South Africa, We Are in The Final Stretch

Jozini – Mkhuze – Pongola

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South Africa, we are in the final stretch. Today we stand exactly 5 days before the fifth democratic elections. This is the time for you to say, “The power is mine”. This is the time to decide to vote, to make your voice heard and shape the future of our country.

This week the IFP is on a campaign to get voters to the voting stations on May the 7th. “Sizonqoba” is about taking South Africa into the next chapter. It’s about closing the door on corruption. No – slamming the door on corruption!

We want every voter to go to their polling station next week and cast their vote for a leadership of integrity, a leadership you can trust. Cast your vote for the IFP. We have travelled the length and breadth of South Africa with the message that the power is yours. Now is the time to use your power.

Throughout this week the leadership of the IFP is driving from place to place, urging you to vote on May the 7th. We understand that every vote counts. Every vote makes a difference. We are asking you to use your vote, and use it wisely.

On voting day next week, don’t go to the polling station alone. May the 7th should be a day of great celebration. Make it an event worth remembering. Take your family and your neighbours. Take your friends or your church group or your colleagues or someone you meet on the street.

Make sure that Wednesday the 7th of May becomes a day you will remember. Because in years to come we will look back at this day and say that is when everything changed. That is when South Africa left Nkandla behind us, when we left Marikana behind us, when we left corrupt politicians and moaning oppositions, and moved into a new era: the era of the IFP.

Many parties are clamouring for your vote. They have tried to bribe you, buy you and bully you. But the IFP understand that real leaders work for your support.

We have worked to earn your trust and we will keep serving you, even after elections.

We struggled for generations to secure the right to choose our own leaders. Now that we have that right, we must use it to choose leaders worthy of our support.

I regret that there is a campaign right now, headed by the former Minister of Intelligence and the former Deputy Minister of Health, asking South Africans to spoil their vote. These stalwarts of the ruling party have recognised that something has fundamentally changed in the ruling party. Something has gone rotten.

They are asking South Africans to withhold their vote for the ruling party, as a protest against the depth of corruption that has infected it at every level. But they are making one mistake. They are asking people to go to the polls and spoil their ballot. They are effectively saying, “Don’t vote”. That is a grossly irresponsible message.

We would be shooting ourselves in the foot if we didn’t give South Africa a better alternative. We must vote. We have the right to vote, hard-won, through a struggle that cost many lives. It is an insult to the sacrifice of leaders like Bishop Alphaeus Zulu, Mr Walter Sisulu, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Mr Nelson Mandela, Mr Oliver Tambo, Dr Zami Conco, Rev Celani Mtetwa, Prince Gideon Zulu, Mr Rowley Areinstein, Mr Winnington Sabela and others if we fail to choose our leaders through the ballot box.

Yes, there is corruption in government. Of some 200 municipalities in South Africa, only 9 have received the stamp of approval from the Auditor General for well-managed finances. Why are the finances in almost every single municipality in our country in such a parlous state? And how could R24,8 million be squandered by provincial departments through unauthorised, irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure?

Undoubtedly, we need to fire some people from government. But a spoilt ballot won’t do that. More importantly, a spoilt ballot won’t put in place the right people for the job. It won’t change anything. It is just a lost vote. I want you to understand this, because unless you get to the polling station on May the 7th and vote for the IFP, nothing is going to change in South Africa.

The IFP is doing everything possible to ensure a free and fair election next Wednesday. We launched a petition, which was signed by leaders of almost all opposition parties, urging the IEC not to appoint members of SADTU as Electoral Officials. SADTU is openly aligned to the ruling party and campaigns on their behalf. They are not independent observers. They have clear incentive to influence the outcome of the elections to benefit the ruling party.

Indeed, it was a member of SADTU who failed to ensure that ballot papers were stamped, in accordance with the prescribed procedure, in last year’s by-election in Nongoma, which saw the IFP lose the election. When we discovered the unstamped ballot papers, we lodged an objection with the IEC, which the IEC upheld. Yet instead of acting immediately to set the matter right, the IEC sent it to the Electoral Court, which meant that it took half a year to be resolved.

The IFP was finally vindicated this week, when the Electoral Court ordered the IEC to amend the results of the by-election to reflect the true outcome. The true result was an IFP victory. We won Nongoma. So this nonsense that our rivals are growing and claiming ground from the IFP has no basis in reality. The only way they win, is through trickery.

We have now launched legal action to prevent the IEC from appointing SADTU members as Electoral Officers. These elections must be free and fair.

There is nothing fair about state resources being used to campaign, which is an old trick of the ruling party and appears to be a new trick from the NFP. The IFP has approached the Public Protector to investigate allegations that millions of Rands have been channelled from the Zululand Municipality into the election campaign of the NFP. Even their coalition partner, the ANC, is up in arms over allegations of corruption in the NFP. No less a figure that the former Police Commissioner has led a demonstration against corruption in the NFP, despite their partnership in governance.

The Auditor General has highlighted almost 19 million Rands worth of irregular expenditure in the Zululand Municipality and allegations are that funds allocated for delivering water and sanitation have been used to put up posters and wine and dine journalists. No one has the right to use your money to try to get your vote. It’s dishonest, disrespectful and against the law. It’s time to slam the door on corruption.

I believe there comes a time in history when change is inevitable. Twenty years ago South Africa’s government changed hands. Over the course of almost twenty years before that, the IFP helped forge this change. Today the call for change is rising again from our communities and churches, and from the streets and homes of struggling South Africans. It’s time to create that change.

The power is yours to do it. On May the 7th, go and vote. Place your cross next the IFP on the national ballot, and do it again on the provincial ballot.

Empower a leadership of experience, integrity and action so that 2014 becomes the year of change.

Let’s get the vote out. Vote IFP!

Yours in the service of our nation,

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP