PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Ulundi: 5 May 2019
This is it. This is the final stretch. The moment of South Africa’s transformation is almost upon us. On Wednesday morning, voting stations will open across our country and we will all have the chance to make history.
In 1994, history was made by the people who stood in those queues and made their mark on the ballot paper. They were the ones who ushered in change. All that we had fought for, for generations before that, could have been lost in one day. But for the voters, a truly representative government would not have been achieved.
Ultimately, it comes down to you, the electorate. We as the leaders of the IFP have waged a campaign for social justice and economic justice. We have championed the restoration of integrity to governance. We have spoken to you here in KwaZulu Natal, and in Gauteng, and in Mpumalanga, and in Limpopo, and in North West, and in the Western Cape, and in the Free State, in the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. We have told you what is possible and what can be done.
Now, it is in your hands.
On Wednesday the 8th of May voters will again become the ushers of change in our nation. As you go to your voting station and make your mark on the ballot paper, take a moment to imagine what your vote will create. It may well be the tipping point that gives the numbers to the IFP, restoring to this Province a leadership of integrity. Your vote can change everything.
Throughout this campaign I have spoken to people from all walks of life, in every community, from the rich to the poor, from learners to pensioners, from the unemployed to captains of industry. I noticed that no matter who we are or what we earn or where we live, South Africans share a common hope for the future. We all want justice.
Justice has been denied for far too long. I am not talking about courts and judges, but about fairness, equal opportunity and respected rights. As much as our Constitution enshrines these principles, they have not translated into social justice and economic justice for the people of South Africa. The reason for this is very simple. Those who were entrusted to implement these principles lost their way.
Corruption took root in the ruling party. It was ignored and allowed to fester. And by the time it erupted full blown into public view, the worst of the damage had already been done. Government was riddled with corruption. The results are there for everyone to see. Broken promises. Broken systems. Economic collapse, and crisis.
When we speak of international ratings agencies, foreign investment and debt to GDP, we are talking about things that directly affect you. What happens at macro level, affects every South African, because it translates into price hikes, job losses, closed doors, longer queues and fading hope.
When we hear about looting of State coffers and abuse of power, what we are really hearing is the word “no”. No, there is no money for free education. No, you won’t be getting an RDP house. No, there is no work for you. No, you cannot access funding. No, the door is closed; because someone else is lining their pocket at your expense, and they’re doing it from a position of power.
It is time then to change the power dynamic, and to topple from power those who abuse their positions. It is time to clean house at the highest levels, because this is our house. It doesn’t belong to politicians and cadres. It belongs to the people. If those whom we elected are abusing our mandate, they need to be removed.
Remember what Madiba said in 1993, “If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government”. Madiba himself told people, and I quote, “feel free to criticise us for the mistakes that we have committed.” He urged us to “be critical, to be alert, to be vigilant” because power has a tendency to corrupt.
Madiba knew what would happen if the ruling party lost its way, and he knew that it might happen. But years down the line when the leadership of the ruling party had shifted from Nelson Mandela to Jacob Zuma, we were no longer being warned against corruption. We were being sold a lie about a good story. “There is a good story to tell,” the President told us, when all along corruption was eating away at the heart of his party.
This is how we arrived at the Zondo Commission, at the looting of VBS Bank, at Bosasa, at the PIC, at the near collapse of the social grant system, at the near collapse of Eskom, at the chaos in our public broadcaster, and at books like “Gangster State”, “Licence to Loot”, “How to Steal a City” and “Enemy of the People”. These books are not fiction. They are exposés into the rot that has gripped our country.
We need to act. We need to take back our power and change the narrative. There is no evidence at all that the ruling party will self-correct. In the face of gross malfeasance and corruption, there has been no reaction. They just keep going; business as usual. So it is left to us to do what is needed. It is up to us to save South Africa.
If you have an ID and you’re registered to vote, you are an activist. You may not have marched through the streets in protest. You might not have volunteered to go door-to-door. In fact, you might have done nothing more political than complain about corrupt politicians. But if you are a voter, the power to topple a government is in your hands.
