United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa is a contender in the South Africa 2014 elections and the platform advanced is one purportedly all about fairness. The UDM political party is popular in the Eastern Cape Region and has a social democratic policy. The party’s popularity has diminished over the last fifteen years. The final outcome in the 2009 election gave the UDM less than one percent total, showing the decline from 1999 where the party received almost four percent in the national election.
Bantu Holomisa, known to most as the General, was a former African National Congress (ANC) national executive member. Holomisa implicated several top ANC officials in the arms deal and said the former minister of the Transkei, George Matanzima, was bribed by officials. These allegations caused his expulsion from the ruling ANC Party. During 1997, Holomisa together with past National Party members formed the UDM and was made president.
Holomisa is a self-appointed president for life of the UDM party and is painted by many critics as a dictator who has never grasped the essence of the South African struggle. Many South Africans remember with distaste his military action on teachers in the Transkei who were fighting the terrible working conditions.
Holomisa believes that South Africans should vote against the ANC and takes every opportunity to badmouth the ANC leaders. Obsessed with attacking the ANC and its leadership, Holomisa positions himself as a defender of the people. His popularity, however, continues to spiral downward and his campaigning for support has been largely ignored. Remembered as a coup leader, and for extreme economic policies, Holomisa has been portrayed by critics as a frustrated dictator clinging to the last shred of dignity. It is an image which has stuck in the minds of many.
Bantu Holomisa and Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), openly proclaim their intention of inciting violence at the 2014 South Africa election on May 7 should their parties fail to perform well. A repeat performance of the 1990 Transkei coup led by Holomisa is anticipated by many as he continues to plant seeds of a civil war by complaining of about the unfairness of the IEC. Transkei, a former homeland of South Africa, was governed by Holomisa and housed ANC terrorists during the struggle years. Since 1994, Transkei and the other homelands have been incorporated back into South Africa.
Holomisa, according to the ANC party, is an undemocratic leader and does not represent any democratic values. The UDM has not indicated any new and innovative ideas to move the country into a positive direction according to the detractors. The continued attacks on President Jacob Zuma by Holomisa and his party are taken as a sign of hatred and desperation by most. The shouting and speeches by Holomisa have left a bitter taste in the mouth of ANC leaders.
Holomisa has been represented as an apartheid military project that never worked. According to the ANC, they tried to rehabilitate him of all apartheid and Bantustan political rhetoric and failed. Holomisa was not a person who wanted to be led and did not understand the ANC internal policies, according to them.
Holomisa continues to talk about the progress of the Transkei under the homeland days and admits there was corruption. He said the homelands were not as bad as the present provinces are today. He commented on the outstanding administration of the Transkei, including upgrades to roads, schools and transport. Today, Holomisa said the Transkei is in a terrible condition and admits it is distressing to make this comparison.
Holomisa continues to establish a few supporters for the South Africa 2014 election and faces radical dissent from the ANC party. Holomisa’s vision of a better South Africa has not worked in his favor while campaigning ahead of the election this week. The drastic reduction of support could finish his political career.
By Laura Oneale