IFP rally in Umgungundlovu

Pietermaritzburg: 17 April 2019

It is a pleasure to be in Umgungundlovu today to speak to you about our country, and what the future holds. I am impressed by the presentation made by our Premier candidate for KwaZulu Natal, Mayor Velenkosini Hlabisa. He has given you a taste of what the IFP can do, and what we are already doing for you.

I would like to speak to you about 6 numbers.

In many homes last night, televisions were tuned into eTV for the National Lottery’s Live PowerBall Draw. I am sure that everyone watching already had plans for how they would spend that R5 million. A 6 bedroom home in Wembley or Athlone. The new Mercedes AMG GT coupé. A round-the-world cruise on a luxury liner.

Whatever you dream of when you play the Powerball, you know in your heart that it’s a long shot. But no matter how great the odds are against it, the hope is still there that maybe, maybe.

As human beings, we are designed to have hope. There is something within us that refuses to give up, no matter how difficult things get.

The odds of the dream of democracy ever being fulfilled seem to be fading. In fact, the odds are stacking against it with every new revelation of corruption, State capture and government failure. There is a great deal of despondency in our country, and a great deal of anger.

Yet we want to believe that there is hope. Is this rational? Is it based on anything real?

The IFP believes that there is hope for South Africa. We have seen our country overcome incredible obstacles and survive through terrible injustice. We have been part of the liberation of South Africa, working for freedom and winning democracy. If we thought there was no chance of growth, security and justice, I would tell you.

But I know it is possible. When you play the Powerball Lottery, the chances are you will lose, because it’s impossible to predict the winning numbers. The opposite is true about voting. When you cast your vote, you are able to predict with absolute accuracy what the outcome will be. If you pick the IFP on that ballot paper, you – and our country – are destined to win.

So just as you would pick 5 numbers, and a Powerball, to play the lottery, I would like to give you 5 numbers and a Powerball for this election.

The first number is 25.

For 25 years, we have lived under a democratic Constitution. Our human rights have been enshrined in the highest law, and our equality has been protected. For 25 years, the ruling party has administered governance, and for 25 years they have made promises; most of which are yet to be fulfilled. Because after 25 years, you and I both know that poverty still haunts South Africa.

Millions still live in 21st century ghettos, in shacks or in RDP houses that are already falling apart. We know that unemployment has risen to more than 30% and among the youth it is closer to 50. We know that economic growth has all but stagnated. Jobs were promised, but instead jobs were lost. We were promised that the lights would never go out again, but Eskom still brings us load-shedding.

We were promised free higher education, but more than two decades later students were forced to hold mass protests to get Government’s attention. Tyres burn in the streets in service delivery protests. Businesses fold. Petrol prices keep spiking. The cost of food is bringing hunger to more and more families.

Clearly, South Africa is in crisis. How did this happen? It is the result of a simple formula. When you take integrity out of the equation, everything falls apart.

There is, unfortunately, a lack of integrity in the ruling party. Three short years into democracy, President Nelson Mandela lamented this fact before a group of international journalists. He said, and I quote, “Little did we suspect that our own people, when they got a chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the things that has really hurt us.”

The cancer of corruption was present from the start, but over 25 years it has eaten away at the heart of the ruling party, to the point that we now have a Commission of Inquiry investigating how our country was sold to the highest bidder by senior leaders in the ANC. The price was paid by us, the people, and we will keep paying for years to come, because the damage done by corruption is going to take years to undo.

Let me give you a very practical example of how Government failure affects us. And here I am giving you the second number. It is the number 10.

Within the space of just 10 years, the ruling party has mismanaged Msunduzi Municipality to such an extent that the capital city of KwaZulu Natal has been placed under administration twice. For the second time in ten years local governance has come so close to collapse that the MEC has had to step in. Right now, under an ANC leadership, Msunduzi has a debt of 3 billion Rand. It has been run straight into the ground.

When this happened the first time, there was no accountability. As the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business has said, no one explained the poor decisions that had placed the municipality in this disastrous position. In other words, nothing was done to prevent this from happening again. It was simply crisis management for the moment, without any apology or explanation.

Now Msunduzi is in crisis again. Once again mismanagement and poor decisions have plunged Pietermaritzburg into financial disaster. This will have an effect not only on immediate service delivery, but on the potential development and growth of the economy in Umgungundlovu. Why should you have to suffer for the failings of the ruling party?

The answer is: you shouldn’t. There is no reason for voters in Umgungundlovu to reward the ANC for failing to deliver. There is no reason to vote for further corruption and abuse of State power. It can be stopped in its tracks, through the ballot box.

Here then is your third number, and it happens to be the number 3.

There are 3 weeks to go before a national and provincial election. On the 8th of May, just 3 weeks from today, voting stations will open across South Africa and you will have the chance to change governance in our country, and here in KwaZulu Natal. You need to make your decision now on who will get your vote. Who deserves it? Who will honour it? Who will speak with your voice and bring integrity back into governance?

Let me give you the fourth number: the number 48.

