Launch of the IFP's National Election Manifesto
For the 2021 Local Government Elections
Message of Support
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Greyville Racecourse, Durban: 30 September 2021
The Directors of Programmes; the Hon Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL, President of the IFP; Members of the Royal Family present; the Hon Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi MP, Deputy President of the IFP; Amakhosi present; our Secretary-General, the Hon Siphosethu Ngcobo MP; our National Chairperson, the Hon Mr Blessed Gwala MPL; the Deputy National Chairperson, the Hon. Mrs Thembeni kaMadlopha-Mthethwa MPL; our Treasurer-General, the Hon Mr Narend Singh MP; the National Chairperson of the Women’s Brigade, Princess Phumzile Buthelezi MPL; the Hon. Deputy Secretary-General, His Worship Mr Mangaqa Mncwango; the Deputy Chairperson of the Youth Brigade, Mr Sanele Zondo; the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Chairperson, His Worship Mr Thamsanqa Ntuli; their Worship the Mayors present, and Councillors; the Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, the Hon Mr Bonginkosi Dlamini MPL; Mr Lufuno Mphapuli, and our comrades from other Provinces; distinguished guests; Councillor Candidates; supporters of the IFP and citizens of our beloved country.
I am tremendously proud to be standing at this podium, knowing that the Party I founded 46 years ago, is providing ethical leadership, in one of South Africa’s darkest moments. As I listened to the leaders of our Women’s Brigade, and our Youth Brigade, and as I listened to our Party’s President, I heard the strong voice of reason, and integrity, that has always been the voice of the IFP.
I recognise this voice, and I know that you do too. When we say that the IFP is the party you can trust, we say it with confidence, because the IFP is unwavering in its principles. From our very foundations we have built a legacy of servant leadership, accountability, and governance, through partnerships. And today that is exactly what we stand for. So when you choose the IFP, you know what you are getting. You know that you can trust us.
I am proud that the IFP today is still doing what we have always done. We are serving, building, providing and working. In the midst of our nation’s crisis, the IFP is a lighthouse, guiding South Africans to safety.
We have done this before. When our country was oppressed under the weight of apartheid, and our people were suffering the dual indignity of discrimination and poverty, Inkatha led the way to self-help and self-reliance. We brought investment to KwaZulu, developed infrastructure and built more than 6 000 classrooms. We equipped the next generation to become the administrators of a liberated South Africa. We established food security and provided seed capital to entrepreneurs and emerging farmers.
These things were unheard of in apartheid South Africa. Most importantly, there was never a whiff of corruption. I governed KwaZulu for 18 years and never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled at my administration. We have always governed with integrity.
If anyone questions what I am saying, let them tell the people whether any IFP Minister was ever accused of corruption when we served in the Cabinet of His Excellency President Nelson Mandela, or in the Cabinet of His Excellency President Thabo Mbeki. Let them tell people whether, when the IFP ran KwaZulu-Natal for 10 years after 1994, there was any Premier or MEC that was ever fingered for corruption. Let them tell the people whether, since 1994, there has been a single IFP Mayor who has been charged with corruption.
No; because the IFP leads with integrity.
Under apartheid, Inkatha was fighting for political freedom with one hand, while with the other we were building the country we would inherit. That was the way of Inkatha. It distinguished us from every other liberation movement.
When Mr Oliver Tambo called on South Africans to engulf the country in the fire and thunder of a people’s war, Inkatha said no. We refused to allow Inkatha’s structures to be used to channel weapons and guerrilla soldiers into our country. We could not be part of unleashing chaos, bloodshed, and terror upon South Africa.
Let it never be forgotten by this generation that the ANC’s people’s war, which was meant to make South Africa ungovernable, ended up claiming 20 000 black lives. It became a political war of black-on-black violence, as they struggled to secure absolute power along with freedom.
This was tragic because when the Chairperson of the Frontline States, His Excellency Dr Kenneth Kaunda, suggested that I should found Inkatha, that was first endorsed by the leader of our movement, Mr Oliver Tambo, the leader of the ANC’s mission-in-exile.
But suddenly Inkatha was seen as a threat to the ANC. We were the strongest liberation movement on South African soil; stronger than the ANC had been at the height of their popularity. They knew that if liberation was achieved, Inkatha may very well have been the people’s choice to govern.
It is this that caused the ANC to turn against us when we were part of the movement, and to begin painting Inkatha as the enemy. For a full decade, we attended funeral after funeral of innocent people who had been slain for the sake of this people’s war.
I want this generation to understand that what we witnessed in KwaZulu-Natal two months ago was not a bolt from the blue. The civil uprising that brought chaos to our streets and devastation to our economy was born of a deliberate strategy of putting politics before every other consideration, even the lives of South Africans. South Africa was dragged into their internal political war, and we all became collateral damage.
It pains me to know that the very people who fought for freedom are the people who brought South Africa to its knees.
For the sake of securing political power, they turned our freedom struggle into a political battle marked by violence, in which innocent lives were lost. Now, for the sake of maintaining factional political power, a violent battle has been unleashed again. And again lives have been lost. Supply chains have been damaged. Businesses have been ruined and livelihoods destroyed. Our economy has taken a hit, that runs into Billions when already we were deep in crisis.
I cannot fathom a party that destroys its own country for the sake of internal factional politics. Our country is governed by a party that puts itself first, far ahead of the people it is meant to serve, far ahead of our needs, and even our survival. Indeed South Africa cannot survive a leadership like this. If we, the people, do not act now, the governing party will utterly destroy what little is left.
When President Ramaphosa declared that under his predecessor South Africa had endured nine wasted years, we had hope that things would now change. But two years later our country is more deeply mired in corruption, than ever before. Even the Covid-19 pandemic has given them opportunities to steal from our people, with billions going missing in Covid relief funds, and PPE tender fraud. And no one is held accountable.
