UDM soldiers on in its quiet way
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) has put on a brave face as the top three political parties dominate headlines and brag about attracting thousands of their supporters to their rallies.
The UDM launched its Gauteng manifesto without the fanfare of the bigger parties last week and hopes are dim that its planned roll-out in other provinces and regions will attract voters.
Without access to the cash of the bigger parties, the UDM is forced to be resourceful and to rely on volunteers and working harder to get its message across. Its leader, Bantu Holomisa, is betting on snatching control of some municipalities by selling the party’s “strong stance on ethics and good governance” line to potential voters.
He told City Press on Saturday that their manifesto had put his party in a strong position in voters’ minds ahead of the local government elections.
“People listen when we speak. We have tried in our small way to be a reasonable party and to show direction,” said Holomisa. He is hoping to capitalise on the rampant factionalism within the ANC, where prospective candidates who fail to make it on to the party’s lists stand as independents. “Those people who will be voting for that candidate might decide to give their vote to the other parties,” he said.
In terms of prospects, the UDM has modest targets and wants to use these elections as a stepping stone for the 2019 general elections. Holomisa said he would be satisfied if the UDM managed to win even one municipality. His main target is the Eastern Cape’s King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality, which the UDM lost to the ANC when floor-crossing was permissible.
As with all previous elections, small parties such as the UDM are up against the big budgets of the ANC and the DA. Holomisa believes that both parties are at an advantage when it comes to electioneering because they have greater access to state resources.
“You can see the difference, and that is why they fight off partyfunding legislation. They know they will be exposed. They are using taxpayers’ money.”
About 100 000 UDM posters would be erected this month: two for each ward the party is contesting.
While confident of a good turnout, Holomisa is hoping that the wave of anti-Jacob Zuma protests will bring out voters.
“Once people don’t go and vote, chances are that the status quo will remain,” he said.