MESSAGE OF SUPPORT BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Umvoti: 15 May 2018
His Worship the Mayor of Umzinyathi District Municipality, Alderman Petros Mthandeni Ngubane; Amakhosi; His Worship the Mayor of Umvoti Local Municipality, Councillor Thamsanqa Ngubane; Members of the Executive of both municipalities; Indunas; Councillors; the Municipal Manager of the Umzinyathi Municipality; the Municipal Manager of the Umvoti Municipality; Heads of Departments, and other distinguished guests and members of this community.
It is always a pleasure to come to Umvoti. There is such a rich history here that I feel deeply connected to this place.
It is here that the Bambatha Rebellion rose up more than a hundred years ago against the injustice of poll taxes on our people. At that time, the Zulus were confined to about 13 per cent of their original arable land, and occupation of Zulu land by white settlers was becoming increasingly forcible.
Inkosi Bambatha Zondi, who led the rebellion, was sought by the colonial police. He tried to protect his wife Siyekiwe and daughter Kholekile by taking them to Osuthu, the residence of my grandfather, King Dinuzulu, which was regarded as a sanctuary. Unfortunately this implicated my grandfather in harbouring rebels, and he was arrested, charged with high treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.
It is also here in Umvoti that the first Prime Minister of South Africa, General Louis Botha, was born. He was a friend of King Dinuzulu and when he became Prime Minister he ensured the King’s release from Newcastle Prison. However the King was not allowed to return home. Instead, he was exiled to Uitkyk Farm in the then Transvaal, where he died in 1913.
I recount this history because I believe it is important for us to remember the struggles of the past. When we face the overwhelming obstacles of the present – obstacles like poverty, unemployment and a lack of basic services – we need to remember that these problems were not born out of water. Our forefathers fought the battle to create something better for this generation, and we must keep fighting for the sake of the next generation.
Today, however, our fight is not waged through rebellions and bloodshed. It is waged through good governance, through the ballot box, through accountable leadership, efficient administration and careful financial management. So when the District Municipality brings you its Integrated Development Plan and its Budget, it is really presenting you with a battle plan. This is how we are fighting poverty. This is how we’re protecting our people from disease, hardship and a lack of opportunities. This is how we are building something better for Umvoti.
I am pleased to join you as the Mayor of Umzinyathi and his team at the District Municipality unpack the 2018/2019 Budget and IDP. Today we have the opportunity to ask questions, get clarity, and discover how we can become part of the development of Umvoti. I encourage you to engage with this Roadshow. It is not intended as a public relations exercise. This is where partnerships are formed, and real challenges find real solutions.
I know that the only way for our fight to succeed is through a leadership of integrity. So I feel a great sense of hope, because I know the leaders of Umzinyathi, and I know that they subscribe to the principles of justice, honesty and hard work. I know that they believe in putting the people first. These are the principles of the IFP. When the communities of Umzinyathi asked the IFP to lead, these principles became the foundation of local governance.
It is such a pleasure for me to be here when the former Mayor of Umvoti is here to present the IDP and his development in his capacity as the Mayor of this Umzinyathi District Municipality. He is today called Alderman, because of his stint here as Mayor of Umvoti. Throughout his tenure of office as the Mayor of Umvoti, there was not a single allegation of corruption against him. He is a tried and tested stalwart of our Party. We are confident that he is going to be able to administer the District Municipality with the same integrity that he demonstrated when he was at the helm here at your municipality of Umvoti.
Thus, as the Mayor and his team present their work and their plans, I am confident that we will see these very principles at work.
I must commend them for placing an emphasis on food security by supporting agriculture in the Umzinyathi District. By ploughing fields, supplying seeds, and increasing the number of tractors available for community farming, the Municipality is protecting families from both hunger and disease.
Wherever I travel in KwaZulu Natal, I see fields lying fallow where once we had thriving vegetable gardens and crops. It pains me to see the depth of dependence among our people. I believe in social grants. Indeed I was the first to create a social grant for vulnerable families long before democracy. But I know that social grants are not a permanent answer, and that they only stretch so far.
There are many families that survive on the old age grant of a grandmother, when that money is hardly enough to feed one person properly. It worries me that our children, in particular, are not getting enough nutrition to enable them to thrive, learn, play and prosper. Over the past few years there has been a dramatic increase in diseases that develop because of poor nutrition. If we want to give our children a chance of success, we need to start by feeding them.
It is essential that communities are equipped to grow their own food, to work the land and bring in a harvest. Good nutrition is equally important in the fight against HIV and Aids. When your immune system is compromised, it becomes vitally important that you get enough protein, vegetables and fruits to keep your body healthy. People living with HIV can still live healthy lives. But to do that, takes good nutrition.
I therefore applaud the Umzinyathi District Municipality for identifying agriculture as a top priority. I long to see communities engaged in subsistence farming, becoming self-reliant, and creating their own prosperity. This can only be done through a partnership between the people and their representatives in local government.
I know that more can be done. There is enormous potential that is yet to be unleashed for the development of communities here in Umvoti. I often wonder how much good could be achieved if the partnership between business and government were strengthened. Our local businessmen have resources that could be ploughed into community development projects, skills training, upliftment programmes and sponsorship of schools.
We need to look at all the possibilities, because the fight against poverty and hardship belongs to us all. It is my fight too, and I will keep working for as long as it takes to see places like Umvoti become places of prosperity and hope.
I support the IDP of Umzinyathi as a strong step towards that goal.
I thank you.