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More Elections

MANIFESTO: UDM

2014-03-13 08:32

My fellow South Africans

2014 is an auspicious year when South Africans mark twenty years of freedom. The Bill of Rights ensures that all the citizens of our beautiful country have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Our dignity has been restored and we enjoy freedom and security of our person. We can live where we want to. No South African is denied access to establishments based on their colour. We all have the right to basic education; to speak our own languages, freedom of religion and celebrate our diverse cultures.

These liberties, as enshrined in the country’s constitution, were hard won are being destroyed by corruption. To compound matters the socio-economic circumstances of our people make it very difficult to safeguard the gains of our freedom.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) seeks to address these basic deficiencies and also empower our people and transform South Africa into a Winning Nation.

If one looks at our economy one cannot deny that, amongst others, job creation and poverty are interlinked.

For instance, the UDM believes that job creation is the ultimate weapon to combat poverty, but this goal will never be realised if our economy is not managed properly. Government has a responsibility to intervene to protect our economy and South African jobs where necessary.

In addition, we need meaningful government intervention to ensure economic growth. This necessarily means, for instance, that our roads should be passable; an efficient rail network should be in place; the electrification, water, irrigation and reticulation of communities and business should be high up on government’s agenda

Regarding our macro-economic policy, there is still no consensus on how South Africa can transform its economy in a manner that creates wealth and improves the fortunes of the disadvantaged majority.

South Africa already finds itself on the same path as our sister nations on African continent which have failed their citizens.

Disrespect of the rule of law, as exhibited by our executive, as well institutionalised corruption, has a direct bearing on South Africa’s downgrading on international ratings, which in turn negatively impacts on investor confidence. The symbiotic relationships between political parties and their so-called “investment arms” (such as the ANC and Chancellor House Holdings) erodes private sector confidence.

It is an unfortunate fact that South Africa is steadily sinking deeper in the quagmire of corruption. What makes matters worse is that these acts of corruption keep reaching new heights and they happen with greater frequency.

A case in point is that, during the infrastructure development in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, service providers inflated their prices to make a greater profit at the expense of the taxpayer. Citing another example, we were all shocked to learn that Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which had a good international reputation, could be embroiled in corruption and maladministration.

In the final analyses; no one can dispute that: “4 destroys the gains of our freedom”

The obvious question that follows is:  Are things so bad that we might as well throw in the towel?

The UDM emphatically says NO!

As much as the situation in which we find ourselves might be discouraging and bleak, the UDM firmly believes that it is not too late for us to turn things around. There is so much untapped potential in our country and her people that we cannot, and should not, let go of the dream of prosperous nation.

In this manifesto the UDM makes a number of constructive suggestions to address some of the burning issues we face as a nation (for greater detail on our policies please visit our website www.udm.org.za.

As you read through this manifesto, remind yourself that you, the voter, have the power to make the dream of a prosperous South Africa a reality.

We need a government that puts South Africa and her people first. We deserve a government that will really take South Africa forward. Vote UDM!

Thank you

Bantu Holomisa

Good Governance

Rule of law is a system on which proper government should be based as it guards against the abuse of power and allows for innovation and the economy to flourish.

As an indictment of our government, the Institute for Accountability unequivocally stated that, since 1994, the reason for poverty in South Africa is directly attributable to, “the theft” of R700-billion. The Institute further stated that government in fact had the resources necessary to uplift 11 million citizens from abject poverty (see http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/01/27/corruption-is-killing-the-poor).

The UDM is of the view that corruption is one of the main contributors to unemployment, poverty, inequality and poor service delivery. Our people are so frustrated by their living conditions that their anger frequently boils over and instead of government listening to their concerns, they dispatch the police.

We cannot hope to effectively eradicate poverty without addressing “institutionalised corruption”. There are examples abound: the E-tolling system; Travelgate; the Oilgate/PetroSA (Iraq) scandal; the deal involving Hitachi, Eskom and Chancellor House Holdings; the IEC and the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) lease agreement scandals; Guptagate and then of course Nkandlagate.

Another typical example of disregard of the rule of law is, that despite the fact that a court ordered the President of this country to hand over the so-called “spy tapes”, a government property, he refuses to do so. In yet another instance, Cabinet chastised the Public Protector for simply fulfilling her mandate.

This cancer of corruption that has implicated many top leaders and officials, and this includes the highest office in this country, has spilled over into the private sector.

The brazen practice of corruption has the ruling party reeling from one scandal to the next – it has reduced its promise to combat corruption to a joke.

How perfectly timed was the arrival of the Information Bill after the media had exposed a number of corruption scandals. Although the jury is still out, there seems to be general consensus that the Bill was introduced to hide evidence of corrupt practices.

This tendency to appoint people with the “right political connections” instead of those who have the right qualifications and/or abilities, promotes mediocrity. We see many examples of this tendency when one looks at the corrupt and ineffective state owned enterprises (SOEs) that serve as a gravy train for the elite. To make matters worse, the situation has become more complicated with the tri-partite alliance leaders are now fighting over state resources forgetting that this infighting erodes investor confidence and leaves our people living in squalor without basic services.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • promote a culture of good governance.
  • respect the separation of powers of government, legislatures and the judiciary.
  • develop a vetting process where persons nominated to positions in the executive should be subjected scrutiny to establish their integrity and suitability to serve in a specific portfolio.
  • restore proper relationships between politicians and officials; the current culture of political interference in the daily administration of our government, causes bureaucratic chaos and fuels corruption and tender fraud.
  • restore the powers of the accounting officers and ensure that there is no political interference. The role of political heads should be confined to that of oversight.
  • introduce courts dedicated to handle cases of corruption and to swiftly eradicate corruption as demonstrated by the UDM’s track record of consistently and fearlessly exposing corruption.
  • root out this culture where corruption is celebrated and condoned.
  • conduct a skills audit to ascertain whether the right people are employed in the right posts and at the right levels.
  • appoint government employees, as well as leaders of the Chapter 9 Institutions and SOEs, based on merit, relevant knowledge and qualifications.
  • review the current tender system that currently makes it possible for bribery and corruption to flourish.

Context on SA Economy

While the UDM acknowledges and appreciates the impact of colonial and apartheid legacy on the South African economy, twenty years into our democracy there is clear verifiable evidence that poor policy choices, mismanagement, corruption and lack of visionary imaginative intervention has negatively affected our economy. As a direct consequence, massive poverty, high unemployment especially among the youth, growing inequality as well as shrinking productive manufacturing sector have become defining features of our economy. In recent years our global and continental competitiveness has been on the decline as reflected in most studies and surveys. The reality today is that this country is becoming more of a welfare state than a developmental state with swelling number of dependents on state-provided social security and diminishing productive sector of manufacturing and entrepreneurship. All this is happening against the backdrop of escalating cost of living which is putting even more squeeze of economic hardship on average citizens.

As an answer to these challenges, the UDM has a carefully considered plan to stimulate and grow the South African economy for the benefit of all its citizens while remaining globally competitive. 

Economy and Job creation

The paradox of the South African economy since 1994 has been a jobless growth even when this country had a sustained growth for ten years. Therefore the recent global financial crisis can never be used as an excuse for what is obviously a structural problem perpetuated by poor policy choice on the part of the ruling party. The problem is twofold, slow economic growth to meet the increasing demands of employment and development, and jobless growth even in the sectors that have registered significant growth.

The ruling party has since 1994 adopted policies that have failed to grow the South African economy at rates required to create jobs. As a result, the average economic growth rate stands at a dismal 2.6% per cent per annum compared to the other emerging markets and most of African economies where average is between 6 and 8%. The official unemployment rate is 24.7%. This unemployment rate excludes those people who have given up looking for a job. When this category of people is included in the overall measurement, the unemployment rate deteriorates to more than 35% with the youth being the most affected thus presenting perfect conditions for social and political instability if this situation is not attended to as a matter of urgency.

In other words, nearly 7 million South Africans are unemployed due to the misguided policies of the ruling party. According to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk 2014 report, South Africa has the third highest youth unemployment rate in the world. It estimates that more 50% of young people in South Africa are unemployed and this rise to above 70% in some rural communities and informal settlements. The growing service delivery protests and labour unrests are an objective irrefutable indication of a growing crisis with the state relying more and more on violence and brute force as the infamous Marikana massacre and many other communities in the Northwest and Limpopo province have shown.

The most painful irony is that of a former liberation movement that espoused egalitarian principles during the struggle years only to preside over the most grotesque and ever-worsening inequality. South Africa today has earned the dubious title of being one of the most unequal societies in the world even surpassing Brazil that has held this ignoble title for a long while. This badge of dishonour is a direct consequence of corruption and policies that allow the rich to accumulate obscene levels of wealth in a vast ocean of material poverty.

This situation is made worse by the ruling party’s abuse of otherwise well-intended policies of empowerment  such as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and state tender policies which are twisted to enrich the politically connected cadres of the ruling party. The most dramatic and symbolic demonstration of the social distance between the ruling political elite of the ANC and the people is their failure to review and make modest the ministerial handbook. Even in the face of global and local economic and financial crisis they insist on parasitic preservation of their lifestyle through taxpayers’ money.

Poor Management of Fiscus

The ruling party often prides itself on its ability to maintain fiscal discipline. However, in the past five years South Africa’s fiscal position has deteriorated significantly due to the ruling party’s poor management of the economy and its failure to improve the country’s competitiveness.

Nowhere is this loss of competitiveness more evident than in the current account deficit of 6% (R200 billion). In 2008, South Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 23%, and it is projected to reach 39.3% in 2013/14 and 43.9% in 2016/17. In 2007/2008 South Africa had a budget surplus of 1.7%. This surplus declined to a budget deficit of 4.2% in 2013/14, which puts our country in an unenviable position of operating twin deficits on the expenditure side of the budget and the current account.

It is clear that the ruling party has failed to properly manage our economy. It has also failed to close the gap between revenue and consumption and is therefore unfit to govern.

Government has failed to create an environment that is conducive for foreign direct investment. Instead it insists on keeping the interest rates artificially high in order to attract portfolio investments that are fickle in nature. This however raises the cost of credit for ordinary South Africans.

South Africa’s current cabinet is too big to function effectively. Millions of taxpayers’ money is wasted on maintaining their opulent lifestyles, perks like fancy cars and luxury accommodation.

Government departments waste billions of rands hiring service providers and consultants to start projects; they however do not even make the effort to monitor progress and establish whether the minimum requirements are met. Such service providers are paid in full without government inspecting the quality of the work done.

When international businesses want to invest in our economy, they are “told” who their South African partners would be. The deal between Hitachi Eskom and Chancellor House Holding (the latter of course being the ruling party’s investment arm). This is a classic example of the institutionalised corruption that makes potential investors think twice about investing in our economy.

UDM Plan for Economic Development and Job creation

After a careful analysis of the South African economic challenges and opportunities reinforced by comparative analysis of successful policies in other countries, the UDM has a practical realisable plan.

The basic philosophy of the UDM is that Government Must Do More. While UDM recognize the valuable role that market should play it is of a firm belief that government must play a key leading role in creating a policy environment as well as in developing the economy for the benefit of its people.

By Government Must Do More – we mean that a responsible Government:

  • cannot depend on market forces alone and cannot fail to intervene in the economy whilst the quality of life of its citizens deteriorates, millions live in abject poverty and suffer because of underdevelopment.
  • has to intervene decisively in the economy to create jobs, eradicate poverty and
  • has to ensure that our political freedom translates into economic emancipation of the people.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • use a manageable budget deficit and government debt to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
  • implement the necessary checks and balances to ensure that government (i.e. taxpayer’s) money is not wasted.
  • streamline the cabinet by appointing fewer ministers as part of cutting costs.
  • review the public sector wage bill.
  • stop the over-utilisation of consultants by appointing competent staff.
  • stop the current practice of appointing individuals, who did not make it as public representatives, as so-called “advisors”.
  • standardise the value of perks (e.g. vehicles) across the board for ministers, deputy-ministers, directors general, mayors and traditional leaders, etc.
  • take action against any government employee found guilty of corruption, instead of rewarding them with ambassodor’s posts.

Infrastructure Development

Well-targeted strategic infrastructure development is critical for the proper functioning of the economy.  It is the cornerstone of sustainable social and economic development. The ruling party’s infrastructure development programme is not planned properly and fails to address past imbalances and backlogs. For instance, while government has budgeted and approved more than R800 billion over the next few years for infrastructure development, very little of this goes to rural areas and other previously disadvantaged communities in the townships, informal settlements and peri-urban areas. As a result, the infrastructure in these areas is in a state of disrepair. This causes people to migrate to large cities in search of better job prospects and better living conditions.  Even as new infrastructure is being put in place there is a decay of the old infrastructure due to the lack of maintenance plans.

In many parts of this country the only way to access service delivery requires that a citizen be a card-carrying member of a particular political party.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • draft a “map of infrastructure development”, with emphasis on transparency and closer cooperation between government, state-cooperation and the people.
  • invest in the economy through a properly planned infrastructure development programme and other large scale, government funded programmes that are community-driven and applies good environmental practices.
  • empower communities, by investing in transfer of knowledge and skills to create jobs.
  • ensure that South Africans have access to passable roads, electricity, water irrigation and reticulation and a rail network.
  • allocate a significant amount of resources to infrastructure    development in rural areas and previously disadvantaged communities e.g. build roads, dipping tanks, fence grazing lands and mealie fields and adequate sanitation.
  • ensure proper consultation with the affected communities before projects are rolled out.
  • eradicate the culture of rolling out infrastructure development and basic service delivery to people who belong to a certain political party.

Small Business Development

Small businesses have been accepted worldwide as the backbone of global economic growth and development while at the same time creating more jobs.

Small businesses in developed countries contribute more than 50% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while in Asia they contribute around 40%. In South Africa, too little has been done to reduce the costs and administrative burden for existing for small businesses. As a result, South African small businesses contribute around 30% to GDP. Ironically, delayed or non-payment of small businesses by government has contributed to their collapse.

The UDM believes that a growth rate of 6-8% is required to reduce unemployment. To do this, we need to unleash the creative spirit inherent in many South Africans to create jobs. UDM also plans to reverse the trend of shrinking numbers of South Africans in the retail sector which is gradually being taken over by foreign nationals with little, if any, assistance for South Africans to compete effectively in this sector.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • develop a policy that will ensure a fair system where entrepreneurs and small business owners from inside and outside of South Africa can do business harmoniously.
  • do more to  promote small business development to ensure that the citizens become wealth creators rather than employment seekers.
  • introduce capacity building and training programmes for aspirant and existing entrepreneurs as a way to encourage people to start new businesses and to improve the competitiveness of existing ones.
  • identify and remove obstacles to small business development.
  • create access to capital for example development banks that help sector specific entrepreneurs.
  • facilitate access to new markets for their products.
  • provide tax incentives for businesses that create jobs and those that are labour intensive.
  • empower and create opportunities for unemployed graduates in beneficiation programmes.
  • review labour policies to reflect our desire to stimulate SMME growth.

Women Empowerment

There is no equitable partnership between men and women. There needs to be a social paradigm shift about gender-equality that should usher in a new generation of women and men working together to create a humane world order.

Address the violent crime perpetrated against women and children. Helping women to empower women with co-ops as part of economic empowerment and job creation.

A UDM Government commit itself to:

  • ensure participation of women in the development processes, sustained investment in human capacity through education, health and nutrition programmes.
  • eliminate all obstacles that still limit the access of women to decision-making, education, health care services and productive employment.
  • take a zero tolerance system to punish, deter and rehabilitate offenders while supporting and restoring dignity and justice to victims.

Youth Empowerment

According to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk report (2014), South Africa has the third highest youth unemployment rate in the world. It estimates that more than 50% of young people in South Africa do not have jobs – this includes semi-skilled and skilled young people.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • focus on initiatives to get the youth working through education, skills development and vocational training.
  • initiate job creation and opportunities for young South Africans; e.g. radically reduce the red-tape that stifles entrepreneurship, and introduce targeted incentives and support programmes for small businesses started by young people.
  • employ semi-skilled youth as “green battalions” in projects to remove alien species, combat soil erosion, afforestation and sustainable subsistence farming.
  • arrange youth mentorship and exchange programmes through bilateral agreements with other countries.
  • empower young South Africans to develop micro-businesses, where they for instance recycling and maintaining schoolyards, parks, cemeteries, sporting facilities, etc.

Empowerment of people with disabilities

Despite the fact the there is a whole Department dedicated to improving the lives of women, youth and people with disabilities, there is no doubt that people with disabilities are treated as the step-child of this department. There are very few people with disabilities who are employed not only in the public service, but also in the private sector.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • develop policies based on the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as described in http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml.
  • conduct regular audits to ascertain whether the public and private sectors are fair in giving people with disabilities the same opportunities as able persons.

Industrial Policy

In 1995, the South African government embarked on a massive trade liberalization programme that dramatically reduced trade tariffs in a wide range of labour intensive sectors, such as textile, agriculture, and mining, etc.  This resulted in massive job losses because our country’s core industries and labour intensive sectors had to compete with countries whose labour intensive industries are heavily subsidised by their governments.

The governments of the most powerful economies in the world, such as the United States of America, China and India as well as various countries in Europe recognise the responsibility they have towards their citizens. These governments do not hesitate to intervene in their economies by protecting local jobs and businesses. A government that proposes anything less does not care, and is not willing to accept responsibility for the welfare and prosperity of their people.

If you drive around Ekurhuleni, which used to be a hub of the steel industry, it now bears the scars of neglect and disuse, because it could not compete with subsidised industries in other parts of the world.

