statement by UDM Gauteng Chairperson and NMC Member

Dumisani Makhaye’s attack on the UDM and its leadership have no substance. In fact when one analyse it, it can only be described as a personal attack on the characters of its leaders. It is the sound of a man in fear, a man in panic, a man in doubt. A sound that the UDM is quickly getting used to. Since the launch of the UDM on the 27th of September 1997, it is a sound that was picked up more and more from the quarters of the ANC.

The author in his argument commits the cardinal sin of reasoning along the racial divides of society. By doing this he also addresses the main reason for the UDM’s coming into being and for the ANC’s hysteria and paranoia with the UDM. The ANC have been selling itself as the only non-racial political party in South Africa. But, it has proved through arguments such as these that it still remains a party that analyse and operates along the racial divides of our country. With the establishment and rise of the UDM, the ANC suddenly finds itself stark naked in front of the electorate. Suddenly it is exposed for what it truly is: a party still trapped in the past, unable to break through to the future and address those challenges facing our country and its people, irrespective of their skin colour, anything but a truly non racial party.

Transformation has been the buzzword since the 1994 elections. It is that which every sector of society is doing and is expected to do. However, the political landscape of South Africa did not transform accordingly. The political parties as represented in parliament still reflect their ties with apartheid: They are there either because they fought apartheid or they are there because they enforce apartheid. This inability of the political parties to break with the past results in a political debate in parliament that more than often takes on a discussion of the past. The one group blaming the past for everything that goes wrong and the other defending the past. Each time they fall in this trap they waste energy that they should rather be spending on the burning issues of today and collectively find solutions for a better future.

The UDM realised that in order to achieve re-alignment of South African politics something new, free from the baggage of the past needs to be established. The UDM’s mission statement clearly outlines this ideal: ” We will unite South Africans from all communities in a new political home, built on the foundation of the principles and ideals of our National Constitution. To this end, we will address poverty and imbalances in our society, inspired by our unifying love of our Country and its people. We will set free the creative power inherent in our diversity and will co-operate with all stakeholders to ensure a quality life and individual freedom for every citizen based on good governance and civil order, towards being a Winning Nation.”

The UDM’s growth since the launch in September 1997 clearly indicates that this is what South Africans want to see happening. Various leaders have called upon ordinary South Africans to unite and to build one nation. Unfortunately, it is the very same leaders that in their daily action and through heated debate, is not doing this. Their actions and words further divide and create suspicion – like the suspicion the author is trying to create in his article.

The UDM will not be sidelined or silenced by this type of unfounded criticism. The UDM, its leadership and its growing number of supporters know that you can never accuse Roelf Meyer of serving his own interests or Bantu Holomisa as being a puppet.

The UDM knows that Sifiso Nkabinde was found not guilty by a court of law, an institution that the UDM respects and acknowledges the independence off. Sifiso Nkabinde was elected (not appointed) by the first National Congress of the UDM because he is the best man for that position. Immediately after his release, he called for peace talks in Richmond amongst all parties. Denying this simply means that the ANC is not interested in establishing peace in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. It suits the ANC and their political agenda to create suspicion around the person of Nkabinde – even at the cost of more lives.

The UDM will not be side tracked. Our aim and objective is to silence the critics at the 1999 polls. The UDM will establish itself in the mind of the voter, irrespective from where they come and what colour their skin are, as a political alternative, looking at providing a better South Africa for all.