Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
Lalalapha Hotel, Glencoe
Let me thank Mr Carelse and Mr Martman for their informative presentation giving us the lay of the land in Endumeni Municipality. More so, however, let me thank you, the business people of this community, for your insightful questions and your interest in seeing Dundee working efficiently.
I realise that it may have come as a surprise to some of you that the DA is somehow failing as dismally as the ANC to provide the kind of governance that you deserve. The DA places great emphasis on branding itself as efficient and clean. Juxtaposed against an ANC that has become almost synonymous with corruption and
incompetence, it is not hard to believe the DA brand. The problem is, that building a brand is not the same as building a track record.
When people begin to scratch the surface and look at the figures and ask the hard questions, a party with a solid track record emerges as something quite different to a party that looks good on billboards.
I constantly meet white South Africans who tell me, “I voted for you in 1994.” And I thank them, knowing that it is true. Mr Tony Leon even used to complain to me that members of the DA in KwaZulu Natal voted for the IFP, not just in 1994, but again in 1999. The reason, I am told, is that the IFP was seen as the better option in an
But I think there is more to it than that. Inkatha made an enormous investment in social cohesion prior to 1994. Through the Buthelezi Commission and then through the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba, we brought together all races with a common purpose of creating the most efficient governance for all. What emerged from the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba was South Africa’s first non-racial, non-discriminatory government, the KwaZulu Natal Joint Executive Authority.
People of all races in both KwaZulu and Natal were merged in the Joint Executive Authority. We had regional councils serving all our communities, regardless of race. We had moved away from segregation and apartheid, long before South Africa approached the negotiating table. And it was all legally done, and recognised by the regime. President Botha himself attended the inauguration of the KwaZulu Natal Joint Executive Authority.
So there was a level of social cohesion here that didn’t exist anywhere else. Inkatha led the way to an all-inclusive democratic South Africa. We embraced discussions with anyone who was willing to talk about political change, and we created vehicles through which minority groups could enter and return to negotiations, such as the Concerned South Africans Group and the Freedom Alliance. This is a history often forgotten.
Equally so, people tend to forget the fact that I never accepted nominal independence for KwaZulu. KwaZulu is spoken about as though it was just another Bantustan. But in truth I rejected Pretoria’s offer and kept KwaZulu within South Africa. Years later, when he appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, former President FW de Klerk admitted that it was my rejection of independence that derailed the grand scheme of apartheid and forced them to abandon their strategy.
I am grateful to people like the former Chairman of Anglo American, Mr Gavin Relly, who said, “I think history, if reasonably and objectively written, will endorse the fact that Buthelezi was the anvil on which apartheid ultimately faltered.”
But there were serious repercussions for taking the stand I did. As a form of punishment, the apartheid regime allocated to KwaZulu far less of the national budget than anywhere else. It was impossible to meet the needs of all our people on such a shoestring budget. The intention was for us to fail.
Instead, as Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Government, I began advocating self-help and self-reliance, which was the cornerstone philosophy of Inkatha. We raised funds from within our communities, with our administration matching anything the people raised, Rand for Rand. In this way, we managed to build some 6000 schools, and thousands of houses, clinics and roads.
KwaZulu was well run. But more than that, there was never a hint of corruption. Not once in the 19 years that I led KwaZulu was a single accusation of corruption ever levelled at my administration. Corruption is not par for the course in governance. It is an evil brought in by those who should never have been placed in positions of
In 1994, when many white South Africans, particularly in KwaZulu Natal, voted for the IFP, they did so because of this track record. Because the IFP was a known and trusted quantity. Because I had earned their respect as a leader of integrity. Because the IFP was a better option.
The question I have is this: what changed? What have I done to lose the confidence of white South Africans? What have I done to lose your vote?
My fear is that our country is again converging along racial lines. All that the IFP did to create a non-racial society before 1994 was respected, and we were rewarded with support. Yet now voters are returning to race-based politics and giving their support to parties who look like them and sound like them, regardless of whether that support has been earned or is well-deserved.
ANC supporters are disillusioned with their party, and many are angry at what the ANC has become under its present leaders. But still they vote ANC. Because the narrative that the ANC was the liberator is still entrenched.
In the same way, the narrative has become entrenched that corruption is inevitable under a black administration and thus the only way to get a clean government is to vote DA. So, regardless of the DA’s performance, white South Africans vote DA. Friends, Einstein said, “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.”
It is essential to the future wellbeing of South Africa that we break from race-based politics and refuse to converge along racial lines. I urge you to consider the track record of the IFP, and to consider all that you have heard today about Endumeni Municipality, and to make a calculated decision for the future.
There is hope of setting things right in this municipality. Fortunately, we now stand just 9 months away from a Local Government Election. In 2016, the decision will be placed in your hands as to who should administer this municipality. You have time now to consider that decision, and to encourage others to vote with their heads.
The IFP has never claimed to be a magician. We don’t give false hopes, as other parties do, thinking that once your vote is in the bag they won’t have to deliver or explain for another five years. No; the IFP tells is like it is. We work through partnerships with the people we serve, empowering them towards self-help and self-
Municipal governance is still the Cinderella of government, receiving little attention and far too little funding. But with the IFP, things move forward at a steady pace, with constant accountability and honesty about what is possible.
I understand why voters were lured to the ANC and even to the NFP at the last Local Government Election. So many promises were made, and when people face hardship, the person making the biggest and the best noise gets the attention. But Endumeni is not the only municipality that has seen a rapid decline since the IFP
In municipalities across KwaZulu Natal which were taken away from the IFP through the collusion of the NFP, there have been major failures in service delivery. In part, this comes down to a lack of political will to follow through on promises. But in large part it is also due to cadre deployment, mismanagement, and corruption.
I have been concerned about corruption in our country’s leadership for many years. During his presidency, Nelson Mandela spoke quite frankly about it, even to the media. In one interview, he said, “Little did we suspect that our own people, when they got a chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the
things that has really hurt us.”
It was, to be frank, short-sighted of the ANC not to have seen this coming. But I remember at Kempton Park, during negotiations towards a democratic settlement, how the ANC felt no need to include a Bill of Rights in our first Constitution. They were convinced that an ANC government could never trample on the rights of a
liberated people. They bought into their own propaganda of being an infallible champion of a righteous cause.
The cause was righteous. But the ANC was far from infallible. It was the IFP that insisted on the inclusion of a Bill of Rights. And thanks God we did. The IFP is constantly working to put checks and balances in place to ensure that those who lead, serve. We believe that political leadership is not about power, but about receiving a mandate to serve and staying accountable for delivering. That mission statement is evident in our track record.
Just before the 2014 elections, I visited Dundee, and many new members joined the IFP. There were even members of the ANC who joined us in large numbers. Yet somehow that failed to translate into support at the polls. I therefore want to impress upon you the simple fact that supporting a party, believing in its values, and
respecting its leaders, does not bring change. Change is effected through the ballot box.
I appreciate your interest in the IFP and I appreciate your support. I value the partnership that can be strengthened between the IFP and leaders in business in this community. But I urge you to express your support through the ballot box, for unless the IFP is strengthened in Dundee, we will have an uphill battle to turn things around in this municipality.
The IFP will keep working for you. But when we work in partnership, success is inevitable.
I thank you.