Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
After many months of intense campaigning, it feels right to celebrate in Nkandla. There is a groundswell of positive energy in this place, as we prepare to challenge giants in the local government elections. We know the kind of competition we face. We know how desperate our opponents are to take Nkandla away from the IFP. But we also know the strength of the partnership between the IFP and Nkandla. It’s a partnership build on trust, and it won’t easily be shaken.
You have made your voices heard. After the 2011 municipal elections, the people of Nkandla were not satisfied with the kind of leadership you received. You were not content to see the values of the IFP silenced while Nkandla became just another notch on the belt of the ruling party. You had not asked them to take the helm at the municipality. They came in by forming a coalition with the NFP; the party that had campaigned on the promise on they were the best opposition to the ANC.
So this sudden coalition took over the municipality, and the IFP’s councillors had to fight hard to ensure that good governance didn’t suffer. We didn’t want to see politics take precedence over service delivery, because we have worked hard for 41 years to lay a foundation of good governance. We are not prepared to hand the reins to people who care more about power than service.
Clearly, you agreed. In the first by-election in Nkandla, just a year after the local government elections, you spoke through the ballot box and rejected the coalition. Your votes sent an unequivocal message that the IFP is needed, wanted and trusted, and you restored the IFP to the helm in Nkandla. Immediately, we picked up the ploughshare and continued working. The partnership between Nkandla and the IFP was strengthened, to the benefit of all.
It was a blow to the ruling party to lose Nkandla. Losing their President’s hometown to the IFP chaffed at their pride and they set their sights on taking back power. The campaign for 2016 has thus been fierce, not only here, but across South Africa. Because the ruling party has never been weaker or more divided, and its prospects of electoral success have never been worse.
Of course we know that a desperate animal fights the hardest, so we have not been complacent. The IFP has been vigilant in every by-election, and we will be vigilant on August 3rd, because we know that our opponents are not above using dirty tricks to manipulate the electoral outcome. I am not just slating the ANC for the sake of it. I am telling you what has happened in every election since 1994. There have consistently been incidents of electoral fraud, vote buying, abuse of state resources, brown envelope journalism, intimidation and violence. This campaign, in particular, has been characterised by violence within the ANC against their own councillors and councillor candidates.
So we need to be aware that this election is going to be tough. I urge you to be vigilant next Wednesday. When you go to your voting station, keep your eyes open for anything that seems amiss. If you see people voting who don’t live in your ward, report it. If you see posters being vandalised, tell our party agents. If you see people being intimidated, speak to the police. Don’t keep silent if you know that something is wrong. We need to protect the integrity of this election and ensure that it is free and fair, because only then will your voice be heard and respected.
There is, unfortunately, mounting evidence that the ANC no longer respects the voice of the people. Everywhere we look there are protests against an ANC-led government, because people are frustrated and angry at not being heard. People who have voted for the ANC for years are taking to the streets and burning tyres. They’re burning schools and factories. They’re protesting on university campuses and marching to the steps of Parliament. They’re shutting down cities, looting shops and destroying property. Why? Because they’ve been disrespected, ignored and forgotten.
These protests are not just about poor service delivery. Many have been about the ANC’s candidates’ lists for next Wednesday’s election, because communities have rejected the leaders foisted on them by the ruling party. The IFP does things differently. When we choose candidates for elections, we go to our branches. We ask our members who they trust, who listens and works to meet their needs. We get names of good leaders from our communities, and then choose the best candidate from among them.
Thus, when you vote for an IFP candidate, you are voting for people you already know and trust. You are voting for leaders who live by the IFP’s values of servant leadership, integrity and people first. We hold all our councillors accountable, every day, for the full five years of their service. We continually check that they are meeting your needs, that they are responsive, available and working hard. And we give them our full support, so that you get the benefit.
I am proud of our councillors. We hold them to a high standard, because we know that they are carrying the IFP brand. They are people who genuinely care for their communities, and who know how to bring good out of difficult situations. This is valuable, because the tough reality is that many people are struggling. South Africa’s economy is in decline and economic growth is at less than 1%. That means that no matter how much government may want to create jobs, it can’t be done. In this economic climate, jobs are being lost.
South Africa doesn’t need grand promises that give hope for today, but no change for tomorrow. The Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”. In other words, if there are promises and promises and promises, but nothing is ever delivered, people become disheartened, angry and bitter. I have always said that government must be honest with our people. South Africans are deeply patriotic. We would understand if government had the honesty to say, “Okay, we’re trying to create jobs, but it’s going to take five years, or ten years, before our economy is able to support job creation.”
