UDM: Burning issues

The UDM believes that style of governance is as important as policy issues if South Africa is to prosper as a democratic nation, writes Bantu Holomisa

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) will focus on a variety of issues. But, first, we must address the manner of government as distinct from the policies of a prospective government. Under the African National Congress (ANC) South Africans have been exposed to unaccountable and unresponsive governance.

South Africans need:

  • A sense of ownership of their government;

  • Direct control of their government;

  • An accountable, ethical and incorruptible government;

  • Decisive leadership on issues of national importance;

  • Mutual trust between them and government;

  • To be in charge of their own destiny and

  • A say in the management of the country’s resources.

The UDM manifesto will be underscored by a theme of inclusiveness, consultation and accountability, and the defence of the institutions of the democratic state. The ANC and its alliance partners have devalued these institutions. No policy promises made by any party will amount to anything if such institutions have been undermined. That is why we have battled for the survival of the Scorpions.

Five issues to be addressed are:
Jobs and the economy
A UDM government will focus on getting the economy on to a higher growth path. Job creation remains the most important concern. We will focus on creating more opportunities for new entrepreneurs to enter the market and reduce the cost for existing businesses.

Crime
A UDM government will revamp the entire criminal justice system. The South African Police Service (SAPS) is not catching enough criminals. The few that are caught are not prosecuted properly and then our dysfunctional prisons don’t work the way they should. We will provide the SAPS with the resources to focus on the prevention and investigation of crime. We will ensure that police management is appointed from the best and brightest who have risen through the ranks. The justice department requires a large investment in resources and personnel to clear the backlog of cases and to deal with the increase in cases once the SAPS improves. We also need to build more prisons to house all the criminals and to keep petty and hardened criminals apart.

Education
We will revive the ailing education system. There is a shortage of skilled teachers. Only 20% of schools attain successful maths and science results. Lack of dedication and discipline of learners and teachers has a negative impact. Tertiary institutions receive ill-equipped students. We will reinstate teachers’ training colleges and appoint people with technical, managerial and financial skills in the department to monitor implementation of policy. We will reduce the number of children per class. An inspectorate will consistently monitor schools.

Electoral reform
Government’s arrogance and lack of consultation stems from our electoral system not giving enough power to voters. We will introduce constituencies to the proportional representation system to ensure that all public representatives are accountable. We will introduce separate elections for president.

Fighting corruption
The UDM will continue to expose corruption. We will end the ANC’s distortions of civil service norms. Nepotism must end. We will appoint the best people for the job, not just those with the “right” party membership. Political interference in administration is the reason for much of the bureaucratic chaos and corruption. Once we have ended this meddling, tender fraud will also be reduced.

Bantu Holomisa, MP, is the president of the UDM

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