2016 IFP Election Rally

Address By
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party

Ulundi

After months of campaigning, it feels good to be home. There is no better place to celebrate our coming victory than here, in the heart of Zululand. For it is here that the IFP family first began, and it is from here that we will grow again.

The campaign for the 2016 elections has been gruelling and fierce. There is a sense that history is being made. A tide is turning in South African politics. Sensing the times, parties have come out with clear statements on where they stand. Policy debate has largely been replaced with ideological declarations, exposing the motive and character of each political party. Voters have been confronted with the need to choose. Now, you are ready to respond.

The electorate is ready to speak through the ballot box on August 3rd. You are ready to deliver a clear message about what is needed in your community, in your municipality and your district. Just days from now, citizens across South Africa will go to their voting stations and decide the future of local governance. This is a significant moment. It is the moment to restore what has been lost in many municipalities: a leadership of integrity.

I want to thank every member of the IFP family, for we have worked hard to deliver a message of hope throughout this campaign. Over the past few months, our national and provincial leaders, our councillors, our candidates and our volunteers have been hard at work spreading the message of the IFP. From our local branches to our National Council, the focus has been solely on electoral success. We have given it our all, because we know that a stronger IFP means better local government.

Our leaders have spent many days away from home, travelling from place to place and visiting one community after the next. We have spent hours on the road, and many more hours listening to families as you spoke to us about your needs. We have been warmly welcomed wherever we went. People are eager to hear about the IFP and excited to vote for the party they can trust.

Wherever I went, whether it was rural Daggakraal in Mpumalanga or the vast informal settlements of the Western Cape, I heard the same message. In Limpopo and Gauteng the message was the same as it is here in KwaZulu Natal. People want change. They are sick of lies, arrogance and weak leadership. They want to bring integrity back into politics. But people are asking, “Who can I trust?”

The IFP has answered that question, and voters in every corner of South Africa have embraced it as true. Who can you trust? Trust Us. Trust the IFP. Because in the midst of the storm, we are the voice of reason. We are a leadership of integrity.

Across South Africa, people have been very receptive to this message, because they know it is based on truth and facts. They can look back over a legacy that spans 41 years and see that the IFP has delivered. They can see our character and bear witness to the good governance we have brought at national, provincial and local level. Wherever the IFP governs, there is community participation, efficient service delivery and clean financial management. There is accountablity and transparency. There is a partnership of trust.

This is what sets the IFP apart from other parties. We have not campaigned on the basis of promises, but on the foundation of things you already know. We believe that trust must be earned through action. It cannot be expected on the basis of words. So while others have promised to deliver in the next five years, the IFP has pointed to the past 41 years and committed to keep doing what we do best; which is govern with excellence.

This campaign has held some twists and turns that none of us expected. We were shocked by the news that the NFP had been disqualified for failing to meet the IEC’s deadlines. It was difficult to conceive that the NFP would not appear on the ballot papers, and we shared the shock of NFP supporters over such a fundamental mistake at leadership level. Appeals to the IEC and the Electoral Court merely confirmed the position that nothing could be done. Every party had committed to meet to the IEC’s deadlines, and the integrity of the electoral process could not be jeopardised by changing the rules for anyone.

The IFP has been at the receiving end of such a difficult judgement before. In the last local government election, in 2011, we were disqualified from standing in Umzumbe when an administrative error saw us miss the IEC’s deadline. That case went all the way to the Constitutional Court, but the Concourt confirmed that the rules must be upheld to protect the electoral process. That was difficult to accept, but we accepted it.

Remembering this, the IFP sympathised with NFP supporters. We understand that they must now choose between forfeiting their vote, or lending their support in this election to the party best equipped to express their voice. I believe that that party is the IFP, because we can deliver what the NFP promised to its own supporters. We can deliver efficient services. We can deliver clean governance. And we can deliver a strong opposition to the ANC.

The ANC/NFP coalition that saw co-governance in 19 municipalities, has failed. Just months into the coalition, NFP councillors were voting with the IFP in municipal councils, because they couldn’t agree with ANC policies. When the first by-elections were held, a clear message emerged from the electorate that they had rejected the coalition. Support for the NFP declined in every by-election, while support for the IFP increased. We actively took votes away from both the ANC and NFP. We even took wards away from the ANC, as voters called the IFP back.

In many by-elections, more votes were cast than in 2011, which was a sure sign that the electorate knew exactly what they wanted. They weren’t waiting for 2016 to restore a leadership of integrity. They wanted to do it right away. And in 5 municipalities, they did it. The IFP was restored to leadership in Nkandla, Hlabisa, Mthonjaneni, Ntambanana and Big Five in Umkhanyakude. These municipalities joined Ulundi and Msinga under an IFP leadership, and immediately service delivery was back on the agenda.

