Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Online Letter
Dear friends and fellow South Africans,
If anyone still needed proof that the ANC speaks empty words, ANC Provincial Secretary Sihle Zikalala has provided.
Today, in the Daily Sun, Mr Zikalala is quoted as saying, "It has become clear that residents (of Nqutu) are tired of being victims of the IFP's internal wrangles. They have begged the ANC to lead the ward and champion service delivery." But switch to the Daily Maverick, and you read Paul Berkowitz writing, "Not only did the ANC not wrest (Nqutu) from the IFP, the latter increased its share of the vote from 49% to a convincing 68%. The ANC's share fell to 27%..."
This is the outcome of yesterday's by-election in Ward 1 of Nqutu in KwaZulu Natal. Residents of Nqutu have had a year to judge the performance of the ANC/NFP coalition that took control of the municipality after the Local Government elections of 2011. Clearly they are not impressed.
Not only did the IFP win the by-election by a greatly increased margin; the IFP won at every single voting station. There is no mistaking the message the electorate was sending to the ANC, and it has nothing to do with begging them to lead.
The ANC has still not learned that after winning an election, you need to work. If you made promises before the election, you need to keep them. They were not expecting a by-election in Nqutu just one year into their term. But, with the death of a councillor, the electorate was asked again to speak through the ballot box.
This time they spoke louder, for the ANC seemed not to hear in 2011 when the electorate voted for an IFP led municipality. They did not elect the ANC. They did not elect the NFP. The IFP won Nqutu in 2011.
But with total disregard for the democratic will of the people, the ANC and NFP formed a coalition and took control of Nqutu anyway.
A year later, when their coalition was tested in a by-election, the ANC's Mr Zikalala claims the people of Nqutu are begging his party to lead them. This kind of condescension for the people they pretend to serve is a hallmark of the ruling Party. Clearly the ANC has forgotten who is the tail and who is the dog when it comes to democratic leadership.
The IFP thanks the community of Nqutu for supporting the IFP, again.
We take your mandate very seriously and will continue to serve every day of every year, whether it's an election year or not. The new coalition in Nqutu is a coalition between the IFP and the people.
We look forward to 2014 when the voters will speak again.
We also look forward to seeing more and more South Africans who have been undecided over politics, finding a home in the IFP. One of these will hopefully be The Times columnist, Mr Bruce Gorton, who this week penned his wish list for a political party and wondered whether any party matches up. I'm pleased to inform him, the IFP does.
Mr Gorton's first concern is Government's lack of administrative cohesion which creates contradiction in its policies. I voiced the same concern in Parliament recently during the Presidency Budget Vote debate, when I said, "South Africa has suffered policy schizophrenia, trying to pursue all policies in spite of them being at odds with one another. We cannot continue to run a country saying one thing and doing another."
The problem goes deeper though. As I told the Cape Town Club in March last year, "South Africa is crippled by the tensions between the ruling Party's stated and unstated policies."
The IFP agrees with Mr Gorton that the National Planning Commission is only one step in the right direction. The difficulty is the size of its task, as it is mandated to define a plan and a policy framework for the whole of the country, for all the Departments, for the next thirty years. To assist, the IFP has submitted 20,306 words of advice to the Commission on its National Development Plan.
Mr Gorton feels the central bank should do more than control inflation. Indeed, when I met with the Governor of the Reserve Bank in September 2010, I expressed the hope that broader debate on the role and function of a central bank within society would be promoted. I also raised the possibility of reforming South Africa's monetary system as a means of addressing rising national debt.
We agree with Mr Gorton that funds need to be pumped into the sciences. As the Minister of Home Affairs in the first ten years of democracy, I ensured that our migration policies could expedite the entry into South Africa of needed skills, tying this to the development of our own skills base.
When Mr Gorton speaks of food security, I get excited, because there are so few political leaders who emphasise this critical issue as I have for the past six decades.
The IFP also agrees that our emphasis needs to be on creating a strong economy, although not only to weave strong social safety nets, as Mr Gorton suggests. The IFP is deeply concerned about moving South Africa away from being a welfare state, to become a developmental state.
We agree that Government should create an environment in which morality and culture thrive. The IFP's resounding call for a revolution of goodwill echoes in what Mr Gorton is saying. It is not for Government to dictate what faith you adhere to, but to enable you to exercise your faith.
Having so much in common already, I invite Mr Gorton to explore the issue of traditional leadership a little deeper with the IFP. Contrary to what he believes, communities do elect leaders to Traditional Councils, which participate in municipal governance.
Mr Gorton is right though to highlight traditional leadership as a critical issue in South Africa. He could just be another IFP supporter in the making.
Yours in the service of the nation,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP