The ANC involving former president Jacob Zuma in their election campaign "is like asking a bank robber to guard the money", according to UDM leader Bantu Holomisa.
The UDM discussed President Cyril Ramaphosa's "new dawn" at its national executive committee (NEC) meeting this past weekend, but thinks "it sounds a hollow prospect, as events unfold, with some of the prime suspects in state capture surviving the recent Cabinet reshuffle".
"With this move, President Ramaphosa has already started off on the wrong foot and the UDM NEC believes that South Africa is in for more of the same," reads a statement by Holomisa.
"The involvement of former president Zuma in the African National Congress' (ANC) electioneering activities, casts serious doubt that it is at all serious about its plans to eradicate corruption," said Holomisa.
"Mr Zuma's token removal only happened because the opposition and civil society put so much pressure on the ANC that they no longer had room to manoeuvre. Their keeping Mr Zuma at the forefront of their election work is like asking a bank robber to guard the money."
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told journalists on Saturday that former ANC presidents would start attending party events leading up to the 2019 elections. Former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe never attended NEC events after their terms ended.
ANC to run a 'positive' elections campaign
"All the former presidents and deputy presidents, including Zuma – they are beginning to heed the call, we will start seeing more of them," Mabe said. He added that the former presidents would be expected to work with the party around issues of political education.
Elections head Fikile Mbalula promised to run a "positive" campaign with the goal of ensuring a decisive win.
We will not be negative against our opponents. We are not going to play the person. We want to run a positive campaign. That is what we're going to do.
The UDM's meeting at the weekend mostly dealt with readiness for next year's election.
It planned to host election workshops and meetings this year and next year, in the lead-up to the elections.
Voter registration drive
"The UDM in the Western Cape has already indicated that they are geared to host a mass meeting on 17 March, while the party in Gauteng shall be ready to engage with the public on 21 March. The UDM in the Eastern Cape will follow in their tracks on the 27th of April," reads the statement.
"We will, of course, be mobilising communities to register new voters and to encourage existing ones to check their address information on the voters' roll at Independent Electoral Commission's registration weekend on the 11th and 12th of March. We will keep the nation abreast of any changes and additional events on our calendar as time progresses."
The UDM's national elections workshop will have its own strategy session in the first week of May, where the draft manifesto will be presented.
The NEC also discussed the status quo of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality's council and noted that the EFF had called for the removal of Mayor Athol Trollip.