But in municipalities where the NFP and ANC co-governed, politics took precedence over service. The NFP leadership had a hard time making their councillors toe the line. Councillors represent the voice of communities and, on the ground, people were unhappy with the coalition. The ANC was equally unhappy, and statements were soon made by senior leaders that the ANC would never co-govern with the NFP again. They wanted a clear majority in 2016 so that the ANC could kick the NFP to the curb.

In the meantime, governance suffered in municipalities where the ANC had snuck in on the back of the NFP. Some of these municipalities began failing to such an extent that they were placed under administration. The Auditor General’s reports revealed financial mismanagement, wasted funds and weak leadership. The door was opened to corruption, tender fraud and theft. The voice of the people was no longer heard, and development stagnated.

Our communities paid a very high price. When the drought hit and water dried up, efficient local governance became more important than ever. Over the past five years, life has become increasingly hard. The partnership between communities and their representatives in government should have deepened. But it many places, it all but ceased to exist. IFP councillors fought tooth and nail to refocus the attention of municipal councils away from politicking, and toward the needs of the people.

The last five years speak for themselves. Now NFP supporters must make the decision. Will they give their votes to a party that stopped their councillors from delivering, paralysed service delivery in their community and promised to kick them to the curb in 2016? Or will they strengthen a leadership that can restore what was lost, and launch a formidable opposition to the ANC?

There are good reasons behind the growth of the IFP since 2011. Thousands of former members have returned to the IFP after testing the waters in other parties. We have welcomed them home, and they are actively providing their contribution to a stronger IFP. We value their voice. We have also welcomed thousands upon thousands of new members, who have found their political home in the IFP. For, as I have said, in the present political climate, parties are making their true identities known, which makes it easier for people to choose who to support.

One of the statements to emerge in this campaign is that South Africa should become a two-party state. This idea has been put forward by the Democratic Alliance, which campaigned for voters to choose purely between the DA and the ANC. This, they said, should be a two-horse race. No other voices matter. The DA has said this before, in previous elections, claiming that a vote for any other opposition party is a wasted vote.

Have they forgotten that opposition parties, outside of the DA, have 67 Members of Parliament representing millions of South Africans who don’t want to vote DA? We fought long and hard to secure a multi-party democracy, and we have worked hard to protect and strengthen it so that every voice of every South African will be respected and heard. How can the DA tell you that your voice doesn’t matter unless you vote for the DA? There is an arrogance in this, that plays right into the narrative of the ANC that the DA is racist.

The ANC has, in fact, spared no rhetoric to paint the DA as a racist party of former oppressors who care nothing for the needs of black South Africans. But in pushing this narrative, the ANC pushed too far, and exposed racism in its own ranks. The ANC’s President called on blacks to vote for a “black party”. Whatever happened to the multi-cultural, non-racial message of the liberation movement? The ANC is deliberately polarising the political debate, driving wedges between different race groups for the sake of beating back any threat to their unfettered power.

If the ANC sees itself as a “black party”, is there any place for Indians, coloureds and whites in a country dominated by the ANC? There have long been questions about the ANC’s understanding of democracy. When President Zuma stood up in Parliament and said that democracy means the majority have more rights, the fight for equality was crippled. Our country’s Constitution was built on the values of democracy, equality and non-racialism. Yet the ANC has flouted every one of these values in the hope it will win them votes.

Again their campaign has been based on promises. In a glossy manifesto, replete with stock photos and meaningless statistics, the ANC has claimed that it will create jobs, meet needs and accelerate development, despite having failed on all these counts for year upon year of their governance. We still remember their empty promises in 1994, that everyone would get jobs and houses. But how many people still live in abject poverty? How many jobs have been lost in a failing economy? How many still wait for their needs to be met, 22 years later?

Unfortunately, this habit of making promises has infected the DA. After their recent visit to KwaMashu, one resident said (and I quote), “The DA has promised me a house. I don’t know if they will deliver or if they are just saying that to win my vote. I don’t trust these politicians because they always make promises but when it’s time to deliver, nothing ever happens.”

This is the same message I heard again and again when I visited communities in the Western Cape. I sat in derelict shacks, listening to struggling families, as they told me about the treatment they receive from a DA government. There are grandmothers who have been on the housing waiting list for some 18 years. They gave their vote to the DA, as they were asked to do, but still they live in shacks, in dire poverty.

There are communities with no electricity and no running water. There are communities where the children have been taught to run for cover when the gangs start shooting. Yet the DA is telling people in KwaZulu Natal that they will deliver if you put them in government.

What if they don’t? This is your future we’re talking about. This election will decide the fate of local governance not just for 2016, but for the next five years. If the wrong party is empowered, your needs will go unmet until 2021. Why should you keep waiting?

