An Alternative State of the Nation
Address by Mr BH Holomisa, MP and UDM President regarding an Alternative State of the Nation at the Cape Town Press Club
• Ladies and gentlemen
We are grateful to be part of this engagement exploring the very important subject of the true state of the nation. We are just three months away from the 6th democratic elections in South Africa, which means that electioneering has begun and that all political parties are roaming the streets with their manifestos.
We invite you to the launch of our manifesto on the 16th of February in Port Elizabeth. You can participate through personal attendance, the mainstream media and social media platforms.
It is in this manifesto that the United Democratic Movement (UDM) will address the true state of the nation and project our vision for South Africa’s future.
2. The status quo
South Africa has fast diminishing hopes of being able to respond to the triple threat of acute poverty, ever-rising unemployment and inequality. Our massive socio-economic problems remain glaring after 25 years into democracy.
Furthermore, the pace at which the governing party is developing South Africa, takes a back seat to corruption. The reality is that South Africa is swamped in corruption scandals that extend its poisonous tentacles in almost all state institutions with little hope that there will be consequences.
We are a nation of commissions of inquiry, because the governing party has decided to put itself and its corrupt leaders at the top of government’s agenda rather than serving the people.
If my numbers are correct, we are currently dealing with three major judicial commissions (NPA – Mokgoro Commission, PIC – Mpati Commission, State Capture – Zondo Commission) and endless other investigation such as those into VBS, the HAWKS and Eskom.
These commissions reveal that governance systems have collapsed due to brazen looting. We have also seen that state intelligence and law enforcement agencies have no absolute commitment to hold those accused of wrong-doing accountable. This is as a result of the governing party’s deployment policy.
Instead of owning up and showing respect for the nation, the governing party, led by its president and finance minister, further insult the nation and solely place the blame for South Africa’s mess, squarely in the Zuma court when in fact they were also leaders. They attempt to hide behind any of their own goals by attributing it to the legacy of their former leader.
South Africans must remember that the removal, of the African National Congress’ (ANC) sponsored head of state, was an initiative of the opposition parties supported by several civil society organisations. This initiative was fiercely opposed by the ANC on all fronts. Be reminded of his nine lives when he was defended by the ANC in nine votes of no-confidence.
Whilst the governing party remain haunted by his presence, who is either a critical element, if not the face of their campaign, we must move forward and move with speed.
We have not forgotten that more than 80% of the current ANC leadership was in the national executive and this fact was exposed in the Zondo commission when Ngoako Ramatlodi found it extremely difficult to distance the party from the looting that has robbed the nation of its resources.
South Africa’s development trajectory has been significantly reversed by the governing party. We have less of their so-called good stories to tell. Instead, we see a rise of lawlessness, would-be whistle blowers are murdered, mud schools still exist, infrastructure keeps on decaying, the economy is faltering, which all present a loss of hope.
3. The PIC fiasco
As if the state capture through the state-owned enterprises and departments was not enough, these looters have made a grand visit to the coffers of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF). When we discovered this plot, we were not sure about its depth and scale.
Since we succeeded in calling for a judicial commission of inquiry, we can now characterise the thievery at the PIC as nothing different from the grand capture of state by leaders of the governing party and its travellers in the administration of state institutions.
Nepotism and patronage are the most dominant methods of bankrupting the PIC, robbing the pensioners whilst filling the bottomless pockets of the connected few.
The UDM, as it promised the nation, shall not rest until those who have stolen from the pensioners face the might of the law.
In August 2017, I asked Minister Nene a question in parliament, which dealt with the alleged mismanagement and irregularities at the PIC and the PPC board. To date, this question has not been answered. The current minister of finance must not act like his predecessor, he must show maximum interest in bringing stability to this institution.
In this regard, Minister Mboweni must deal decisively with corruption, and start by immediately putting in place a credible board, so that the corrupt legacy left by the former board that resigned last Friday is erased.
4. UDM recommendations
If there is going to be any meaningful change and hope, South Africa must go back to basics.
1. Thieves who are mainly in the leadership roles of the ruling party at all levels, must be removed from power come May 2019.
2. Those who are mentioned in all the investigations and are alleged to have been on the wrong side of the law, must be thoroughly investigated and subjected to the full might of the law.
3. South Africa must place active citizenry in the development trajectory of the nation.
4. We cannot be indifferent to the battle to bring back hope to our nation. We must through a range of avenues engage all South Africans all of whom have an interest in clean governance, legality and equitable distribution of resources, as a basis for improving our lives.
5. Lastly, we need a major structural change in the economy of South Africa from a consumption driven, exporting economy to a redistributive economy. We need to intensify the productive nature of our economy and for this, we need to find a new industrialisation of our economic model.
The UDM is certain that the situation of our nation is far from what we define as a winning nation. We have reversed the hope for a winning nation that we brought by the 1994 break-through. We have collective responsibility to reclaim our freedoms.
For this to happen, we must change gear and vote for credible leaders.
UDM Leader, Bantu Holomisa