Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of The Inkatha Freedom Party
Chatsworth: 10 March 2019
There is a moment in South Africa that comes once every five years. It is the moment when people from across our nation become absolutely equal. The wealthy and the poor, the young and the old, the rural and the urban; we all get the same chance to cast our vote, and every vote carries equal weight. This is democracy in its purest form, and it happens on election day.
In our young democracy, we have had five National and Provincial Elections. On the 8th of May 2019, we will have the sixth. On that day, just eight weeks from now, voting stations will open across South Africa and you will have the chance to shape the future.
An array of political parties will be vying for your support. Your vote decides who is best suited to lead the governance of our country and our provinces. It decides who will be responsible for resolving the problems that still linger after 25 years of freedom.
It is time to decide what you will do with your vote.
Political parties both large and small have launched their manifestos. You know what they are promising. You have heard their opinions, and you’ve had a chance to digest their rhetoric. Now, you are ready to hear the truth.
Today the IFP is going to tell you what can really be done to fix South Africa’s problems. We will explain what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and what we will do, with your support.
The IFP has a simple message, one you will be familiar with: Trust Us.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel with catchy slogans. We are still saying “Trust Us” because integrity is still at the heart of the IFP, and it’s still the foundation for building social justice and economic justice for all South Africans.
We understand the simple truth that the economic salvation promised by political freedom has not materialised despite all the promises and all the talk-shops and all the resources thrown at the problem. What’s missing is the right value system. Without the right value system, the leadership of our country is bound to fail.
This is what makes the IFP different. We place values ahead of politics, and people ahead of power. The IFP has a sound value system that underpins all our policies, actions and words. We believe in inclusive participation, in governance through partnerships, in building social cohesion, in fairness, in constitutionalism and the rule of law, in patriotism and in honesty.
We will not bend our principles to suit our policies. Our policies are based on principles: the principle of social justice and the principle of economic justice. We want a fair deal for everyone.
These principles and values have been at the heart of the IFP for 44 years. They are not just my principles and values. They are championed by a great team of men and women who are serving South Africa through the IFP. I am proud to lead this Party, but I am just one man. I work alongside many excellent leaders who are building and growing the IFP; for you, for your children, and for your grandchildren.
I work hand in hand with our Secretary General, Mayor Velenkosini Hlabisa, and with our team in the Youth Brigade, and with the Women’s Brigade, and with all our members of National Council. This leadership team is strong and committed. They are carrying our legacy forward.
Indeed, I am pleased to announce that our structures have nominated Mayor Velenkosini Hlabisa as our Premier candidate for KwaZulu Natal. He will make an excellent Premier, building on the legacy of his IFP predecessors in this Province; Premier Frank Mdlalose, Premier Ben Ngubane and Premier LPHM Mtshali.
We have tremendous confidence in all our leaders. They are ready to take your voice into the governance of South Africa.
We have chosen these people, firstly because they are committed to the principles and values of the IFP, and secondly because they are visionary leaders.
The problems facing our country need to be fixed and they need to be fixed now. But the reality is that, while we are working on immediate problems, we need to be preparing for the future, equipping ourselves now with the tools we will need tomorrow, and navigating new paths in order to avoid the problems that certainly lie ahead.
The IFP has always been a party of long-term thinking. We are looking at the children in primary school now, and even in crèche, and planning for their future. We’re looking at what to do now, so that in ten or twenty years’ time, they will have easy access to skills training and a great start to the career of their choice.
We are doing this because South Africa deserves more than crisis management. We deserve a leadership that takes us from where we are now, to where we all want to be. We all want security, a home and an income. We all want things to be fair.
Unfortunately, that is not the direction things are moving. Analysts tell us that the majority of South Africans believe Government is doing a bad job at managing the economy and delivering services, especially when it comes to reducing crime, creating jobs, narrowing income gaps, keeping prices stable, fighting corruption and improving living standards for the poor.