There are 48 parties on the ballot paper for the coming election. This has never happened in the history of South African elections. Never before have we had so many parties vying for votes. But then never before has there been this much unhappiness over the state of our nation.

We no longer trust the party in power, for it has broken too many promises and given too much evidence of embedded corruption. But the alternatives seem unattractive. The two biggest opposition parties have fatal flaws that make them the wrong choice for South Africa.

The one is wholly focussed on doom and gloom, playing on your worst fears in the hope of getting your vote. They are focussed on the problems, rather than solutions. The other is capitalising on your anger. They are stirring the frustration we all feel, but at the cost of social cohesion. They are pitting South Africans against one another, and presenting the false idea that an Eldorado can materialise overnight.

I understand how tempting it is to run with a party that is loud and brash, and is promising to fix everything overnight. But you can’t eat promises. Many of the plans that are being proposed could never be implemented. They would collapse the economy before any benefit could be achieved. Yet they are not intended to be implemented. They are just there to win your vote.

How then can you place your trust in any party that abuses your fears and frustrations, and makes empty promises that cannot be fulfilled? You deserve more. You deserve better. You deserve a leadership that is completely honest.

So let me give you the fifth number. It is 44.

For 44 years the IFP has been serving South Arica with integrity. In all that time we have never compromised on our values or abandoned our principles.

Indeed, in the most difficult times under apartheid, when the pressure was on to embrace an armed struggle, we stood firm for the principle of non-violence. That principle had been laid at the foundation of the liberation struggle by my own uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, the founder of the ANC, in 1912. When the ANC chose to abandon it, Inkatha remained true. We understood that a party who abandons its principles is bound to lose its way.

The IFP has therefore been vigilant for 44 years, carefully watching our leaders and crafting our positions to remain true to the principles and values at the heart of the IFP. These principles and values are the only foundation on which we might build the South Africa we all long to see; a South Africa of social justice and economic justice, for all.

It is because of our commitment to integrity and honest leadership that the IFP is known for clean governance. Throughout 19 years in the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled against my administration. In the 10 years we governed KwaZulu Natal, the IFP’s Premiers and all our MECs were known for integrity. Never once was there an allegation against our leaders.

That is the way it should be. But it is such a far cry from what this province has today, that it is worth talking about. Today, under the ruling party, it is par for the course to hear allegations of corruption against MECs, premiers and senior leaders. With all the evidence of malfeasance, we should be seeing arrests and convictions. Instead all we hear is lip service being paid to clean governance, while cities like Pietermaritzburg flounder in a crisis of maladministration.

We are not fools. We have eyes to see and ears to hear. We know that those who have failed us will fail us again, because they have not put their house in order. There is no new dawn in the ruling party. It is the same people, doing the same things, for the same reason. Even the President doesn’t come with a clean slate. He sat in the senior leadership of the ANC for those nine wasted years, serving as Deputy President of his party, and our nation, without once speaking up for South Africa.

So when you go and vote on the 8th of May, and you see those 48 parties on the ballot paper, I encourage you to remember this final number; the Powerball number: the number 1.

There is only 1 party that you can trust. There is only 1 leadership that can restore integrity to governance. There is only 1 name that is synonymous with honesty, accountability and service excellence. That name is the IFP.

The IFP is saying “Trust Us” because we know that we have built a relationship of trust with the people we serve. Our legacy of integrity and our track record of service have earned your trust. So when it comes to the key issues facing our country right now, you can trust the IFP to solve them.

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.

Our Secretary General and Premier Candidate has laid out some of the IFP plans. I encourage you now to take a copy of our election manifesto, and delve deeply into our plans and policies. Take a look at what the IFP is doing for you, and what we will do when you give us your vote on the 8th of May.

We are already working for you. We have never stopped. But if you want the kind of integrity that the IFP offers, and if you want the IFP’s policies to underpin the governance of this province, you need to give us your mandate. You need to speak through the ballot box.

The highest concentration of voters in KwaZulu Natal is here in Umgungundlovu and in eThekwini. The KwaZulu Natal Legislature is based here in Umgungundlovu. Thus every party will be vying for your vote in this election. They all know that without significant support here, no party can hope to do well on the 8th of May.

Pietermaritzburg is a strategic city. So the fact that the ANC has run this city into the ground speaks of gross incompetence. If they don’t service politically strategic places, how much more are they failing the smaller municipalities across KwaZulu Natal. The problem here is magnified throughout our province. The ANC has an economic policy of borrowing and spending, with no plan on how to pay it back. That is a policy of economic suicide. No wonder South Africa is sinking deeper into crisis.

If you want to rescue our economy, start by rescuing Pietermaritzburg. Vote against failed leadership, by making your cross for integrity. The IFP can restore values and principles to the leadership of this province and to the leadership of our country. We have governed before. We know how to do it. And we do it with excellence.

I therefore invite you to consider these numbers.

25 years of broken promises.

10 years of mismanagement in Pietermaritzburg.

3 weeks to a defining election.

48 parties vying for your vote.

44 years of leadership integrity.

1 party you can trust.

On the 8th of May, remember the numbers. When you pick that Powerball, the IFP, South Africa will be the winner.

I thank you.