• National and provincial leaders of the UDM,
• National and provincial leaders of the UDM,
• Regional and local UDM leaders,
• UDM Public Representatives,
• Members of the United Democratic Movement.
1. National Youth Day 2017
Whilst the 1976-youth made their significant contribution to our democracy, today’s youth feels left out; relegated to economic hardship with no jobs and no prospects.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) therefore appreciates the young South Africans who swell our ranks. Because, it is only when young people are organised and armed with ideas and programmes of action, that they can collectively fight for their rightful place in society.
The UDM has endeavoured to give young people the space to participate in Party activities; accommodating those who seek to respond to the specific challenges facing them as a social group.
In line with the UDM National Council’s resolution on 3 December 2016, we have made progress in terms of organising the youth at secondary level.
On the 24th of June, a strategy planning session will be held in Pretoria, with representatives of the Progressive Student Movement, together with representatives of the UDM’s Associate Structures and the National Office Bearers based at National Office. We will brainstorm youth programmes at secondary and tertiary education levels.
We believe that the future of UDM lies with the youth and we must nurture young leaders as soon as possible, with a view to cultivate UDM leaders who can feature in the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, and beyond.
You must take your rightful place in the UDM and the Country.
2. Youth’s role in eradicating corruption
At the core of the issues that weighs against young people is corruption; especially when it comes to those charged with the task of governance and ensuring that the dividends of democracy filter down.
The UDM’s youth must be aware that far too many people, who were in the vanguard of the Struggle, have let the Country down by lining their and their families’ pockets.
These, now infamous, emails have so far proven authentic and nobody has outright claimed that they are fabrications. This should send a strong message to you, that you cannot fold your arms. Together with the people of Nelson Mandela Bay, the UDM youth has a responsibility to debate issues and raise your hands to say this is not the future you want.
You must expose corrupt activities and elements at all sites of power to stop the erosion of development due to funds being diverted to people’s pockets.
On this important day, I also call on all UDM young people to commit to the work of the Party. You must ensure that the UDM is relevant to the people and is growing via service to the communities in wards where you live.
3. Coalition government in the NMB Metropolitan Municipality
3.1. The UDM’s decision to participate in government
Our commitment is consistent with our 2016 Municipal Elections manifesto that says: “Put Community First”.
3.2. The future of the coalition
The UDM is still firmly part of this coalition government despite the challenges of the past few months.
We have absolutely no intention to collapse or to leave the coalition government.
We acknowledge that, like in any relationship, there are challenges; but they are not insurmountable.
The problems that are regularly reported in the media have been escalated to the national leaders of the coalition partners and they are being attended too.
If you are not aware, a three-member committee scrutinised the situation and found that the Executive Mayor and the Deputy Executive Mayor were both at fault in many respects.
We therefore took the stance that they either should shape up or ship out. Everyone must do their work, and follow the law and rules of the municipality.
Just to dispel any rumours and misinformation, the national leadership of the coalition partners (which consist of the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People, the Democratic Alliance and the UDM) made the following decisions on 5 June 2017:
1. Councillor Bobani will remain the Executive Deputy Mayor and a member of the Mayoral Committee, but, at the moment, not in charge of Public Health.
2. The Executive Mayor will investigate a suitable alternative portfolio for Councillor Bobani to take charge of until the investigations into the Department of Public Health have been completed.
Both Councillors Trollip and Bobani were present at this meeting and they were told to put interest of people above everything else and that the partner-parties wanted to see the smooth running of the coalition government.
The UDM has a clear vision for this coalition, as it responds to the call by the people of Nelson Mandela Bay for a clean and people-centred government. It is an achievable goal and we must make Nelson Mandela Bay a better place for all our people who live here.
3.3. The lack of a legislative framework for coalition governments
In hindsight, the teething problems we have faced these past months are a good learning curve and we’ve learnt some valuable lessons.
One of those are that the existing legislative framework does not provide for government by coalition.
In this regard, the UDM will through the National Assembly investigate whether there cannot be a review of the Municipal Structures and Systems Act to govern the smooth running of coalition governments.
As we approach the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, the need to look at our Constitution and laws, in the context of multi-party democracy, is urgent.
Given the current political landscape, it is possible that there may be no party that will win outright in 2019. South Africa may be forced to constitute coalition governments in some provinces and at even at national level.
4. Busting corruption
We continue to forge against the growing scourge of corruption under the ANC administration.
As opposition parties, together with civil society, we actively engage in fighting corruption at every turn, to counter the damage caused by the newly acquired friends (from outside South Africa) of those in high places.
We have therefore asked the Constitutional Court to insulate Members of Parliament from adverse repercussions when voting on the no-confidence motion in President Zuma.
5. Towards a National Convention
In realising our objectives, the UDM sold the idea of a National Convention to several political- and civil society organisations. This all-inclusive, National Convention should consider the state of the Country and map out a vision to guide us to a better future.
We shall make sure that this process is as open as possible and is inclusive of South Africans from all walks of life. The future of this country is in our hands and we must do everything possible to save it and create hope for the generations to come.
6. Towards 2019 National and Provincial Elections
For us to be prepared for the forthcoming elections, it is your job to launch UDM branches in every corner of this municipality, so that we have a pool of leaders that can swell our ranks in the Bhisho Legislature and in Parliament.
7. UDM’s 20th Birthday Bash
On 27 September 2017, the UDM shall mark the 20th anniversary of its existence.
We have survived rough political waters and we intend to continue our good work; looking towards the 2019 National and Provincial Elections and beyond.
8. A message to our Deputy Executive Mayor
You have been vocal on corruption in this municipality for a number of years and have written to the Public Protector about the previous regime’s indiscretions. You need to check each forensic report and establish if the billions of Rands have been recovered. You must also brief Council and the people of the Nelson Mandela Bay on the findings and the progress (or lack of) of implementation.
In addition, the budget for Nelson Mandela Bay is out and it would be a shame if it is not successfully implemented and the funds gets rolled back.
I have scanned through the budget and there are grey areas. We must guard against a situation where it becomes a straight-jacket, biased towards developed areas and running the risk that the formerly disadvantaged communities are left behind.
As Deputy Executive Mayor, you must monitor the work of the Mayoral Committee, the MMCs and departmental officials. Ward councillors must also not be forgotten as they are a direct link to communities to whom they are accountable.
You are in a unique position to give direction in finding solutions to the problems faced by the people of NMB. Make sure everyone understands this budget and ensure participation in the IDP process. But, most importantly, services must be rolled out.
Please don’t get side-tracked by media shenanigans and leakages. Knuckle down and do the work. Go to the suburbs and townships. Monitor progress and raise the flag where you see the work veering off course.
Agitate for a suitable staff complement that works to support you and your work. Arriving at the office with just your briefcase is not good enough.
On behalf of the national leadership of the UDM, I wish you a very good Youth Month and all the best with the work ahead of you.