PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Chairperson of the IFP Executive in the Western Cape, Mr Raymond Mtati; our Western Cape Organiser, Ms Noziswe Dase; the IFP’s Treasurer General, the Honourable Mr Narend Singh MP; the National Chairperson of the IFP Youth Brigade, the Honourable Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP; the Honourable Ms Liezl van der Merwe MP and her team from Parliament; Members of the Western Cape Executive; Prince Ngubenkosi Kote; Chief Bestman Uzobuife; Mr Archworth Mzikayise Mabandlela; Ms Margaret Noncedo; Councillor candidates; volunteers and friends.
This morning, as you were boarding busses to come to this event, ANC supporters in Driftsands and Green Park acted in a most undemocratic fashion. Our Chairperson, Mr Mtati, has reported that they intimidated our people, preventing them from boarding the busses we had sent. Thus 120 people who wanted to be with us today were kept away by the ANC. This kind of behaviour goes against the Code of Conduct we all signed at the IEC. It must be investigated and stopped.
I thank God that no one was hurt. But make no mistake, damage was done to our democracy. I ask you who are here to take copies of our manifesto and copies of my speech, which will be available as you leave in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, and distribute these as widely as possible. No one will keep us from spreading the message of hope.
It is always good to be with the people of Cape Town. There is a spirit of goodwill here that is quite unique and it never fails to encourage me. No matter what kind of hardship you face, there is always an enduring sense of hope. You are my kind of people. Because I too will never give up.
There is a scripture in Matthew chapter 12 that says, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out, till He has brought justice through to victory.” I think of that verse often, for there is so much hardship in our country and our people endure so much. I must remind myself that we have already overcome a giant, in the form of apartheid. That makes us giant-slayers. If we could do that, then surely we can slay the giants of poverty, criminality and corruption.
Surely we can get our children off the streets and equip them with skills to build their future. Surely we can see the elderly living is dignity and safety, in homes of their own. Surely we can build clinics and hospitals where they are needed so that no one need travel long distances when they are ill. These things are possible. But to achieve them, a partnership must exist between the people and their representatives in Government.
Good governance is based on participation and inclusivity. That is what democracy is all about. This is fundamentally important at municipal level, for this is the level of government closest to the people. It is here, at local government level, that your voice is heard and your needs are met. It is therefore essential that the right people serve as councillors and that a partnership of trust is maintained.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case in the Western Cape, or anywhere else in South Africa. In Blue Downs, for instance, in ward 14, many community members don’t even know who their councillor is and they have no access to the person who should represent their voice in governance. Then there are wards where you know your councillor’s name, but you never see them. In other places, your councillor visits from time to time and makes promises, but you don’t see anything change.
This is not the way it should be. Let me tell how the IFP operates, for we have 41 years of experience in governance, at national, provincial and municipal level. We administered the former KwaZulu Government for 19 years. In all that time, never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled against my administration. That speaks volumes. I doubt the present government could claim 19 days without an allegation of corruption surfacing somewhere. Our newspapers are full of scandals about tender fraud, mismanagement of public funds, and abuse of power.
You may know the saying that when the fish rots, it rots from the head. Well that is the case with the present leaders of our country. The President himself walks under a cloud of allegations. I have seen one survey in which 50% of ANC supporters admit that they distrust the President. They distrust their own party’s leader! South Africa has never been at such a low ebb of trust. We are at our lowest point since the start of democracy.
Weak leadership at the top has opened the door to corrupt and self-serving officials at every level. Because of this, when the Auditor General reports on municipal governance, there are endless red flags over financial mismanagement, supply chain irregularities, wasteful expenditure and even unspent funds that were earmarked for specific development projects.
Municipalities are just not running as they should. Something needs to be done to get them working, so that they fulfil their constitutional mandate and actually meet your needs. Fortunately, you and I are in control of making that change. We are not helpless victims of a corrupt system, at the mercy of weak leadership. We are, in fact, the most powerful players in this system, because democracy places the power in the hands of voters.
At every election, those who vote have the power to hire and fire. Your councillor’s job depends on your satisfaction. If they haven’t worked and earned your trust, they have no right to expect your vote. When you go to your voting station on the 3rd of August, you have every right to place your cross wherever you place your trust. It’s not about choosing between the ANC or the DA. This is not a two horse race.
I often hear people feeling very despondent, because they voted to keep a specific party out of power, rather than to empower a party they trust. Many people feel trapped between a rock and a hard place, as though there is no alternative to voting for one or the other of the two major players. But there is deep dissatisfaction with both these parties, so voting brings no sense of hope.
That is not democracy! Democracy is not about power for the loudest voice. It’s about empowering the party you trust, so that your own voice can become louder. Democracy can only work when the electorate and their representatives are working together in a partnership of trust. The IFP knows this, which is why we are very careful about the people we choose to stand as councillors. They are ambassadors for the IFP; people whom we will hold accountable to ensure that they are living the IFP brand of integrity and service.
I know that the IFP has some long-standing supporters within the communities of Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein and Strand. We have walked a journey with some very good people from many communities in the Western Cape. But historical voting patterns in this province have kept the IFP on the periphery. The thing is, if you want change, you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over. If you want a different kind of leadership in your community, you need to break out of the old mould and create new patterns of voting.
I am encouraged by the level of activity in the Western Cape towards bringing in a new leadership, a leadership of the IFP. I must applaud Mr Kenny Blorie, for instance, who has started a branch of the IFP in Blue Downs. From this branch, a candidate was chosen to stand for election as your councillor. I want to introduce that candidate, Mr Cebisile Khumsha, so that you know who to talk to about the problems in your community.
Your voice needs to be heard in your municipal council, because the longer you go without basic infrastructure, like street lights, the longer crime will have a hold over your neighbourhood. I know that you have been asking for many months for bush to be cleared in Blue Downs, because it is a convenient hiding place for criminals. This is a simple request, and it can have a major impact on lowering the levels of crime, making your streets safer for you and your children. So why has the municipality not responded?
You deserve to have your voice respected. In a partnership of trust, the kind of partnership the IFP builds with the people we serve, solutions are designed together with the community and implemented together with the community. It is immoral for public representatives to ignore the people who put them in power.
I can’t see why ward 114, in Green Park, should have to wait until after elections to receive electricity. Governance is about service. I am always appalled when leaders tell people, “Vote for my party, and then we’ll do X, Y and Z”. Do it now! Earn my vote! South Africa has had enough of empty promises. We need a leadership we can trust.
I think one of the deepest problems of broken trust is in the provision of RDP houses. How many of you are on a waiting list for an RDP house? How many have been on the list for more than ten years? I know that our candidate Mrs Michelle Klaasen, who is our Secretary for the Western Cape, has been on the list for 18 years. That’s not okay! You can’t be on a waiting list for years and still not have any idea when a house might be allocated. There is a lack of transparency in this process that has created deep distrust between government and our people.
We cannot have elderly people living in a bedroom, upstairs, struggling up and down, and not knowing how long they will live in this condition. Will it be months? Will it be years? South Africans are incredibly patient. We will endure hardship without complaint, for as long as we know how long that hardship will last. We can stick it out for a year, if we know that at the end of that year a promise will be fulfilled. But this habit of keeping people in the dark is a despicable habit of government, and it leads inevitably to social upheaval.
Thus we see rising protests all over South Africa. The problem is that there are political opportunists who are capitalising on people’s frustration and driving a wave of anger. Let me be frank. Flinging faeces at statues is not going to get our children off Tik. Burning artworks and busses is not going to get anyone an income. We are fighting for bread and butter issues. We need to fight right. I have witnessed first-hand what happens when a generation tears down their country in the name of a cause. What is the point of reducing everything to ashes? When the victory comes, ashes will be our inheritance.
Because of this, the IFP has always stood on the side of peaceful resistance, negotiations and education. When some liberation movements called on young people to burn down their schools and abandon their classrooms, Inkatha urged them to stay in school and pursue education. We know that education is one of the most powerful tools to create change. Education gives you leverage to overcome obstacles and build the future. Thus our schools must be safe places of learning, not places where children get caught in the crossfire of gangs.
One of the cornerstones of the IFP is the policy of self-help and self-reliance. We believe in empowering people with the skills they needs to change their own circumstances. When Inkatha built houses and clinics and classrooms, under the harshest conditions of apartheid, we did so hand in hand with communities. We created a partnership between government and the people we served, empowering them to be part of the solution to their own challenges.
This is what we want to see duplicated in the Western Cape. We believe that when plans are announced to build thousands of RDP houses, a programme should already be in place to train members of the community to participate in construction. There should be learnerships, providing skills to young people so that they can benefit from the RDP project. This is an opportunity to create jobs and community participation, and to equip people with skills they can use long after the project is completed.
But that is not happening in your municipalities. Instead, development plans are announced out the blue, and when they don’t materialise, no one explains why the plan has changed. The communities of Manenberg and Gugulethu deserved more respect when government decided to shut down GF Jooste Hospital. The building stands vacant, a victim of vandals, while the sick must travel to Hanover Park to get medical attention. It’s illogical to shut down a facility that is used and needed by the community, and offer no alternative.
When facilities that are used by the youth and the community are closed down, as happened in ward 45, a gap is opened that benefits no one except gangsters and ‘skollies’. When young people have nowhere to go and nothing to do after school, it is easy to fall in with the wrong crowd, or become a victim of crime. Our children need safe spaces for recreation, where they can develop positive friendships. Government does carry a responsibility to keep our children away from alcohol and drug abuse, and they must do so in partnership with families. This is a battle we must fight together, or lose.
The IFP is used to fighting. We have been fighting for the rights and interests of South Africans for 41 years, and we have won many victories. Right now, your IFP Member of Parliament, Ms Liezl van der Merwe, is fighting to stop illegal deductions from SASSA grants. She has taken this up directly with the Minister of Social Development. It is one of many battles we are waging on your behalf. So whether your water bill is wrong, or your local clinic has run out of medication, the IFP is ready to take up your cause.
Today, all of our councillor candidates will take a pledge to be honest, available and accountable, so that you will know exactly what we are committing to. The IFP wants to grow our partnership with you, and make your voice stronger in the municipalities of the Western Cape.
We are a leadership you can trust, with a track record of good governance. So I invite you to change the way things are done in your community. Vote for the IFP on the 3rd of August, and trust us to deliver.
I thank you.