These perceptions are based on hard experience. No wonder our youth are angry. No wonder frustration and disillusionment are rife. No wonder people are starting to call for radical action, even at the expense or to the detriment of fellow South Africans.
Friends, when you walk into a bank and something isn’t working, you don’t want the bank manager to come and say to you, “Just wait, one day it will work.” You want them – and expect them – to sort out the problem, and apologise.
Why should it be any different for government? The system isn’t working. If it were working, we wouldn’t have been saddled for nine years with a failing leadership, to the point where corruption became endemic and our State became captured. If the system were working, we wouldn’t have a stagnant economy, a technical recession, and rising unemployment. The system isn’t working.
So we don’t want the same group of people to come and tell us, “Just wait, one day it will work.” We want them to fix it, and apologise.
But we’ve been waiting for this for 25 years, and it hasn’t happened. It is time to take things into our own hands. This election must be about changing our nation’s leaders, to change the value system.
I want to thank the women and the men who have faithfully voted for the IFP in all these years. You stick with the IFP because our values are your values. We believe in the same things; not just in terms of what’s best for South Africa, but in terms of how to achieve it. You are nation builders and sowers of good seed.
You have partnered with us to build the future together. Looking back, you know that the IFP has an excellent track record. We have something real and something good to offer South Africa. We know how to fix the problems.
So I ask you to work with us in the next 8 weeks to get the IFP’s message into as many homes as possible. Our message is simple.
We are the voice of reason. We are the champion of the poor. We are the party of integrity. We are the people you can trust.
Trust us to get the economy working.
Trust us to promote social cohesion.
Trust us to be tough on crime.
Trust us to fight gender-based violence.
Trust us to promote responsible land reform.
Trust us to fix the education system.
Trust us to improve the healthcare system.
Trust us to protect the environment.
The IFP has chosen these issues as the starting point to rescue our country. Wherever you go, people are talking about these issues. Whether you’re in the local spaza shop or at a conference centre, we are all talking about the high cost of living, how expensive everything is, and how difficult it is to find work.
We have all been a victim of crime, whether it’s petty theft or the trauma of rape. We all have a family member struggling to access good healthcare and affordable medicine. We all know of a school where learners are being bullied. We all worry about land grabs and what will happen if investors pull out because South Africa is too dangerous, and too unstable.
We are talking about these things because they’re a common experience in our country. But what we really need are solutions. We need a plan to fix these problems and to turn things around.
Not every political party is offering solutions. Some are happy to just keep talking about the problem. Some are pretending it can all be changed overnight, despite there being no budget, no plan and no real understanding of how things work. The worst are those who are making promises they will never, ever fulfil.
For this reason, the IFP believes in voter awareness. Because your vote is so important to your future, we want you to be equipped with the facts, so that you can make a good decision. We are grateful to the people who get information to the public; the journalists, the radio presenters and TV hosts.
I am sure you know that our public broadcaster, the SABC, is in crisis. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the support and funding model of the SABC, because our public broadcaster is a national asset. It must be strengthened. The IFP is also committed to a free press, so that you can receive all the information you need to make an informed choice about who to support.
Still, the best way to make an informed choice is to go straight to the source. I encourage you to read the IFP’s manifesto. Pick up a copy today. Read it. Think about it. Talk about it with your family and friends. If you have any questions, contact your local leader or an IFP Councillor. Visit our website. Connect with us online. Give us a call. We want you to know exactly what the IFP believes in.
So let me give you a few highlights from our manifesto.
For the IFP, the development of an inclusive economy is an absolute priority. This is about human dignity. We need to get our nation working, to alleviate poverty, redress inequality, empower families, and fulfil the rightful aspirations of all our people.
One of the ways we will do that is by focussing on local economic development, supporting small businesses and public/private partnerships. We want an Unemployment Register in every municipality, to match job seekers to available jobs. Through the establishment of a Department of Youth and Job Creation, strategies can be put in place to assist both job seekers and the work force to overcome obstacles, like lack of transport.
