UDM's Bantu Holomisa launches manifesto in Port Elizabeth
To develop the South African economy, it makes sense to gradually stop exporting raw materials, UDM president Bantu Holomisa said on Saturday.
The focus should rather be on creating jobs locally by processing and manufacturing products on our shores, he said.
Holomisa was speaking in Port Elizabeth at the launch of the party's election manifesto.
A large crowd of party members clad in white UDM t-shirts listened as he unpacked their promise to the voters as political parties prepare for the May 8 elections.
Among the list of promises, Holomisa spoke passionately about waste management, saying it could be a catalyst to create a large amount of jobs in townships.
He urged Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani to rally his coalition partners, business and residents to clean the townships, and that by April 27 the streets must be clean.
"Everyone needs to take ownership because it's not government that is throwing trash in street corners," Holomisa said.
The UDM promises to:
- Launch a massive initiative focusing on job creation through infrastructure maintenance and development;
- Establish a distinct national fund to assist frustrated entrepreneurs in getting basic tools to start their businesses;
- Create sector specific banks to provide financial assistance to the youth to start their own businesses;
- Professionalise the criminal justice system;
- Lobby SADC countries to consider establishing an apparatus to respond to cross boarder crime and terrorism and the gathering of intelligence;
- Introduce rail lines in the inner city to reduce the over reliance on road transport;
- Introduce "green" battalions to counter soil erosion, over grazing, deforestation and protect bio diversity, especially in rural areas;
- Reintroduce inspectors at schools; and
- Establish a permanent commission on education whose primary responsibility would be to establish and build upon basic educational policy pillars and ensuring stability in the curriculum.
Holomisa said they would introduce tax incentives to encourage the private sector to invest in the development of technologies for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity programmes.
"In all towns and cities you hardly see trucks collecting garbage and residents just find an empty space to dump their waste."
A UDM government would embark on a country-wide clean-up campaign.
"We will provide the necessary tools to keep our country clean and in the process create jobs as well as opportunities for small businesses to flourish," Holomisa said.
Having experience as a coalition government partner in Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, Holomisa touched on coalition governments, calling for it to be regulated.
"It should be regulated so that the principle of serving the people is not suppressed by wanton political intimidation and playing the numbers game that typifies the present local government dispensation," he said.
On health, Holomisa said they would commit themselves to health care that is linked to other social cluster portfolios, recognising the role of social welfare, water and sanitation, basic life skills and awareness to improve the basic health of the nation.
At the start of the speech, Holomisa lambasted the ANC, saying it was a party of thieves that was not trustworthy.
He also painted the UDM as a party that spoke strongly against corruption.
Holomisa referred to President Cyril Ramaphosa as a "decent man" but he was tainted by the ANC.
"He may be a decent man but he is only one man. There is nothing stopping the ANC from removing him, just as they recalled Thabo Mbeki and replaced him with a person facing over 800 criminal charges," Holomisa said.
He said you could not have Ramaphosa as president without the ANC.
"Which makes the UDM’s suggestion that the president of the country should be directly elected by voters as in other democracies," he said.