PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Tabhani Sports Field
Before I speak to you today about the coming elections, I want to thank you for the wonderful support that I and my family have received from so many people as we grieve the loss of my wife, Indlunkulu MaMzila.
Her passing has been incredibly difficult to accept, despite knowing that her long struggle with illness has finally ended. We have been overwhelmed by the messages of condolence, and by the prayers being offered in this time of loss. I have no words to thank people like you, who have extended kindness and sympathy to my family.
It is on the strength of this wonderful support, and certainly through prayer, that I am able to keep going, doing what I am called to do in the service of our nation. That is what I am doing today; because the future of our country hangs in the balance. The lives of millions will be affected by what leaders do in the next 4 weeks.
South Africa is just one month away from a national and provincial election. On May the 8th, the power to decide the future of our country will be placed in the hands of the people. An election is the most significant moment for democracy, because through the ballot box the people speak, giving instructions on what must happen in the next five years.
The stakes are therefore very high. Political parties want your vote, because with your vote comes the power to administer the resources of State. I am here today to tell it like it is. I want you to know what is coming, so that you can prepare, well in advance, to do what is best for our country, for our communities and for your family.
May the 8th will be a defining moment for South Africa. But before we even get there, the last by-elections need to be held. This coming Wednesday, a by-election will take place here in Ward 4 of Okhahlamba. Here in Bergville, voting stations will open at 7 o’clock and throughout that day you will have a chance to influence municipal governance.
I want you to understand that this by-election is just as important as the May 8th elections. Don’t think that you don’t need to vote on Wednesday, because you’re voting next month. Wednesday’s by-election can change things dramatically for Okhahlamba, because the balance of power in this municipality can be changed with just one seat.
Your vote on Wednesday will elect a new Councillor for this ward. And if you choose the IFP’s candidate, the IFP will once again have the numbers in Okhahlamba. We will take back control of this Municipality, placing it under an IFP leadership. That would be a big win for Bergville. It would change things completely.
So I have come here to express my support for the IFP’s candidate, Mr Mkhuzeni Hlongwane, and to tell you he is backed by a party you can trust. The IFP is ready to take back Okhahlamba, not because we are hungry for power, but because we want more for this community.
We want clean governance, honest leadership, transparency and participation. We want to bring the IFP’s strategy for youth empowerment, which is already working wherever we govern. We want to serve your needs and make sure that you are respected in every decision taken by Council. In essence, we want justice.
The IFP’s campaign for 2019 is focussed on securing social justice and economic justice for all South Africans. You may have heard about this from our Chairperson of the IFP Youth Brigade, the Honourable Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who has been going door to door together with our leadership to speak to you and to listen to you as we prepare for elections.
I hope you have taken an IFP manifesto and have read the commitments we have made to you, and to all South Africans. Our commitments are based on what needs to be done, and what we will do – not “one day, if” – but right now, through your support.
If you agree with what we are saying about the economy, about gender equality, about safety and security, about access to land, about education, social welfare and healthcare, about human settlements and a sustainable future; I invite you to partner with the IFP.
This is how the IFP is different. We believe in partnerships between the people and their elected representatives, so that you can tell us every day what is needed and how it should be done. The IFP doesn’t make promises once every five years and then disappear the day after elections. We work hand in hand with the people we serve, day in and day out.
When the IFP chooses candidates to serve as councillors, we look for people who are already respected in the community for the work they have already done. We look for evidence of good character, because we believe that a leader must be more than skilled and smart. They must also be honest, hard-working, available, committed and able to unify people around a common goal.
The IFP is careful about choosing leaders. So you can be sure that when you back an IFP leader, you are making a good decision. You are getting a known quantity, tried and tested, and ready to serve. Mr Mkhuzeni Hlongwane has the support of all our structures. We will make sure that his hands are strengthened as he works for you.
We understand how important it is that the right people are placed in positions of trust. It is a sad reality that many municipalities across our country are struggling to provide services and fulfil their responsibilities, simply because the wrong people were put into power.
When you hear about millions of Rands being wasted or lost due to mismanagement, tender fraud and irregular expenditure, it’s because the party at the helm didn’t protect you. They didn’t exercise caution over who would be given positions and power, treating these things as gifts and bribes. When leaders don’t earn their position, there is always the threat that they will abuse it.
The corruption and state capture we are hearing so much about didn’t come out of the blue. Some people tend to lay all of the blame at the door of former President Zuma. But corruption was present in the ruling party before his presidency, and it is clearly still there. The rot is being exposed; but the rot runs deep and it is still being allowed to grow.
We should have heard by now of senior leaders being expelled, prosecuted and put behind bars. But instead, there is a deafening silence. All we hear are more promises, and more slogans about growing South Africa, when South Africa is clearly in crisis. Eskom is failing. The fuel price is rising. Food is too costly. Unemployment is high, and growth has all but stagnated, creating the threat that the system of social grants may soon collapse.
There is a clear and present danger. Our country is under siege. But the enemy is not coming from outside, armed with guns and knives. The enemy is within, and its weapons are corruption, deceit, greed and denial.
We need to fight this in the opposite spirit. We need to come against corruption with truth, transparency and accountability. It is only when we place leaders we can trust in positions of trust that we will see the tide begin to turn.
So I ask you to evaluate the parties who are asking for your vote. Don’t just go with the one that’s the loudest or has the flashiest campaign. Listen. Ask questions. And consider the past; because the best indicator of whether a party will be honest, is whether they have lied to you before. Were you promised jobs and houses? Do you have jobs and houses? Were you promised opportunities, or land, or seed capital?
The IFP has engaged this campaign with the same slogan we used in 2016 for the Local Government Elections. It is a simple slogan, because the truth is usually simple and plain. We are saying “Trust Us”. Trust us with the future you want to build, because we are builders. Trust us with the harvest you hope to bring in, because we are sowers of good seed. Trust us to serve this community, because the IFP exists to serve.
We have given you every reason to trust us. We have earned your support. And we will keep doing what needs to be done to ensure that the partnership between the IFP and the people of Okhahlamba works for you. We value this partnership. It has been built over years of hard work and shared commitment. Now I ask you to strengthen this partnership.
Vote on Wednesday. Make this by-election count. Put your cross next to the IFP, because the power to change everything will be in your hands. Let’s create a reason to look forward to the future. And on the 8th of May, let’s take our partnership to new levels, restoring to South Africa a leadership you can trust.
I thank you.