The ruling party is obsessed with the concept of beneficiation – this is however mere lip service. How ironic that, South Africa exports raw materials to the rest of the world, only to import the final products back. The ruling party is thus creating jobs for people in other countries.

There are far too many instances where major developments, such as big mining projects, start in areas without the necessary consultation with the communities that will be affected. What makes matters worse is, these companies, after pillaging the resources and damaging the environment, disappear into thin air.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • do more, by this we mean that a responsible government cannot depend on market forces alone and fail to intervene in the economy while the quality of the life of its citizens deteriorates and millions of our people live in abject poverty and underdevelopment.
  • review South Africa’s international trade tariffs and duties to protect developing local industries, encourage exports, increase international trade and support inbound tourism.
  • create an environment that is conducive for the manufacturing sector and industry to flourish.
  • create Export Processing Zones (EPZ) or Industrial Development Zones (IDZ) on a trial basis in some of our coastal provinces or in identified industrial areas. The objectives of an EPZ or IDZ are to create jobs.
  • reduce the red tape that stifles the ability of domestic companies to export their products to the rest of the world.
  • develop support programmes for the labour intensive sectors and give special attention to those that create job opportunities for all South Africans.

Mining

The full policy of the UDM regarding Minerals and Energy is available on our website

There has recently been quite some interest in the subject of the nationalisation of mines that raised tensions to boiling point. This situation resulted in much instability, not only amongst miners and their employers, but also negatively impacted on South Africa as an investment destination

A UDM Government commits itself to:

Make the topic on mining in South Africa one of the major points of discussion at the Economic Indaba which the UDM proposes. Some of the matters to be discussed are:

  • the question of ownership of land and mines,
  • the allocation of mining rights to the ruling elite and its implications
  • socio-economic conditions of the workers and the communities that settle close to where there jobs are.
  • the controversial issue of mineworkers’ access, or lack thereof, to a provident fund worth billions.
  • the unions’ investment arms and the pay-out of dividends to those workers who have contributed to the fund.
  • appoint of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate how these workers’ monies were invested, especially in cases where the workers were retrenched, had retired or passed away.

Economic Indaba  

The primary focus of the CODESA negotiations was the attainment of political freedom. This has left the formulation of South Africa’s economic policy in the hands of individual Ministers, who tend to develop policies along narrow partisan and factional lines.

All the ruling party’s economic policies, such as RDP, GEAR, ASGISA and now the New Growth Path, were formulated along these lines and have all come and gone without delivering the promised jobs.

Over the last twenty years we have witnessed growing levels of tension and mistrust amongst the three main role players: government, labour and business.

On the one hand, this mistrust has discouraged big business from investing billions of available cash in our economy. On the other hand, it has often resulted in illegal and violent strikes, which negatively affect the economy, depress the currency and investor sentiment.

It is clear that after nearly twenty years of economic experimentation that the ruling party has run out of ideas. It is merely tinkering with policy in the blind hope that it will somehow stumble upon a solution.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • call a National Economic Indaba along the lines of the CODESA negotiations to discuss an economic policy that will help to eradicate poverty, reduce unemployment and lessen inequality in South Africa.
  • use the Indaba to propose the development of a social pact between business and labour in order to improve industrial relations.

Quality Education

Our education system has become a political football and the solution lies in firm leadership. We need to restore authority to government and not teacher unions.

Government spends approximately 6% of GDP on education. Despite the significant amount of resources ploughed into our basic education system, South Africa’s quality of education is very poor.

This means that our children do not get the basic education they deserve thus leaving them ill-equipped to find employment.  The 2013 matric pass rate of 78.2% is meaningless when one considers that the majority of matriculants can barely read and/or write. This scenario worsens when one considers that 60% of learners drop out before they reach Grade 10.

Another factor that puts our learners and teachers at a disadvantage is the chopping and changing of education policy with the appointment of each new minister. Just when the teachers master a new curriculum, they have to start from scratch and in turn the learners suffer.

Our tertiary institutions do not provide fair access to deserving students. They suffer from high drop-out rates and do not produce enough graduates to fill the skills shortages in the economy.

The Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) have failed spectacularly – after twenty years they have produced nothing more than employment opportunities for the ruling party cadres who could not find jobs elsewhere.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • translate the large education budget into quality education by developing and maintaining an education system that produces school-leavers and graduates that are equipped with job-related and life-skills.
  • free public education until Grade 12;
  • career-orientated advice and education will be enhanced to ensure that children can determine their future careers timeously and can attain the various goals on the way towards their employment.
  • involve all the relevant stakeholders in curriculum development.
  • design curriculum in such a way that it adapts to changing needs of society. It is important that the vital pillars of our education policy do not depend on the whims of one party Minister, but are agreed to by all.
  • improve the quality of the educational infrastructure, such as the physical infrastructure, teaching material and human resources.
  • increase spending on the development, maintenance and provision of school buildings, water, sanitation and electricity.
  • instil discipline, order, neatness and productivity.
  • address the lack of commitment reflected in the neglect of the dress code by teachers and pupils, vandalism and truancy.
  • ensure that crime, especially sexual harassment and abuse, at schools receives zero-tolerance. Offenders will be removed from the institution and will face the full might of the law.
  • get back to the basics i.e. teachers must teach; learners must learn.
  • foster a culture of learning and discipline with the reintroduction of regular school inspections.
  • depoliticise the management and administration of schools by unions.
  • review the entrance requirement as well as the curriculum for teacher training.
  • include self-employment as a viable alternative within career guidance structures. Implement specific entrepreneurship education and training in the curricula of both basic and higher education institutions
  • review structures and curricula of FET colleges to ensure that they become more practical in addressing the needs of learners who aspire to be future entrepreneurs.
  • restructure the SETAs by appointing the right people to the right positions.

Feeding South Africa – Food Security and Rural Development

The degradation of household food security in the country is of great concern. Though household food security is not the sole responsibility of the agricultural sector, it is vital that the production of food is stimulated to fulfil the needs of a fast growing population.

Rural Revitalisation and Economic Stagnation

Many rural areas are experiencing a crisis with regard to resources and service delivery and rural economies have imploded. The majority of people live in abject poverty.

A major flaw of economic policy in the past 20 years has been the failure of the ruling party to bring infrastructure in rural areas and townships on par with that in the cities.

People migrate to the large cities fuelling the chronic housing shortage; millions are forced to live in shacks because the infrastructure in the cities cannot keep pace with the demands of rapid urbanisation.

Commercial Farmers and their concerns

In the past South Africa used to be net exporters of food, and today we are net importers. It is extremely difficult for our commercial farmers to compete against the counter parts in other counties, because those countries make great effort to support farmers. Poor border controls, and stock theft, also have a negative impact on our farming communities.

The safety and security of those who live in rural areas and far-flung areas of our country is of great concern. Rural poverty has been compounded by the Government that has neglected development, alienated farmers, communities and Traditional Leaders alike.

In some instances the land lies fallow or commercially viable farms become unproductive because the new owner/s of the land do not have the necessary knowledge or capacity to run those farms.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • use agriculture as a tool to expand our economy, create jobs and generate wealth especially in rural areas.
  • prioritise the needs of South African farmers – by developing policies to subside farmers to enable them to fairly compete against their international counter parts. We will also protect the South African market from the dumping of these subsidised products.
  • reverse this situation through a concerted effort to stimulate Agriculture and related businesses, and using these as a platform for development in rural areas. We are convinced that the creation of the necessary infrastructure will create jobs and encourage the growth of more employment-creating agricultural-related enterprises, to ensure that the migration to urban areas is slowed down.
  • accelerate the distribution of land, in line with our Land Policy to encourage people to return to, or remain in, rural areas and start productive enterprises there.
  • create the necessary infrastructure to create jobs and encourage the growth of more employment-creating agricultural-related enterprise thus ensuring that the migration to urban areas is slowed down.
  • build infrastructure that support agricultural activity, such as irrigation schemes which have been proven to be successful in the past.
  • establish One-Stop Agricultural Service Centres in rural areas where emerging farmers can ask for advice, veterinary services, access the necessary tools and knowledge to run their farms as businesses and also have a market for their produce.
  • introduce Special Units specifically involved in Rural Safety through the deployment of reserve forces and other government security agencies to provide safety in rural areas and to enhance border control to curb stock-theft and smuggling.
  • streamline the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to speed up the processes and restore land to their rightful owners, because the delays causes uncertainty and tension.
  • paying particular attention to rural revitalization and will assist emerging as well as subsistence farmers by giving access to resources including capital, land, infrastructure and training, which will assist the rural poor to become self-reliant.
  • creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurial and agricultural development and start mentorship programmes with commercial farmers and linking farmers to markets must be a necessary condition.
  • encouraging the poor to empower and organise themselves, individually or collectively,in mutual aid or self-help initiatives such as cooperatives and develop their capacity to participate effectively in social, economic and political process.
  • review trade tariff policies that would assist specific food industries that face unfair competition from dumped products. Also use trade policy more aggressively to stimulate export to new markets and reduce the cost of doing business in South Africa.
  • provide adequate support to rural municipalitiesthat have a limited revenue,raising capacity and those that suffer from skills shortage.These would help deal with past imbalances and backlogs and create the much needed employment opportunities in rural areas.

