UDM plans crisis talks as splits emerge in its ranks

Claims of dictatorial rule by UDM president Bantu Holomisa and the party’s below-par performance during the August local government elections will be discussed at a bosberaad in Chintsa on Friday and Saturday.

The meeting will be attended by the party’s national and provincial leaders and their parliamentary and council representatives and is aimed at finding solutions to challenges engulfing the party.

UDM provincial spokesman Mabandla Gogo said yesterday the meeting would also be attended by invited political analysts to assist the party in identifying areas where they were lacking to maintain the party’s relevance in the future.

Gogo said some UDM veterans would also be invited to give advice. “When the party was formed, we had a huge euphoria, but as the years passed, membership numbers started to shrink,” Gogo said.

“Our meeting will be used to reflect on what went wrong, how we can improve our performance in the next elections and how we can keep our party relevant in the changing political times in this country.”

The meeting comes just a week after former Limpopo UDM leader Conty Lebepe accused Holomisa of using an iron fist in running party affairs.

Lebepe was subsequently expelled after he attacked some national leaders on Facebook and accused Holomisa of being a dictator.

The meeting also comes just a few weeks after deputy UDM president Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala resigned, allegedly over differences with Holomisa.

Holomisa has denied any rift between himself and Litchfield-Tshabalala.

The party performed dismally in the recent local government elections, achieving1.91%, or two seats, in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro while garnering below 1%, or one seat, in the Buffalo City Metro

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