We need to remove all the obstacles to people finding jobs. That includes lowering the cost of data to make access to the Internet and email affordable for everyone. South Africa has some of the highest data costs of any country in Africa, never mind the rest of the world. If we want to grow our economy and open opportunities, we need to get these basics right.
The IFP’s plan for the economy is far more detailed, and you can read about it in our manifesto. I just want to give you a taste for what the IFP is doing. If you want to know what we’re capable of, look at our track record.
The IFP has vast experience is governance, both before liberation and since. We have experience in governance at national, provincial and local level. Throughout the past 44 years, we have gained an excellent track record in managing resources and designing budgets that maximise development and growth. We know how to get a lot done, with very little. We make sure that every cent is accounted for, and every cent is stretched.
When we administered the KwaZulu Government, and when we administered KwaZulu Natal, the IFP was known for integrity. Never once, in 19 years, was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled against my administration in KwaZulu. The same honest leadership characterised the IFP after 1994. None of our Premiers and none of our MECs were ever accused of corruption.
That is the way it should be. But compared to what our country has now, that kind of integrity is worth talking about.
The apartheid regime allowed KwaZulu only a shoestring budget. Yet still we built more than 6000 classrooms, as well as clinics, hospitals, houses, universities, community centres and businesses. We attracted investors and grew industrial bases to strengthen our economy. I founded Ithala Bank, because black entrepreneurs couldn’t access seed capital from commercial banks in South Africa. Through Ithala Bank, businesses were started and land was productively farmed. We did everything in partnership with the people.
This stands in sharp contrast to what we see under the ruling Party. The budget now is massive. So much more should be being achieved. Instead, all we hear about is how the money meant for schools, houses and development is being siphoned off and poured down the drain of corruption. MECs and leaders are regularly accused of corruption and abuse of their positions. VBS Bank has simply been looted.
South Africa needs to get back to integrity. We need the IFP’s values and the IFP’s principled leadership.
The present culture of corruption has created disrespect for the rule of law. No wonder our society is becoming more violent and more dangerous. The IFP knows that no society can achieve its full potential while its people live in fear. Development is only possible when individual rights and liberties are secured. Thus safety and security, and access to justice, must be guaranteed. South Africans must feel safe and be safe.
To achieve this, the IFP wants policing powers to be decentralised from national to provincial and local authorities. We fought hard for the creation of provinces, and it was our stand at the negotiating table that saw South Africa receive provinces in 1994. We wanted to ensure that governance could work from the bottom up, with communities designing their own solutions and working in partnership with their public representatives. That is still what we want.
But what South Africa has is a centralised Government, where all power is held tightly at the top, by just a few. That is not the way democracy should work. You don’t need policies being designed by people far away, and then packaged in a one-size-fits-all box and sent down the conveyor belt of government. You need, and you deserve, to be part of the decision-making process when it comes to matters that affect you and your family.
Thus the IFP believes in building partnerships with communities, in order to fight crime. We also believe there is a need for specialised courts and specialised Police units to deal with corruption, sexual and gender-based violence, gangs and drug-related crimes.
In fact, when it comes to drugs, we want to deploy the Defence Force along our borders to curb cross-border smuggling and illicit trade in drugs, as well as weapons, wildlife trafficking and human trafficking. South Africa needs to get tough on crime, with increased minimum sentences and hard labour for prisoners.
We must also get tough in fighting abuse of women and children. This should be classified as a serious crime by our justice system. It is unacceptable that South Africa is spending more on a prison inmate than they are on a woman in a shelter who has fled from abuse. The vulnerable must be protected if we are to call ourselves a free and caring society.
Now I know that the great debate in this election is undoubtedly expropriation of land without compensation, how it will work, if it will work, and whether it’s the right choice for South Africa.
The IFP understands that the resolution of the land issue carries with it the promise of healing the wounds of the past. Land has social, spiritual and economic value. It has the potential to be the foundation of the renewed economy our country so critically needs.
In keeping with our approach of a long-term vision, the IFP wants to create a training infrastructure to ensure that the land can become productive. This means introducing agricultural science at school level, and reopening agricultural training colleges. We believe that all unused land that is in the hands of the State should be allocated to assist the poor. Where land expropriation is necessary, we affirm the Constitution in its belief that there should be some level of compensation.
The need to build for the future is at the heart of the IFP’s vision. We have always focussed on our youth. Years ago, when we were waging the liberation struggle, the ANC’s mission-in-exile launched a call for children to abandon their classrooms and to burn down their schools. They wanted to make this country ungovernable, through a people’s war that saw violence and bloodshed drive a campaign of mayhem.
The IFP could not agree to this. My uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, the founder of the African National Congress, had laid certain principles at the foundation of our liberation movement. Key among them was the principle of non-violence. When the ANC abandoned this principle, the IFP stood firm. We would not allow young black South Africans to become cannon fodder. Nor would we ask them to give up their future.
So while schools were burning across our country to the chant of “Liberation Now, Education Later”, in KwaZulu we were building. Under the IFP’s banner “Education For Liberation”, we built schools and ensure that they opened on time, with learners in classrooms, being equipped for the future. And when democracy was won, those young people became the administrators, the journalists, the professors, the lawyers and the thought leaders of our liberated society. They had been well-prepared, because of the IFP.
The IFP believes that education is a necessary condition for sustainable, effective development. Education is the most potent tool with which to bridge the inequalities in our society. It is the most potent tool to place our people at the centre of our move into the future, and to secure our rightful place in the global community.
We therefore champion free, quality Early Childhood Development, Primary, Secondary and Higher Education, and training for all our people. So that our children don’t get to school exhausted and hungry, the IFP insists on free scholar transport and effective nutrition schemes in all public schools.
We have to give our children the best possible chance at achieving their potential. That also means securing better pay and better working conditions for all teachers, including Grade R teachers, to ensure that teachers are motivated and supported to give their best.
We need to reopen the many teacher training colleges, and also nursing colleges, which were established under an IFP Government, and subsequently shut down by our opponents. Once again it’s about getting the basics right. That means providing regular maintenance and building extra school-infrastructure, like sports facilities, libraries and centres for the arts.
It is tragic that our schools lack the facilities and the skills to provide adequate support for learners with disabilities and special needs. If any child is left behind, the system has failed. Equally so if there is any violence, abuse or bullying in a classroom. It is appalling that today, 25 years into democracy, there are still some 4000 schools with unsafe, undignified pit-toilets. We need to do far better to protect our children and give them a head start.
Good health and well-being are integral to the overall socio-economic success of our nation. Thus the IFP has designed a social welfare and healthcare package to meet the needs of today and the future.
We believe that all South Africans deserve access to quality, innovative healthcare. We can’t have people waiting for months for their results The National Health Laboratory Services needs additional infrastructure to improve its turnaround times. We also cannot have medicine that is far too expensive to be bought by those who need it. The IFP is tackling this head on, to bring down the cost of medicine.
We want to put a social worker in every ward, in every municipality across the country, to our assist communities. That means seeing to it that unemployed social work graduates are absorbed into the system, and that working conditions are improved for all healthcare workers.
We strongly support social grants, within the framework of self-help and self-reliance. Our primary goal is to empower people, while assisting the vulnerable in times of distress. The IFP was in fact the first to introduce a social grant in South Africa, under the former KwaZulu Government. We also fought hard for SASSA grants to continue uninterrupted when the present Government’s incompetence threatened to collapse the system.
We believe in combining a functioning social grant system with a programme of empowering families, to restore dignity and support individual development. Accordingly, we want child-headed households to be properly supported and the Old Age Grant to be increased.
During the recent State of the Province Address in KwaZulu Natal, Government’s success in fighting HIV/Aids was widely applauded. What wasn’t mentioned is that this success story is an IFP success story. It was the IFP, through the leadership of our Premier Dr LPHM Mtshali, who rolled out anti-retrovirals to all clinics in KwaZulu Natal, to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
That IFP-led programme was so successful that the Treatment Action Campaign took National Government to the Constitutional Court to get them to follow suit throughout South Africa. National Government claimed that it couldn’t be done. But the IFP put evidence before the Court that we were doing it already, cheaply and easily, across KwaZulu Natal. Based on our good example, the Court ordered National Government to do what the Constitution required, and save lives.
Over the years, the dramatic reduction of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/Aids has become one of the greatest success stories of South Africa. And it’s thanks to the IFP.
We realise that Cancer has become the new pandemic, and we are ready to champion this fight as well. The IFP wants to establish provincial centres for medical innovation and research, so that patients can have all the options available to them. We cannot continue with one standard treatment for the many different forms of Cancer, in its many different stages. Quality of life, as well as life itself, must be protected. We also believe that legislation and regulation is needed for Cancer patients who are still active in the workplace.
Often it is women who bear the brunt of illness, for you become caregivers and primary breadwinners, or must continue with all that is expected of you despite being ill. Achieving true and meaningful gender equality is of the utmost importance to the IFP. We know that women are the backbone of our nation. Thus we have worked for years to empower women with skills, opportunities and support, so that you can take your rightful place as leaders in our nation.
In fact, the IFP championed the emancipation of women long before it became popular in Africa. In the seventies, I repealed the Zulu laws which made married women minors and under the custody of their husbands. This freedom came for Zulu women a decade ahead of the repeal of similar provisions which subjugated white women in this country.
I also enabled women to hold title deed to their land after their husbands had passed away, which was an extraordinary departure from our indigenous and customary law and a first in South Africa.
I made history when I promoted the first female traditional leaders within the Zulu nation and appointed the first woman within my Cabinet in the erstwhile KwaZulu Government. The IFP had the largest percentage of women in our delegation at the World Trade Centre when we negotiated the constitutional transition from apartheid to democracy.
All these actions were taken when it was not politically required to do so. I did it because of the important contribution women have to make. To me gender equality is a reality, not just a slogan.
The IFP knows that women still bear the brunt of poverty, remaining on the fringes of the economy. Women still earn less than men for doing exactly the same job. Women face war on our streets, at home and in the workplace. Ours is one of the most dangerous countries for women and children to live in. All of this must change.
South Africa needs to enact legislation to enforce equal pay for equal work. The salaries of our Banyana Banyana players must be prioritised. They are symbolic of the discrimination faced by all women. It is time to introduce a gender equality module as part of the school curriculum, so that our society can begin to change.
I mentioned that we all want security, an income and a home. The tragic reality is that millions of South Africans are living in sub-standard houses, in 21st century ghettos. There is a dire need to redress apartheid-spatial planning. The IFP believes that a new approach is needed that puts local communities at the forefront of the design and construction of house-building schemes.
As we build our communities, we must prioritise water, roads and electricity, for this infrastructure creates a conducive environment for small businesses to flourish where people live.
Corruption must be rooted out on the housing waiting list and contractors must be punished for poorly built houses. In fact, we want young people and women to be involved at community level in the construction of housing development projects. And there needs to be greater access to low-cost subsidised housing for those who earn between R3 500 and R15 000 per month.
Very few politicians are speaking about the environment. But a healthy, sustainable environment is crucial to achieving socio-economic development in a transitioning economy, both for current and future generations. South Africa needs authentic, courageous political leadership in the environmental arena to ensure that socio-economic transformation is built on a sustainable base.
It’s time for issues like renewable energy and the banning of single-use plastics to reach the forefront of our national debate. Instead we are talking about State capture and corruption, because this is where the ruling party has led South Africa. We are in crisis because of weak leadership.
It was Thomas Jefferson who said "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." How much more power are we willing to give to those who abuse it?
We should be seeing high profile leaders jailed for looting the State. We should be getting that apology. Instead, it’s business as usual, while the Zondo Commission brings us one revelation after the next of deeply entrenched corruption.
I can tell you, I weep for my country.
