UDM tells the DA to take a hike

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa still believes in coalition politics but says he won’t work with the Democratic Alliance again. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa still believes in coalition politics but says he won’t work with the Democratic Alliance again. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa has ruled out any possibility of salvaging the partnership between his party and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

This week, Holomisa accused the DA of using and dumping its coalition partners, saying his party would never work with the DA again.

“We are done with the DA, sorry. We are done with them. And if they were to change [their attitude] now, that would just mean they are panicking [ahead of the 2019 elections] and are only interested in using us again.”

He said it was not the UDM who had left the coalition. “In fact, we were removed by them. They chased us away in Nelson Mandela Bay, so what were they expecting?”

Coalition partners in the metro have reportedly written a letter to the UDM, asking it to motivate why it should remain in the coalition. But Holomisa claims he has not received any letter from the parties.

He said the UDM was willing to partner with any party, including the ANC, because it had already done so in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Last month, the UDM teamed up with the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to remove the metro’s mayor, Athol Trollip, through a motion of no confidence. That tag-team resulted in the election of the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani as mayor, an action the DA will be challenging in court.

Relations between the DA and the UDM soured last year when Bobani was removed from his position as deputy mayor following allegations by the DA that he was corrupt and colluding with the ANC.

Holomisa said that although the DA was unable to prove any of the allegations made against Bobani, it had still refused to reinstate him.

The DA has criticised the UDM for allowing itself to be used by the ANC and the EFF. But Holomisa said it was the DA that had used his party and other coalition partners.

Accusations of DA arrogance have also been made in the City of Tshwane metro, where the EFF and the ANC tried to remove mayor Solly Msimanga with a vote of no confidence last week, but were unsuccessful.

“They [the DA] are people who just wanted to use other political parties to climb on their backs. And when they were at the top they started to push the ladder and say, ‘Off my back, Satan,’” Holomisa said.

“They boast about their successes and don’t mention a single word of their coalition partners. Even at their press conferences, their banners are only of the DA. They are masters in using people.”

Despite the instability in the coalition-run metros, Holomisa said he believed coalitions were the future of South African politics, especially with what he believed was President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inability to effectively steer the ANC ship.

Last year, he told the Mail & Guardian he believed Ramaphosa’s election would make things difficult for opposition parties in the 2019 elections.

But, Holomisa said, he had changed his mind about that statement and believed Ramaphosa had fallen short of expectations and that the “Ramaphoria” was now over.

“At the time, I thought, if he wins [the ANC leadership contest], he will be able to take charge of that organisation. But I’m not sure of his control of the ANC.

“People are angry on the ground that there doesn’t seem to be any practical things which he had promised in February about job creation and so on. It’s just summits, summits, summits, and flying all over this world.”

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