I urge you therefore to take very seriously the power that you have on May the 8th. Use it by going to vote, and use it wisely by voting for the IFP. It is not just about removing a failed leadership. It’s about getting the right leaders into government. We need to do more than register our discontent. We need to change the story.
Most of you know that I am a Christian. There is a passage in the Bible that I particularly love, from Hebrews chapter 11 verse 33. It reads, “Through acts of faith they toppled kingdoms, made justice work and gained what was promised.”
This to me is our mission. We as a nation need to do more than topple a leadership. We need to install a different leadership that will make justice work, and gain what has been promised. There is a leadership ready and able to do this. It is a leadership of integrity, a leadership with principles, a leadership you can trust.
For 44 years the IFP has served South Africa. We were part of the liberation struggle. But the IFP is more than a former liberation movement. We were with you, and with your parents, and with your grandparents, working to alleviate the daily hardships of life. Inkatha was here, in South Africa. We were in the trenches, struggling for freedom, while building – schools, houses, clinics and community centres.
Inkatha understood that burning things down was a short term approach. It registered our anger, but it didn’t build for the future. When we looked at South Africa, we saw more than injustice and oppression. We saw an inheritance. We saw the good that was worth protecting so that all South Africans could enjoy it.
This is why we stood against international sanctions being imposed on South Africa, and why I travelled the world persuading heads of state not to disinvest. Inkatha knew that sanctions and disinvestment would hurt the poorest the most, with job losses and a shrinking economy. Today the ruling party grasps this truth. It is the very reason they opposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. But at the time, the ANC called from exile for sanctions to be imposed here on our soil.
Inkatha sought to protect the economy, because we knew that this same economy would need to sustain the massive transformation from oppression to freedom. When we achieved democracy in 1994, the economy we inherited was expected to meet the needs of millions of people who had formerly been excluded and ignored. How were we to build millions of houses, educate millions of children and create millions of jobs, if the economy we inherited was weak?
This same vision for the future led Inkatha to reject the strategy of making South Africa ungovernable. We knew that if respect for the rule of law was deliberately removed from our society, it would be impossible to restore once democracy was achieved. Tragically, a whole generation was taught to abandon education and burn down schools. They were taught to terrorise communities, necklace opponents and take what they wanted by force.
We are living now with the legacy of that strategy. Criminality in South Africa is unbearable. The rule of law has been replaced with the rule of man, where criminals and gangsters flourish. It is not just in government that corruption thrives. Corruption seethes through our communities, with syndicates and organised crime. These things could have been predicted. In fact, they were predicted. Inkatha warned time and again that the future was being compromised.
But we were more than a warning voice. Inkatha acted to build the future. While schools burned across our country to the chant of “Liberation Now, Education Later”, Inkatha raised a banner. We said “Education For Liberation”. Across KwaZulu we built more schools. We ensured that learners were in the classroom, that quality was prioritised and teachers were motivated. We ensured that an entire generation was equipped and prepared for the future we would all inherit.
Today, many of South Africa’s administrators, lawyers, academics, business people, doctors and journalists can trace their education back to the schools of KwaZulu. When we achieved democracy, they were ready to transform our country through their skills and ethical leadership.
In fact, we had taught an extra subject in schools in KwaZulu. It was called Good Citizenship. It equipped us to become advocates of social justice, because we understood the system. It equipped us to use our power for good.
For 19 years, I administered the governance of KwaZulu with the same principles I laid at the heart of Inkatha. And in 19 years, never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled at my administration. Through Inkatha we ignited the principles of unity in diversity, equality, servant leadership, empowerment and shared responsibility.
That is our legacy, but it is also our character. The IFP still champions those same principles. We brought them with us into democracy, when we governed at national level though the Government of National Unity, and when we governed KwaZulu Natal for the first ten years of democracy.
In those ten years, KwaZulu Natal had three IFP Premiers, and many IFP MECs. And our legacy continued. Never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled at any of our premiers or any of our MECs.
