AHEAD OF A BY-ELECTION ON 29 NOVEMBER 2017
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
For 23 years, South Africa has enjoyed the benefits of democracy. We have voted in 5 national elections to choose the leadership of our country. We have voted in 5 provincial elections, which provide the opportunity to create healthy competition between our provinces. At municipal level, we have been to the ballot box 4 times, choosing our local government representatives. And between all these elections, we have voted in countless by-elections across South Africa. It is these by-elections that have really changed the game.
A by-election is a unique opportunity to change the way things are done midstream. Even if a party was elected to serve for five years, through a Local Government Election, they can still be removed and replaced before five years have passed. But the only way to do that is through a by-election. By-elections offer us the chance to make course corrections, to fix things that are going wrong, and to put our municipality back on the right track.
It’s a chance to judge the leadership we have, and to compare it to the leadership we need if our communities are to thrive. Because by-elections are such important game changers, I wanted to come here in person to speak to you about Umlalazi and the by-election that is coming.
On Wednesday morning, at 7 o’clock, voting stations will open in ward 10, and you will have the chance to make a big change in Umlalazi. Within this ward there are 4 659 registered voters. That means more than four and a half thousand people are fully entitled to visit a voting station on Wednesday. I want to encourage you to be among them.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a by-election doesn’t matter or that it can’t have any impact. This by-election can change everything for ward 10. It can change things for your family, for your community and your municipality.
Within the King Cetshwayo District, there is strong competition between the IFP and ANC. The President of the ANC resides in this District, in Nkandla. But the people of Nkandla have not chosen his party to lead. They have considered the kind of leadership offered by the ANC. They have listened to the endless reports of corruption and have heard about one scandal after the next. They have judged the integrity of today’s ANC. And based on the facts, they have rejected its leadership.
The IFP stands on the opposite end of the scale. Where the ANC is corrupt, the IFP is honest. Where they fail their mandate, the IFP excels. Where they abuse power, the IFP serves with utmost integrity. It is thus no surprise that the people of Nkandla placed their trust in the IFP.
They chose a leadership they have confidence in; a leadership that has been tried and tested, and has proven to be good. They remembered the track record of the IFP and they recognised our consistency. The IFP that they trusted 40 years ago, is the party they still can trust today.
When the IFP won Nkandla in 2016, the media made a big deal out of it, as though we had overturned an ANC government. But in reality the IFP governed Nkandla even before 2016. The people chose our leadership through by-elections. And when they had the chance to vote again, they again chose the IFP, because voting IFP is a good decision.
But we don’t only lead in Nkandla. The people of Mthonjaneni also asked the IFP to lead. Thus we run two of the municipalities in this District. That puts the IFP in a position of influence where we are able to hold the ANC accountable for the kind of service they provide. We work within the municipal councils to keep your needs at the top of the agenda, because the IFP puts people first. Wherever we govern, we do so with excellence. And wherever we have councillors, we work to ensure that governance is made stronger and better.
Here in Umlalazi, the IFP has councillors. We know this community because the IFP has worked with Umlalazi for many years. Together we have strengthened and grown Umlalazi, building together and working together to create better circumstances for every family. Because of this, you know the IFP.
You have seen our leadership and are able to judge the kind of governance we provide. When the IFP was at the helm, Umlalazi received clean audit reports. The resources of government were honestly administered and every cent was used to benefit the people.
When the IFP was at the helm you didn’t hear about tender fraud and about jobs being reserved for pals. You didn’t have to wonder what your municipality was doing, because we regularly reported to the community and sought your input.
The IFP understands that governance is about the people leading, and the leaders serving. We know that no one is better equipped to design solutions then the people who face the problem. So we involve communities in decision making, shaping polices around the needs and wisdom of the people.
You know these things about the IFP. You know that you can trust the IFP to deliver good, clean and honest governance. It therefore makes sense to strengthen the IFP’s influence in Umlalazi’s municipal council. The stronger the IFP becomes in Umlalazi, the more you will see local governance meet your needs, respect your input and honour your voice.
By voting IFP in the coming by-election you will bring balance to the municipal council. Instead of being at the mercy of a dominant party that can do whatever it pleases, your voice will have the power to hold them accountable, to question their policies and to demand that they deliver. Your voice will be carried into the council by the IFP; the party you can trust.
I therefore invite you to change the game in Umlalazi. When voting stations open on Wednesday morning, come and make your mark for the IFP. It’s a simple but very effective way of making your public representatives listen. It’s a way of saying, “The people govern, and the people will be heard.”
