PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Brits Civic Centre
National Chairperson of the IFP, the Hon. Mr Blessed Gwala MPL; IFP Organiser in North West Province, Ms Grace Phaswana; Programme Director, the Hon. Ms Nonhlanhla Makhuba; Pastor Simphiwe Mashaba; provincial leadership of the IFP; Mr Neo Matlala; and Ms Lebogang Masilo; national leadership of the IFP; and patriots from this community.
Thank you for welcoming me to Brits today. The best thing about being a politician is that you get to meet so many different people. I can tell you that being on the campaign trail is tough. It takes you away from home for long stretches at a time and a Sunday is just as busy as a Monday. There is no rest at this crucial time of elections.
But I know that I speak for all our leaders when I say that it is worth it. We are giving our all because we know how important the coming election will be for South Africa. The country we love and the people we serve will be deeply affected by the outcome of May the 8th. It matters that we get the right leaders elected. We need to save South Africa.
This is not a dramatic statement. It’s a statement of truth. Our country is in crisis, and it needs to be saved. I suspect that everyone in this room agrees, because you have come here, on a Sunday, to hear from the IFP. Your presence here tells me that you care about our country. Your voices have told me that you are deeply concerned.
The IFP shares that concern. There is good reason for us to worry. During the nine years under former President Zuma, South Africans became increasingly aware of corruption, maladministration and incompetence within our country’s leadership. When he was finally replaced with President Ramaphosa, there was a collective sigh of relief. We wanted, more than anything, to believe what the President told us; that South Africa had entered a new dawn.
But then came the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, and the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation, and Mr Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book, “Gangster State”. It has left us reeling at the depth of the rot, and we have had to face the truth that the ruling party has not changed.
It is still the same people, doing the same things, for the same reason. If they had really moved away from corruption, we would have seen arrests and convictions of several senior leaders in the past year. Instead, we have seen press statements trying to convince us that any ANC leader, no matter how senior, does not represent the ANC when they commit an act of corruption. Apparently, they do it in their own capacity.
We are not fools. The so-called new dawn has turned to the darkest of night. In the past few weeks alone we have seen the petrol price spiking, and the lights go out. We have heard the World Bank announce that policy uncertainty continues to hold back investment in South Africa.
The 3% economic growth that the President targeted when he took office last year is a pie in the sky compared to what has actually been achieved. Even our forecast growth of just 1.3% is likely to drop by 0.3% for the first quarter due to the power cuts, which cost us billions of Rand each day.
Gone are the days that any leader could stand before this nation and say, “The whole world is in recession. This is normal.” It is not normal. Economic growth in Sub Saharan Africa is set to exceed 3% by next year. The growth we were told is possible, is in fact possible. Just not in South Africa. Not under the leadership of the ANC.
These are not easy things for me to say. But they are true. We cannot stick our heads in the sand and hope that South Africa will survive. Unemployment already stands at almost 30%. That is millions upon millions of people without an income. The social grant system, which is already under strain, is destined to collapse. We cannot continue as a welfare state, while pretending otherwise.
It is time for a strong dose of reality. Not for us. Not for the voter. But for the ruling party. We need to send a powerful message that we the people are dissatisfied. We deserve more and we deserve better. We deserve honest leaders who will govern this country with integrity. We deserve a leadership we can trust, who focuses on the good of the people, rather than on the size of their bank balance.
That leadership already exists. For 44 years the IFP has served South Africa with integrity. At the core of our Party is a set of values and principles that informs our policies, our actions and our words. We have developed a track record that is clean and good. It is our greatest legacy. Whenever the name of the IFP is mentioned, people think of integrity.
We are very proud of that. It has taken constant vigilance and the courage to remove people from leadership positions if they begin to falter. The IFP doesn’t look the other way. We watch our leaders carefully, holding them accountable as ambassadors of the IFP’s reputation. Our reputation as the party you can trust is our greatest asset.
It is also the greatest gift we can give to South Africa, because more than anything our country needs to restore integrity to the top. Governance and political leadership have been dragged through the mud by corruption. We need to remove the stain of corruption, by removing those who tolerate it, and replacing them with leaders who are absolutely honest.
This is the only way we will save South Africa. Because corruption in government has an impact on every sphere of life, for every South African.
While there is corruption in the housing waiting list, people will continue to live in 21st century ghettos, with RDP houses that are falling apart because tender fraud opened the door to shoddy workmanship.
While there is corruption in the healthcare system, patients will continue to wait in long queues for treatment they cannot afford, and that often comes too late.
While there is corruption in education, our children will continue to suffer the indignity of pit toilets, dirty classrooms and unsafe schools.
While there is corruption in the justice system, criminals will walk free while more and more people become victims of violence, theft, home invasion and hijacking.
Where there is corruption, everything takes too long and is too difficult, from starting a business to applying for student funding. No wonder there is such anger and frustration in the national debate. No wonder our youth are talking about a broken promise, and are becoming more militant in their activism. No wonder we have 48 parties contesting the coming election. People are dissatisfied and they don’t know who to trust.
This makes the IFP’s message all the more important. Our campaign slogan, “Trust Us”, was born out of the desire to give South Africa hope. Not false hope, based on false promises. But genuine hope that is built on a foundation of honesty and well established partnerships. The IFP has always served through partnerships. We work hand in hand with the people, building, growing, creating and uniting. We understand that leadership means service.
So you can trust us to get the economy working. You can trust us to promote social cohesion. You can trust us to be tough on crime. You can trust us to fight gender-based violence. You can trust us to promote responsible land reform. You can trust us to fix the education system. You can trust us to improve the healthcare system. You can trust us to protect the environment.