That is the way it should be. But it’s a far cry from what South Africa endures today under the ruling party.
We need to restore that kind of integrity to the governance of KwaZulu Natal. Look at Pietermartizburg. In ten years of administration the ruling party has driven our capital city into the ground. Msunduzi owes a debt of 3 billion Rand. It is so close to collapsing that their own MEC has had to place the municipality under administration, again. It’s the second time this has happened. They didn’t learn the first time round. Sadly that too is a legacy.
No wonder the IFP was restored to local governance in so many municipalities in 2016. The local government elections saw the electorate calling the IFP back to the helm. You asked us to rescue local governance, and we did. Where the IFP is governing, justice has been restored. But there are many more municipalities continuing in crisis. We need to change the leadership there through by-elections and through the next local government election.
That, however, is a few years away. In just three days’ time, there is something powerful we can do to change things across KwaZulu Natal. We can restore the IFP to governance at provincial level. Through our votes on Wednesday we can elect a leadership we trust; a leadership that has earned our trust year upon year.
The IFP’s message for the coming election has been simple. Trust Us. You know what the IFP stands for. You know what we believe in. We have given you every reason to trust us with the future. We offer far more than crisis management. We offer a way to build that future we all dream about, so that the present crisis will never be visited on South Africa again.
It is time to dramatically change direction. There is no good reason to give your vote to people who have failed you, to people who abuse your trust, or play on your emotions. It’s time to vote honesty back into government.
Fifty six days ago, I stood in Chatsworth and launched the IFP’s manifesto for 2019. Today I am standing in Ulundi, reminding you of everything you have seen and heard during this campaign. You have seen the IFP’s leaders going door-to-door. You have heard us talk about solutions and possibility. You have seen posters and billboards saying “Trust Us”. You have received T-shirts and read pamphlets. You saw us when floods destroyed houses, when we took food and care packages to families.
You heard us speak truth to power, and never malign our opponents with slander. We didn’t tell you you are stupid for voting this way or that way. We didn’t blame South Africa’s problems on a racial minority. We didn’t make pie in the sky promises based on failed policies like socialism and communism. We didn’t foment violent protests to show anyone up. And we didn’t try to tell you that everything is great in a so-called new dawn.
The IFP was honest with you. Not just in this campaign, but for the past 44 years. Honest leadership has been at the heart of the IFP since we were born. We have earned your trust. As you partnered with the IFP, you experienced our principles in action. You built with us, you grew with us, and you brought hope to our nation hand in hand with the IFP. It is time to take our partnership further.
Let me remind you, one last time before the 8th of May, what the IFP offers. These are our commitments for the coming election. They are contained in our manifesto.
We are asking you to trust us to get the economy working. Trust us to be tough on crime. Trust us to promote responsible land reform. Trust us to fight gender-based violence. Trust us to fix the education system. Trust us to promote social cohesion. Trust us to improve the healthcare system. Trust us to protect the environment.
We have a detailed plan on how to get this country working. If you have not yet read the IFP’s manifesto, do it now! Get talking about our ideas. In the next two days, every home and every street corner and every campus should be abuzz with the IFP’s message of hope. It is up to you to raise a banner in our nation, telling those who have lost hope that South Africa can be saved.
In this final stretch before the election, the IFP is relying on you. We have done all we can. We leave it now to our foot soldiers, to the activists and patriots who will take our message further.
This election is going to be huge. You need to stay vigilant because we know that our opponents are not averse to manipulating the outcome. It has happened before, with all sorts of shenanigans like missing ballot papers, electoral fraud and intimidation. If you see anything that shouldn’t be happening, report it to an Electoral Officer. Tell our party agents. Go to the police. Make sure that someone listens.
Let me speak for a moment to our party agents. Thank you for volunteering. You are our eyes and ears at the voting stations. Your job is crucial to a free and fair election. So do what you have committed to do. Be on time. Stay on the job. Stay vigilant. We need to do everything in our power to protect the right of our people to be heard. This is our voice. It demands to be respected.
What more can I say? Only this – VOTE IFP!
I thank you.