Role of Traditional Leaders in development

Traditional leaders have been side-lined for the past twenty years and they could have, and should, play an important role in rural revitalisation.

  • in rural municipalities tensions between traditional leaders and councillor have been reached boiling point, because traditional leaders have been stripped of the power and deference they are entitled to. Many of them feel that they are only given recognition during elections.
  • there is no standardisation in terms of the packages of the traditional leaders of the various tribes.
  • the houses that were established for traditional leaders are reduced to talk-shops and any decisions made by such bodies are not taken seriously by the ruling party.
  •  fast track the implementation of the Land Reform process and bring the restitution process to a clos
  • respect the role and institution of traditional leaders. The decisions made by the traditional houses should be referred the relevant bodies (e.g. to the National Assembly and the National Council of Province) for action.
  • capacitate traditional leaders to take a leading role in rural revitalisation and the colleges for the children of traditional leaders will be reopened.
  • the administration of the traditional leaders would be put in the office of the President as well as the premiers.
  • the standardisation of the palaces and packages (salaries and allowances)of the traditional leaders and their offices.

A UDM Government  commits itself to:

  • fast track the implementation of the Land Reform process and bring the restitution process to a clos
  • respect the role and institution of traditional leaders. The decisions made by the traditional houses should be referred the relevant bodies (e.g. to the National Assembly and the National Council of Province) for action.
  • capacitate traditional leaders to take a leading role in rural revitalisation and the colleges for the children of traditional leaders will be reopened.
  • the administration of the traditional leaders would be put in the office of the President as well as the premiers.
  • the standardisation of the palaces and packages (salaries and allowances)of the traditional leaders and their offices.

Quality Healthcare

Currently the poor are still disadvantaged with regard to their access to, and the quality of, primary health care they receive. It remains a sad fact of daily life for many South Africans that have to travel long distances to the nearest clinic or hospital.

Hygiene at many clinics is at unacceptable levels, and must be addressed immediately.

The provision and stocking of medicine at many clinics and hospitals fall far short of the basic requirements. The current spread of infrastructure and services prevent medicine from reaching hospitals and clinics.

The inefficient referral mechanisms in our current system deprives patients, especially those in a critical state or emergencies, from being referred timeously to institutions that are able to deal with their needs. At the moment patients are forced to wait countless hours and sit in long queues before they are assisted by staff that have a dismissive attitude towards their fellow humans in need.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • bring health care infrastructure and services closer to the poor.
  • improve public health facilities and services, including the maintenance of hospitals and clinics.
  • ensure that all hospitals and clinics are properly stocked with medicines and other medical supplies.
  • ensure that allocated money is spent on the services for which it was intended. No “savings” on budgets or rollovers will be tolerated. The principle that will be applied to accounting officers will be that under-spending is worse than over-spending.
  • ensure that all doctors and nurses at primary healthcare facilities are properly trained, qualified and compensated.
  • streamline referral procedures to ensure that all patients requiring emergency or specialised care receive speedy and appropriate treatment at the relevant medical facility.
  • ensure that the primary health care system is tailored to respond effectively to the major diseases threatening the South African population, such as tuberculosis (especially drug-resistant TB), cholera and malaria are preventable and can be treated.
  • ensure that nutritional issues and family planning forms a basic part of Primary Health care, recognising that appropriate education and training in these areas will have a major impact on the well-being of communities.
  • ensure that the Department of Health is part of an integrated response to alcohol and drug abuse, recognising that substance abuse contributes to high levels of violence, death and the social breakdown of South African society.

Safety and Security

At the moment there is no synergy between the various stakeholders, i.e. police, courts and corrections. The only time where we see any synergy between these arms of justice is when they are acting in defence of the ruling elite.

For many years now the ruling party has refused to acknowledge the scale of the crime crisis facing us, aside from the occasional outburst from a minister or two that never makes any difference.  A world-class nation can exist only in a productive and safe environment which encourages enterprises to flourish whilst attracting local and foreign investments. It is extreme folly to parachute a National Police Commissioner with no policing experience to command the police which seriously affects discipline and morale.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • develop a doctrine that ensures that our police service function according to a set of rules that are in line with the values enshrined in our Constitution.
  • enhance coordination between the ministries of justice, police services, correctional services, defence and national intelligence.
  • restore civil order as an immediate priority.
  • improve border and rural security by making use of a re-empowered, reorganised and retrained reserve force of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to patrol our borders.
  • transform certain units of the South African Army into smaller, disciplined, professional and well-trained forces that are able to rapidly expand and mobilise when required i.e. rhino poaching.
  • implement a Crime Eradication Strategy.
  • encourage communities to participate in fighting crime, through the establishment of neighbourhood watches, etc.
  • establish a baseline information system (database) for strategic planning around crime and policing issues.
  • ensure that the police encourage the best and the brightest to rise through the ranks; thereby ensuring that the people who command the police force understand policing.
  • promote regional cooperation between South Africa and its neighbouring countries, such cooperation will amongst other include improved extradition treaties to ensure that criminals do not strike across our borders without impunity.
  • improve the relationship between the public and police in order to enhance intelligence gathering.

Protecting the Environment

The environment issue is of critical national and international importance. The threats to the survival of our environment and the people who inhabit it make the issue a top national priority.

The practice of proper use of land and resources is understood, but high levels of poverty in many parts of the country have led to the destruction of the environment; soil erosion, water pollution, and deforestation are widespread. As a result desertification is threatening our country. It is critical that we uplift the poor and rescue our environment from permanent destruction. At the same time storms and adverse weather are becoming commonplace due to global climate change. This further exacerbates the threat to our environment.

The socio-economic implications of the destruction or degradation of our environment imposes a serious obligation on everybody to play his or her part to protect our environment. Environmental concerns require a holistic and non-political approach because it affects all players, irrespective of social standing. Any activities by anybody that harm the environment impact on the lives of all people of South Africa.

The task of saving our environment calls for the elevation of the problem as a priority that warrants a “Marshall Plan” to save our natural heritage by identifying, building and rewarding individuals, institutions as well as community-based organisations to rescue and conserve our natural heritage. A specific opportunity exists here to make use of the many community radio stations. They are doing sterling work on reflecting community issues, and are well-placed to raise awareness about environmental, health and related issues. Government advertisements towards this would also help to make these stations economically viable and break the artificial advertising monopoly of the SABC.

This entails broadening the knowledge, and awareness of environmental issues and commitment to its protection and development to encompass the poor who may have previously viewed issues of environment as a preoccupation of the wealthy. It must be made known to all our people that the promotion of environmental concerns and strategies is geared towards the improvement of the quality of lives of all our people without exception.

We must defuse the potential conflict between the imperatives of conservation and those of resource-poor communities. We need to link conservation with socio-economic development, by allowing communities to have sustainable access to the life-supporting and income-earning potential of nature reserves and other protected areas.

Population and resources, and land distribution will remain areas of challenge and opportunity. The environmental and socio-political needs are to deal with the material and perceived legacy of apartheid. In environmental management terms, this might mean a shift in focus to living and working environments, and to land reform.

The UDM supports sustainable environmental development, meaning that the prosperity we create today must not leave future generations without useful resources. The UDM believes that, through the implementation of bio-diversity programmes, thousands of jobs can be created. The UDM believes that it is possible to generate job and business opportunities whilst being environmentally responsible.

A UDM Government will pursue the following objectives:

Tax incentives must be provided to the private sector and other institutions that invest in the development of technologies for conservation and sustainable use of bio-diversity programmes.

Similarly more active enforcement of the environmental law is required. Individuals or organisations that contravene these laws must be penalised.

The massive number of environmental laws and regulations must immediately be consolidated into one concise and effective law.

In South Africa in particular, and in the world in general, we are facing three major environmental crises: climate change, water scarcity as well as the energy crisis. These three challenges pose massive threats and require concerted National and international responses. A UDM Government would be a champion of these causes locally, on the continent and in international forums.

Electoral Reform

Political accountability is at the heart of fully-functioning democracy. The current Proportional Representation (PR) system means that elected leaders are accountable solely to their party bosses and not the people who voted them into office needs to be discarded sooner rather than later.

The current practice where political parties impose their choice of President on the Nation – is profoundly undemocratic.

A UDM Government commits itself to:

  • move towards a mixed electoral system that draws from the strengths of both the proportional and constituency based electoral systems. The first major step we will take is the introduction of constituencies into the PR system to ensure that politicians have a specific geographically-defined community they represent.
  • change the electoral laws to allow for a separately elected President, as is the case in many democracies across the globe; in that way we will put the power back in the hands of the voters.

Read more on: udm  |  bantu holomisa  |  election 2014  |  politics  |  manifesto

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