Major General (Retired) Bantubonke Holomisa co-founded the United Democratic Movement (UDM) www.udm.org.za 27 September 1997 and serves as its President. In 1999, within a period of twenty months since the UDM’s establishment he, together with thirteen other members of the Party, were elected to Parliament. He is a current Member of Parliament representing the UDM, which in 2017 celebrated its 20th year of existence.
He was the Commander of the Transkei Defence Force and Head of the Transkei Government (former independent homeland between 1987 and 1994) up to the first National Elections in South Africa in 1994. He was one of the first two black persons accepted by the South African Army College to do a one-year senior staff course for officers in 1984.
Between 1988 and 1989, the government led by Mr Holomisa un-banned approximately 33 organisations that were banned by his predecessors. His government worked closely with the liberation movements and as a result, Transkei had a smooth transition prior to the 1994 National Elections. Mr Holomisa also led Transkei delegation to Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) negotiations.
The African National Congress (ANC) Election Committee chose him to campaign nationwide alongside Mr Thabo Mbeki, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as well as the late Mr Nelson Mandela, Mr Joe Slovo and Mr Steve Tshwete during the general elections in 1994. In the same year he received the most votes at the ANC National Congress.
In 1996 he was expelled from the ANC after testifying to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about issues and activities concerning the Transkei. He refused to retract his testimony arguing that what he had stated was historical knowledge to all concerned.
He served as the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism of South Africa in the Government of National Unity.
Mr Holomisa is an environmental activist and has played a leading role in the establishment of Champions of the Environment Foundation (http://www.champions.org.za/) an autonomous and apolitical group formed to meet the urgent need for a coordinated campaign to heighten national awareness of environmental conservation issues and best practices benefiting the whole community and future generations.
Since 1989, Mr Holomisa has addressed various forums around the world including the UN Security Council on the need to monitor violence in South Africa; the Confederation of British Industry; the Carnegie Endowment (USA); the Council on Foreign Relations (USA); Centre for International Security Studies (USA); African-American Institute (USA); the Prayer Breakfast meetings in the USA, Zambia and Uganda; the World Tourism Organisation; the World Travel and Tourism Council; Convention on Biodiversity and many other international environmental conventions and meetings all over the world. In 2000, he attended a Democratic Convention in Los Angeles (USA). In the same year, he led a delegation of UDM Members of Parliament to Beijing (China) upon the invitation of the Chinese government. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) requested Mr Holomisa to act as a monitor in the June 2007 elections in East Timor. In 2007 he participated in a conference on the “Democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa: What Progress Toward Institutionalization” in Ghana, and he attended the Second World Renewable Energy Assembly in Germany.
Mr Holomisa has also mediated in conflict between Methodist of Southern Africa and United Methodist of Southern Africa and he played a mediating role in solving taxi conflict in Transkei and Cape Town. He is regularly invited to address business, academia and civil society, and most recently was part of a delegation that travelled to Germany, upon the invitation of the Hans Seidel Stiftung, to observe the elections to the German Bundestag in 2017.
He currently serves as the Deputy Chairperson of the National Defence Force Service Commission. Mr Holomisa serves on the following Portfolio Committees in the National Assembly: International Relations, Water and Environment Affairs, as well as the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence.
He is an able athlete, who has played rugby, soccer and tennis and was vice-captain of the Parliamentary Rugby Squad from 1994-1996. Mr Holomisa keeps fit with the occasional golf game.
He is married with two children.