The ruling party has put up billboards everywhere saying “Grow South Africa”. But under their leadership our economy continues to shrink, growth has stagnated and jobs are being lost.
This can be changed.
I have told you today of many things the IFP has done, with your support, to govern South Africa with integrity and excellence. We have a good track record that anyone can see. This is why you can trust us.
We have been with you and with your parents and grandparents during the liberation struggle. We remained on South African soil, working side by side and hand in hand with our struggling communities. And not only did we fight for freedom, but we put food on the table, we restored dignity, we created hope and we prepared for the future. That is the kind of leadership the IFP offers.
So I ask you to give us the opportunity to lead again, with the values and principles so desperately needed in our ailing country. Stand with us. Partner with us. And invest your vote in a future that can be achieved; a future of social and economic justice.
Let me speak very directly. I want to ask all those former members of the Minority Front who defected to the Democratic Alliance to consider your real home. The IFP has walked a long road with the Indian community. Isn’t it time you came home?
When the electorate considers who to support, we need to use our heads as well as our hearts. Let us not be led about on the strings of emotion. There are some manifestos out there that will never be implemented because they weren’t designed to be implemented. They were just designed to capture your vote. They talk about creating an Eldorado over night, but the socialist policies they offer are unworkable.
This past Thursday I returned from a visit to Nigeria. I had been invited by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to deliver a lecture on his 82nd birthday. During my visit, I was interested to see that the problem of socialism persists elsewhere in Africa. It is put forward as a workable plan. But it never works.
I often think of my late Advisor who used to say, “If you’re not a Marixst in your twenties, you have no heart. But if you’re still a Marxist in your thirties, you have no brain.” Russia’s economy collapsed under Marxist policies, like the dictatorship of the proletariat.
There are fears now that Nigeria’s socialist programmes will fail, for lack of resources and capacity. According to the Business Day of Nigeria, economists are pointing to Ethiopia as an example to follow, for Ethiopia has embraced large scale privatisation of state owned enterprises. If Nigeria followed suit, they say, it would lighten the debt burden and ensure optimal use of public assets. But Nigeria is wary of privatisation because thus far it has been marred by corruption.
Evidently South Africa is not alone in the problems we are facing. They are common throughout Africa. We need to learn from best practice and avoid making the same mistakes that have been made before.
We have already been by-passed by Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa. We need to make a firm decision on the issue of privatising state-owned enterprises. If we take this route half-heartedly, we will get nowhere. When you set out to scramble an egg, you don’t just half-scramble it. I remember that when my friend, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took a decision to privatise state-owned enterprises, it became a turning point in the economy of Britain.
Tragically, South Africa’s youth are being fed old socialist policies. By the time they realise that they’ve been led down the garden path, they will have suffered tremendous disappointment, disillusionment and heartache.
I want more for my country. I want something better.
Our youth are not just angry. They are also creative and passionate and endlessly innovative. Young people have a crucial contribution to make to the salvation and success of South Africa.
It is deeply worrying that so few young voters turn up on election day. Do you realise that if you don’t vote, someone else is going to choose for you? Do you really want that annoying guy in the office, or even your ex, to choose your future? Do you want uninformed activists to decide what’s best for you? Or a bunch of old people? Or prison inmates? Or South Africans living in London or Australia?
All these people will get to vote, and their vote will decide your future. Don’t leave it in someone else’s hands. If you want a voice, stand up and use it. Staying away from the polling stations does not send a protest message to Government. It simply says, “That’s okay. You decide.”
I want to see young people flood the polling stations. We need that energy to sustain the work that lies ahead. This is our country; young and old, wealthy and poor, rural and urban. We have one future. There will be no security for one, while another suffers; no peace for one, while another lives in pain.
Let us bridge every gap, whether it’s generational or circumstantial, uniting with one another, so that all of us begin working towards the same goal.
The IFP is a family. We value every individual. So I invite you to partner with us as we work to fix South Africa. The IFP is creating social justice and economic justice, and we are doing it for you.