Unfortunately, there’s great unwillingness to be honest with the people. The ANC’s propaganda machine was built during our liberation struggle. I know, because I was one of its favourite targets. As President Mandela admitted in 2002, (and I quote): “We used every ammunition to destroy him, but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor whom we cannot ignore.” One of the ANC’s greatest weapons was propaganda. But this became so ingrained in the identity of the ANC that to this day propaganda supersedes the truth.
So when our economy is failing, when unemployment escalates, when food costs rise, when poverty deepens, and when people are struggling from day to day, the ANC says, “We have a good story to tell.” And when R246 million is spent upgrading the President’s home here in Nkandla, the ANC says there is nothing wrong with that. It’s not a swimming pool, it’s a firepool. They performed an egg dance for two years, claiming that everything was above board. They ignored you and I when we asked for answers. But, in the end, they couldn’t avoid the ruling of the Constitutional Court. Now the President will have to pay back R7,8 million.
It’s difficult to come to Nkandla and not speak about the scandal of the President’s home. But this is just one example of how government resources are not being spent on the right things or the right people. Since 2011, Government has lost R4,48 billion to unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure. That is completely unacceptable. Where did that money go? Whose pockets are being lined at your expense? Until we put the right leaders into governance positions, the rot will continue.
I have taken note of what is being said by the Democratic Alliance. Their promises to the electorate are sounding very familiar. After their visit to KwaMashu last week, for instance, one resident said (and I quote), “The DA has promised me a house. I don’t know if they will deliver or if they are just saying that to win my vote. I don’t trust these politicians because they always make promises but when it’s time to deliver, nothing ever happens.”
This is the same message I heard again and again when I visited communities in the Western Cape last month. I sat in derelict shacks, listening to struggling families, as they told me about the treatment they receive from a DA government. There are grandmothers who have been on the housing waiting list for some 18 years. They gave their vote to the DA, as they were asked to do, but still they live in shacks, in dire poverty. There are communities with no electricity and no running water. There are communities where the children have been taught to run for cover when the gangs start shooting.
Yet the DA’s provincial leader here in KwaZulu Natal is telling people that the DA will deliver if you put them in government. He has boldly said (and I quote), “All we ask from them is that they… give us their vote for the next five years. And if we don’t deliver in five years, they can they can take their vote from us.” That’s a big ask. In a democracy, your vote is your power. They are asking you to give them your power from now until 2021. But they’re already looking at the possibility that they won’t deliver. If that happens, they say, you can vote for someone else in 2021.
That’s five years! Why must you wait five years for service delivery so that the DA can make inroads against the ANC? That’s why they really want your vote. This is about the balance of power. The DA’s national leader has spoken before about making South Africa a two party state, as though the multi-party democracy that we all fought for is no longer needed. The DA may be strong. But opposition parties outside the DA have 62 Members of Parliament, representing millions of South Africans. Just because you don’t want to vote ANC, doesn’t mean you’ll find your home in the DA.
Your voice matters. It’s valuable to the debate in our nation. No one should tell you that your voice doesn’t matter unless you vote for the DA. You have spoken in Nkandla through the ballot box. You have voted for the IFP. And we have delivered. We have done what we do best; what we have done for 41 years. We have served your needs, we have listened when you speak, and we have governed in partnership with you. That is the way the IFP does it.
There is a party you can trust. The IFP doesn’t make empty promises. We speak the truth. If something can’t be done, we’ll tell you, because there’s no point in governing through propaganda. You deserve better. Local governance is about bread and butter issues, like water, electricity, roads, houses, jobs, food security and your families’ safety. It’s about fixing the roof in your child’s classroom, and making sure that the clinic has the medication you need. It’s about protecting you when you walk home from getting your grant, and protecting your daughter as she goes to fetch water. It’s about empowering you with skills and helping you access opportunities, so that you can create your better future.
These are the important things about local government. These are the things the IFP is working to achieve. We are focussed on your needs. With the IFP at the helm, Nkandla is so much more than the centre of an ANC scandal. It’s the home of patriots and revolutionaries of goodwill. It’s a place where service delivery takes precedence over politics. It’s a place where citizens govern in partnership with their representatives and where local government really works.
This is your home. There is no one better suited to respect your voice, meet your needs and work for you, than the IFP. I therefore look forward to August 3rd when you will speak again through the ballot box. I look forward to seeing our partnership strengthened, so that our opponents will know that, in Nkandla, it’s not about politics, it’s about good governance.
Next Wednesday, when voting stations open, go and vote. Vote again for the IFP. This time around there will be no loopholes. We will keep Nkandla strong. Vote for leaders you can trust. Vote IFP!