There will be five voting stations open on Wednesday. You can cast your vote at Gawozi Junior Secondary School, at Esiqwaqweni Combined Primary School, at Nkume Primary School, at Mpungose Community Hall, or at the Baptist Church. These voting stations will be open until 9 o’clock at night to make sure you get a chance to vote. Don’t miss this opportunity. It’s a one-day-only chance to change local governance in Umlalazi.
This will affect every aspect of your life, from the state of roads and transport, to maintenance at your child’s school, to risk management, availability of water and electricity, and the development of local businesses. It will determine the effectiveness of policing in your community, and how long you need to wait before someone responds to your needs.
Your councillor is your first point of contact with the people who administer resources and service delivery. It matters that you get the right councillor, backed by the right party.
This is your right in a democracy. No one else has the authority to decide who should represent you. It is, in fact, a criminal offence for anyone to vote in a by-election when they don’t reside in the by-election ward. Your right to choose your own councillor is protected by law.
This is necessary, because electoral fraud is a real problem. In countless by-elections there has been evidence of people being bussed in from outside a ward, to swing the vote in favour of a certain party. They don’t have a right to vote in your ward, and their vote manipulates the outcome, trampling your voice and mocking democracy.
Can you please be vigilant? It is no secret that the ANC in a number of instances busses people from other parts of the country to vote in a by-election in order to ensure that they achieve a fraudulent victory. However our members in one place where this thing happened were able to identify strangers from outside, who were transported to vote for the ANC at Jozini. Because of the vigilance of our IFP members in Jozini, the ANC was revealed as having been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. That election had to be repeated. Please do not sleep. Let experienced senior leaders volunteer to be our Party Agents during the by-election on Wednesday.
It’s important that I warn you about this trend, because I don’t want it happening here. I urge you to be vigilant on Wednesday and watch who is voting. If you see someone voting who doesn’t live in ward 10, speak to an IFP party agent, or to the electoral officer, or even to the Police. Report anything suspicious. If someone tries to bribe you or intimidate you to vote a certain way, report it. The only way this election will be free and fair is if we, the people, stay vigilant.
Wednesday’s by-election is a great opportunity for Umlalazi. This is your chance to change the way things are done, so that your voice becomes louder in local governance. The IFP is ready and willing to take up your cause. We are already working for Umlalazi in the municipal council. Let us work for you here in ward 10 so that you become stronger. I invite you to partner with the party you trust.
Finally, before I sit down, I want to speak briefly on what is destroying our parties today. The camps and factions in our Party are destroying even our oldest movement, the ANC. We will be deceiving ourselves if we do not acknowledge that we have the same problem of camps even in our Party, the IFP. Here in Mlalazi there has been this problem for years now. We as the leadership of the Party have addressed this problem, without success.
Umlalazi has been an example to the whole country as far as practical example of social cohesion. The colonists and later the architects of apartheid were successful in dividing the people of South Africa along racial lines. Here at Umlalazi we have had a good example for the whole country with a white South African Mr Stan Larkan being so active in a Party led by a black South African, and doing so with pride, without any iota of shame. There are other white South Africans in Mlalazi who have always voted for me and the IFP. But I am singling out Mr Stan Larkan as the most active and dedicated member of this Party. I wish to appeal that those of our members who still long for us to live again in another apartheid era, better note what I am saying. I do not say that Mr Larkan is perfect as none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. But if he makes a mistake like the rest of us, please stop throwing racial insults and slurs like referring to him as “ibhunu” etc. We fought for this country to get rid of racism, and I am pained to watch that there are some amongst our members in Umlalazi who wish to discriminate against Mr Larkan. One of the reasons why I apologised when I was invited with other leaders to participate in a National Prayer Day in Johannesburg was that I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to come and address this issue as openly as I do. And also to appeal in general for unity we want to have in the IFP, and for the end of camps. Most camps are comprised of black people. But to create a camp between us and people of other races is quite despicable, and should be fought with all the powers we can master. We should fight it by tooth and nail.
I appeal and it is not the first time to Comrade Mpendulo Xulu to please listen and digest my message today. I hope that Comrade Larkan will also listen and digest my message. It comes from the depths of my heart, for I have fought against racism all my life and I will therefore die a very injured person if I leave you with these vestiges of racism rearing their ugly heads in my very Party.
In the coming by-election, make you vote count. Make it a vote for the IFP.
I thank you.