Your future cannot be placed on hold. The time to deliver is now. The time is ripe to restore an IFP leadership so that things can be put right. We are not asking for your vote based on promises. The facts speak for themselves. In 2011, Ulundi remained under an IFP administration. And Ulundi has had clean audit reports every year since then. In fact, we were getting clean audit reports well before 2011. We simply kept doing what we do best: delivering clean good governance.

The IFP works for you. This is why our election campaign has focussed on issues, like water, job creation, skills development, houses, electricity, security, education and healthcare. We haven’t pulled other parties down to make ourselves look good by comparison. Indeed, we haven’t engaged in any mud-slinging. We’ve simply told it like it is, so that you will be equipped with all the information to make a good decision on August 3rd.

The IFP’s message has been simply this: Trust Us. Because we know how to deliver. We’ve done it before. And we’re ready to keep doing it, in partnership with you. I have been proud, as I visited communities, to see houses that were built through the IFP ten, twenty and thirty years ago, still standing. Families are still proud to call them home, because when we build we build for the future. Everything we do forms part of a long-term vision. We meet the needs of the present, but we do it with an eye on tomorrow.

There is no point in bailing water from a sinking boat, unless you’re also fixing the leak. Thus the IFP believes in doing things properly, so that we won’t have to do the same work again and again. When you build a house properly today, tomorrow you can build another house. But if you contract out to a dodgy construction company so that someone can get a kickback, you’ll be fixing the same house tomorrow. This is why people are still waiting for houses.

There is much that can only be achieved when a leadership of integrity is at the helm. Every municipality receives funds from National Treasury, but not every municipality delivers. There must be strong leadership oversight to ensure that funds are properly allocated, properly spent, and properly managed. When there is poor financial management in a municipality, and no oversight at leadership level, the door is opened to corruption, waste and theft.

But where a leadership of integrity is at the helm, good governance follows. This has been evident in every municipality administered by the IFP over two decades. We came into democracy with experience of local governance, for we had served the communities of KwaZulu for 19 years. In partnership with the people, Inkatha delivered 6000 schools. We built houses, roads and clinics. We opened universities and training colleges. We started community development projects and secured international investment. We created a strong industrial base and created long-term jobs that secured an income for countless families.

And in 1994, we brought all this experience into a democratic government and we hit the ground running. Here in KwaZulu Natal, where the electorate gave us their mandate, the IFP administered provincial government for ten years. We built on the solid foundation we had laid and prepared the ground for further development. Tragically, those who came after us abruptly halted the plans and programmes we had set in place. They reaped the fruit of trees we had planted, and pretended that the fruit was a gift from the ANC. But they didn’t keep planting. Thus the harvest has diminished and our people are going hungry.

It is time to stop the rot. In the coming election, just days from now, the power to create change will be placed in your hands. This is where power belongs. Because you, the people, are the reason we exist as political parties. Others have forgotten this truth, but the IFP knows: we are here to serve you. We are here to walk with the grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren on a social grant. We are here to serve the learner who hopes against hope to finish school. We are here for the graduate looking for work, and for the student faced with overwhelming debt. We are here for families struggling in poverty. We are here to support entrepreneurs as they keep their business afloat.

These are the people we serve. These, and many more. For the IFP is a party of diversity and a home for all. We are driving a revolution of goodwill that will see integrity restored to governance. We have brought a message of hope to every community across South Africa. There is a party you can trust. You can trust the IFP.

Today, as we hold our final rally ahead of August 3rd, I want to express my deepest appreciation to everyone who has made this campaign such a success. I am proud of our team. I want to say thank you, not only to those at the forefront of the campaign, but to those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all happen. From our drivers who kept us safe on the roads, to our media team that fought for publicity, a debt of gratitude is owed. I thank those who spent sleepless nights making sure that campaign materials went out, and those that prepared the way, mobilising support, booking venues and arranging programmes.

This has been a mammoth task, but it was worth it.

This is the year of the IFP’s growth. When voting stations open on Wednesday, I hope you will all be there, ready to cast your vote for the IFP.

My only regret is that despite all the good work we have done, in this campaign, there will be no free and fair elections. I shared my worst fears to the Chairperson of the IEC based on the past when he was appointed and already there has been a report that some ballots are missing in Soweto. So while I wish the IEC well in their enormous task on behalf of the nation, one is already aware that the one of the fraudulent practices of the past elections, is already rearing its ugly head, once again. There has been removal of our posters in Soweto and in Ulundi. Other parties have also complained about this. The acts of violence meted out to members of our Party by NFP member do also indicate that our democracy is far from maturing. The killing of our two members Thokozani Majola and Siyanda Mnguni in Estcourt allegedly by someone who was wearing the ANC colours, is the most worrying of these happenings which have already marred these elections.

Vote to restore integrity to your municipality. Vote for a leadership you can trust. Vote for a future of good governance. This is it. Make it count.

Vote IFP!