clear indication that in ten years we have not seen the advancement of our freedom that we deserve.
Whilst real freedom still eludes the majority a new black elite connected to the ANC are reaping the rewards of freedom. The ANC’s Black Economic Empowerment amounts to real freedom only for their political comrades. Real freedom is about equal opportunities for all, not immoral wealth for the few.
Women, youth and people with disabilities
The UDM is particularly aware that these challenges of unemployment, poverty, crime, HIV/AIDS and Education have a greater impact on some sectors of our society. It is especially women, youth and people with disabilities that are more prone to suffering under these conditions. A society that claims to be democratic and free but allows its women, youth and people with disabilities to be left behind is immoral and unjust. Especially the youth are faced with huge obstacles and whilst many of them are trapped in unemployment, it is impossible for them to prepare for their role as future leaders of our society. It is
It is our task to lay a foundation for them, a better future, in order that they may deliver for their children not merely a better, but a greater future. Women, Youth and people with disabilities will be specifically included in the UDM’s government programmes/policies to deal with unemployment, crime, HIV/AIDS and Education. The current Umsombovu Fund must be scrapped and replaced with a mechanism that is not used solely for ANC aligned youth groups and people. Stringent measures to stop crime and abuse perpetrated against women and children must be implemented.
Real freedom for all is the UDM’s mission. The achievement of real freedom for all can only be gained through massive socio-economic delivery. In this manifesto we outline the UDM’s proposals for achieving this massive socio-economic delivery. Our point of departure is that this massive socio-economic delivery can only be achieved by a Government that is willing to invest in its own economy and people. This is a philosophy that says Government must do more. It stands in stark contrast with the thinking of other parties that hold the view that Government must do less and everyone else must do more.
This manifesto is the UDM’s pledge of commitment. We offer no “contract”, no fine print, no loopholes and no excuses.
Whilst policy issues on jobs, poverty, crime and HIV/AIDS will be central to the debates during this election campaign, I wish to place the issue of responsibility and integrity on the agenda alongside these policy discussions. I believe that it is time for all political leaders to be held accountable for the promises they make. I believe it is time for responsibility and integrity among all political leaders to become the rule rather than the exception. I believe that the voters should judge all political parties, not just on their policies, but on their leaders’ integrity and willingness to accept responsibility.
The UDM is an established and growing organisation with the vision as well as capable women and men from all races who are bound together in their quest to achieve real freedom for all. As South Africa embarks on the second decade of political freedom, the UDM undertakes to translate that into social and economic freedom for all.
We need a government that puts South Africa and its people first. You deserve a Government that does more!
President, United Democratic Movement
THE ECONOMY, JOBS AND POVERTY
Fundamentally the UDM is convinced that the Economy, Jobs and Poverty are inter-linked issues. We believe that Jobs are the ultimate weapon against Poverty and that the Economy must be managed to ensure the achievement of this goal. Government has a responsibility to intervene and protect the South African economy and South African jobs when necessary. Whilst Free Market Capitalism is the best economic system developed by humanity, it is still fraught with weaknesses and failures that must be actively managed.
South Africans are suspicious and mistrust Government because of perceptions that Government is not equitably distributing the resources of the country. A new privileged political elite exclusively enjoys the resources. There is no consensus on a macro-economic policy that can transform the economy in a manner that could create and spread wealth wider and improve the lot of disadvantaged majority. There are in particular concerns about the inadequacies and contradictions of the fiscal and industrial policies.
The harsh reality is that we are suffering from:
– a 42% rate of unemployment.
– the economy is unable to create jobs.
– more than a million jobs have been destroyed.
– economic growth is too slow to absorb new entrants into the labour market.
The prospects of reversing this dismal trend appear far-fetched under the present economic policies and performance of the ruling party. Consequently the gains of liberation in 1994 have not translated into real economic freedom for all.
Our economy suffers from jobless growth due to the confusion created by an ambivalent Tripartite Alliance (ANC, Cosatu & SACP). This ruling clique preaches elimination of unemployment in the streets and legislate retrenchments and greater unemployment in parliament.
The governments of the USA, Europe, China, India and most others recognise the responsibility that they have towards their citizens and intervene to protect their domestic jobs and businesses. A Government that proposes anything less does not care about its people, and is not willing to accept responsibility for their welfare and prosperity.
During the UDM National Congress of 2001, the UDM adopted the policy of responsible government intervention in the economy through infrastructure development to create jobs.
A UDM Government will focus on job creation and stimulating economic growth, investor confidence and efficient service delivery, but will be equally aware, and