For how long will we allow South Africa to walk down this path of destruction, before we act?
The time has come. On the 1st of November every South African who is registered to vote needs to get to a voting station. We need, more loudly than ever before, to declare that South Africa will not be destroyed. We will not allow, on our watch, for this country to be used and abused and utterly ravaged by those who have put their own interests first. It is time for a leadership that actually serves; a leadership of integrity.
Throughout that painful chapter, as looting and destruction swept across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, I was deeply encouraged to see the response of citizens who stood up and said no. While our TV screens were full of scenes of chaos, with hundreds of people running riot, millions more were standing hand in hand in communities across KwaZulu-Natal. South Africans of all races were standing together to restore calm and the rule of law.
I witnessed this myself as I went late at night to thank community members who were standing watch and working with local law enforcement. In the cold of mid-winter, throughout the night, our people were protecting their families and homes. Not from a foreign invader, but from the chaos unleashed by the ruling Party for the sake of an internal political war.
I will not accept this fate for my country. How much more must my people suffer under a leadership that has betrayed their trust? It is painful for me to say these things, for I was raised in the ANC. I joined the Youth League at the University of Fort Hare and I embraced the mandate of Mr Oliver Tambo and Inkosi Albert Luthuli when they instructed me to lead KwaZulu. They asked me to undermine the apartheid system from within, and that is exactly what I did.
From the moment we launched the National Cultural Liberation Movement – Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe – Kgare Ya Tokoloho Ya Sechaba, on the 21st of March 1975, we declared that it was structured on the ideals of the African National Congress as propounded on the 8th of January 1912 by the founding fathers of this oldest movement in Africa. We were continuing to serve and cooperated with Mr Oliver Tambo, the leader of the ANC’s mission-in-exile, up until our conference in London in October 1979.
With tremendous sadness, I watched my political home change as they abandoned the founding principles of our struggle, laid in 1912 by the founding fathers of our movement. They betrayed those founding principles when they embraced a strategy of violence. When they unleashed a people’s war, they stepped onto a new trajectory that has systematically changed the ANC entirely. What it is today, is not what it was when we sought liberation.
We started to be taken aback when slogans such as “making the country and townships ungovernable” emerged. And when slogans such as “Liberation now, Education Later” emerged from our movement. We are now reaping the results of that seed which was sown then by our own movement. We tried to caution that these things would haunt us, even when we ourselves were in charge of the country.
It is my duty as a patriot to raise the alarm, regardless of how painful it may be. Regardless of how I will be attacked and maligned by those factions in the ruling Party that would see me destroyed, I cannot abdicate the responsibility of speaking up for my country. I have seen the millions; the people who stand for peace, for justice, for fairness. I have walked with them for more than seven decades. I will not leave these people to suffer. They deserve so much more.
South Africa deserves a leadership that puts the interests of South Africa first. We do not need to wait for 2024. We are not stuck with the present government until national elections roll round again. We can make major changes in 2021. By voting in the municipal elections and empowering a leadership of integrity, we can set the stage for completely changing our country’s future.
When you vote IFP on November 1st, you are putting representatives in place who will prioritise service. By strengthening the IFP at local level, you are securing good governance within communities. Local Government is not an afterthought in the governance of our country. It is in fact the foundational level of democracy, where the people and their elected representatives work face to face and hand in hand to meet the basic needs of families.
This is why it is vitally important that you choose your representatives carefully, and equally important that you choose them yourself. If you do not vote on November 1st, you will be giving away your right to participate. You will be letting someone else decide who should lead you.
When your community needs a road to be built, or when water tankers are needed to prevent the loss of crops, or when your child’s school begins to fall apart; it is not the Minister you will call. Trust me, you won’t get through anyway. No, your call will go to your Councillor, because they are the ones who represent your voice at the most fundamental level of governance.
So you want to be sure that your Councillor is someone you know and someone you trust. Someone who will take your call and will prioritise your needs. Who will take up your cause in the Municipal Council and find a solution. Who will give you feedback and keep working until the problem is fixed. Not every Councillor does that. But Councillors who are backed by the IFP, are Councillors you can rely on.
The IFP prides itself on fielding Councillor candidates who are honest, capable and skilled. People who understand and accept the discipline demanded by the IFP. We hold our Councillors accountable every day, because they are our ambassadors. They carry the IFP’s brand in all that they do. We are therefore heavily invested in ensuring that they serve you with integrity, accountability and skill. We never hesitate as the leadership of the IFP to remove and expel any IFP Councillors and even Mayors if we are not satisfied with their performance.
As much as we demand high standards from our Councillors, the IFP also supports our Councillors. They are backed by the full strength of the IFP so that when they take up your cause, you have the weight of the IFP behind you. It is this that has always made the IFP feel like a family. We understand that no one is going to get ahead at the expense of someone else. If you suffer, so do I. If your family suffers, so does mine. We are in this together.
With each Local Government Election, the IFP requires of our councillor candidates to take a public pledge of commitment to good governance. I am pleased that the President read you this pledge today, so that you will know what makes our Councillors unique. In the next five years, you can hold them to it. Because believe me, so will the IFP.
I am proud of the team before us today. The leadership elected by the IFP, when I stepped down as President of this Party in 2019, has proven itself more than capable. I have been honoured to provide my advice and guidance, knowing that they are taking our legacy forward and are as committed to the good of South Africa as I myself have always been. I am grateful that the IFP continues to build on its strong foundations.
As you read the manifesto of the IFP for the 2021 elections, and as you consider our track record of service excellence, I invite you to make the right decision for you, for your family and for our country. Decide to strengthen the Party you can trust. Decide to vote IFP.
We are taking our legacy into the future, and we are doing it hand in hand with you.