The IFP has chosen to focus on these key issues as a starting point to save South Africa. I invite you to delve into our plans and policies, and consider what an IFP leadership could do. Take a copy of our manifesto. Read it. Think about it. Talk to your family and friends about it. If you have any questions, speak to us. Connect with us online. Visit our website, or give us a call.
We want to hear from you, because this is a conversation. The IFP wants to carry your voice into the governance of our country. The solutions we offer are workable and good. We know this because the IFP has vast experience in governance, at national, provincial and local level. We know what works and what doesn’t work. We know how to fix the problems that others have created.
I must tell you that not every political party is offering solutions. Some are happy to just keep talking about the problem. Some are pretending it can all be changed overnight, despite there being no budget, no plan and no real understanding of how things work. The worst are those who are making promises they will never, ever fulfil.
I urge you not to be led about by the nose. There are some manifestos out there that will never be implemented because they weren’t designed to be implemented. They were just designed to capture your vote. They talk about creating an Eldorado over night, but the socialist policies they offer are unworkable.
Tragically, South Africa’s youth are being fed these old socialist policies. By the time they realise that they’ve been led down the garden path, they will have suffered tremendous disappointment, disillusionment and heartache.
I want more for my country. I want something better.
Our youth are not just angry. They are also creative and passionate and endlessly innovative. Young people have a crucial contribution to make to the salvation and success of South Africa.
It is deeply worrying that so few young voters turn up on election day. Do you realise that if you don’t vote, someone else is going to choose for you? Don’t leave it in someone else’s hands. If you want a voice, stand up and use it. Staying away from the polling stations does not send a protest message to Government. It simply says, “That’s okay. You decide.”
I want to see young people flood the polling stations on the 8th of May. We need that energy to sustain the work that lies ahead. This is our country; young and old, wealthy and poor, rural and urban. We have one future. There will be no security for one, while another suffers; no peace for one, while another lives in pain.
So let us bridge every gap, whether it is generational or circumstantial, uniting with one another, so that all of us begin working towards the same goal.
The IFP is a family. We value every individual. So I invite you to partner with us as we work to fix South Africa. The IFP is creating social justice and economic justice, and we are doing it for you.
Let me give you a few highlights from the IFP’s vision for South Africa.
For the IFP, the development of an inclusive economy is an absolute priority. This is about human dignity. We need to get our nation working, to alleviate poverty, redress inequality, empower families, and fulfil the rightful aspirations of all our people.
Throughout the past 44 years, the IFP has gained an excellent track record in managing resources and designing budgets that maximise development and growth. We know how to get a lot done, with very little. We make sure that every cent is accounted for, and every cent is stretched.
When we administered the KwaZulu Government, and when we administered KwaZulu Natal, the IFP was known for integrity. Never once, in 19 years, was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled against my administration in KwaZulu. The same honest leadership characterised the IFP after 1994. None of our Premiers and none of our MECs were ever accused of corruption.
That is the way it should be. But compared to what our country has now, that kind of integrity is worth talking about.
The present culture of corruption has created disrespect for the rule of law. No wonder our society is becoming more violent and more dangerous. The IFP knows that no society can achieve its full potential while its people live in fear. Development is only possible when individual rights and liberties are secured. Thus safety and security, and access to justice, must be guaranteed. South Africans must feel safe and be safe.
Of course, the great debate in this election is expropriation of land without compensation; how it will work, if it will work, and whether it’s the right choice for South Africa. The IFP understands that the resolution of the land issue carries with it the promise of healing the wounds of the past. Land has social, spiritual and economic value. It has the potential to be the foundation of the renewed economy our country so critically needs.
If we are to create sustainable, effective development, our most important tool is education. Education is a necessary condition to bridge the inequalities in our society. It is the most potent tool to place our people at the centre of our move into the future, and to secure our rightful place in the global community.
Integral to the overall socio-economic success of our nation is good health and well-being. Thus the IFP has designed a social welfare and healthcare package to meet the needs of today and the future. We believe that all South Africans deserve access to quality, innovative healthcare.
We strongly support social grants, within the framework of self-help and self-reliance. Our primary goal is to empower people, while assisting the vulnerable in times of distress. The IFP was in fact the first to introduce a social grant in South Africa, under the former KwaZulu Government. We also fought hard for SASSA grants to continue uninterrupted when the present Government’s incompetence threatened to collapse the system.
We believe in combining a functioning social grant system with a programme of empowering families, to restore dignity and support individual development.
The IFP knows that women still bear the brunt of poverty, remaining on the fringes of the economy. Women still earn less than men for doing exactly the same job. Women face war on our streets, at home and in the workplace. Ours is one of the most dangerous countries for women and children to live in. All of this must change.
We all want security, an income and a home. The tragic reality is that millions of South Africans are living in sub-standard houses. There is a dire need to redress apartheid-spatial planning. The IFP believes that a new approach is needed that puts local communities at the forefront of the design and construction of house-building schemes.
As we build our communities, we must prioritise water, roads and electricity, for this infrastructure creates a conducive environment for small businesses to flourish where people live.
This is just a taste of the IFP’s vision. There is so much more. I therefore urge you to read our manifesto and to talk about what the IFP can do. Through your vote, everything can change. We can restore integrity to governance. We can bring solutions. We can save South Africa.
I am proud to lead the IFP. But I know that the next generation of leaders will take this Party even further. I have hope for the future. Somehow that is rare in our country. Yet I believe that hope should be planted in the heart of our nation, for we have the ability to change what has gone wrong. We have the right, and the power, to elect a new leadership in the North West and in South Africa. Our votes, on the 8th of May, will make all the difference.
I ask you to choose wisely. Use your vote to restore leaders of integrity to the helm of our nation. Empower a party you can trust. Vote IFP.
I thank you.