MESSAGE OF SUPPORT BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Endumeni: 11 May 2018
His Worship the Mayor of Umzinyathi District Municipality, Alderman Petros Mthandeni Ngubane; Amakhosi; His Worship the Mayor of Endumeni Local Municipality, Councillor Siboniso Richard Mbatha; Members of the Executive of both municipalities; Indunas and Councillors; Heads of Departments; members of this community.
As a citizen of KwaZulu Natal and a life-long servant of the people, I am heavily invested in the success of local governance. I believe that this is where real solutions are found to the real problems faced by families every day. It is here, at local level, that democracy really works, because here the people are able to interact directly with the representatives you have chosen.
When you gave the IFP your mandate to lead in Endumeni, we emphasised two things as being central to the success of governance: the power of the people and the power of partnership. Today, we focus on these two things as the Mayor of Umzinyathi presents the Budget and Integrated Development Plan for this District.
I am excited by the opportunity to join you as we listen to these plans and engage with the Mayor’s team on what has been done, what needs to be done, and how we can become part of making it happen. I encourage you to ask questions and to speak to the Mayor about Endumeni, because the District Municipality is here to support and assist the Local Municipality to meet your needs.
This is not just a public relations exercise. It’s an important opportunity to get things working the way they should and to receive your input on how we can develop, empower and equip Endumeni. This is what is meant by a partnership. I believe that communities thrive when they are empowered to build their own future. As your representatives, at every level of government, we are here to make sure that happens.
The IDP and the 2018/2019 Budget for Umzinyathi are based on the principle that empowering people is better than offering temporary assistance. We want to see families secure and healthy, with food on the table and hope for the future. We want to give children the chance to get a good education so that they can pursue their dreams. We want youth to be equipped with skills, and entrepreneurs to have access to seed capital. We want to ensure that grandmothers and the elderly have no reason to be worried or afraid, so that they might enjoy life to the full.
To achieve these things, local governance needs to work and work well. We need the right people in positions of authority; people of integrity who are committed to serve. We need good financial management, transparency and accountability, so that every cent is used to benefit the people. We need checks and balances in place to protect the resources available from being drained away through corruption, maladministration and tender fraud. We need competent officials who understand that the people come first.
These are the things we have sought to secure in Umzinyathi, Endumeni, Nquthu and uMsinga. We are working to secure them in Umvoti as well, and throughout every municipality in this Province. To achieve this, in the municipalities led by the IFP, we prioritise two things: people and partnerships; the very things that make local governance work.
Just now the ruling Party, the ANC is engaged with the issue of dealing with pressures by the members of the ANC to remove the Premier of the North West, Mr Supra Mahumapelo. And it becomes the responsibility of the ANC to remove him because when the ANC won the North West Province they then deployed him to be the Premier of North West. We have had discussions Your Worship Alderman Ngubane with the Mayor and Speaker of Endumeni before. We were not satisfied that the cooperation between them was what it should be. We as the NEC tried to plead with both the Mayor and the Speaker to normalise relations between them. I know that the public does express its views through demonstrations and protests. But I am also old enough to know that there are sometimes bogus protests based on renting a crowd. I am not prepared to judge the kind of protests and ructions that have taken place at Endumeni. Whatever the case is, the ructions that are taking place have from time to time been an indication that things are not what they should be in this municipality. We are here on a very important day when the District Mayor has come here to present to the people of Endumeni his Integrated Development Plan, and to present his budget. I am sad that I had to mention the ructions that have been going on on what should be a very joyous occasion.
Allegations are allegations until proven to be fact through evidence. So I do not have evidence to judge how justified these ructions are. But it will be tragic if their source is that the Municipal Office Bearers are not doing what they are called upon to do for communities. It is impossible for me as the leader of the Party that is at the helm at the municipality to ignore what is going on. If I did so that would amount to disrespect on my part for voters of this municipality who voted for my Party. I can only say that we were supported by the voters because we asked them to TRUST US! I will be very sad if there can be any possibility of any acts of maladministration and malfeasance. We have always prided ourselves as a Party of integrity because no accusation of corruption could be levelled at us, whether it is at the national government where I was Minister under both President Mandela and President Mbeki for 10 years. There has been no accusation of corruption even when we had three IFP Premiers in this Province; the Honourable Dr Frank Mdlalose, the Honourable Dr Ben Ngubane, the Honourable Dr Lionel Mtshali. For 19 years I was Chief Minister of KwaZulu and there was not a single accusation of corruption. There have been no corruption in the municipalities that the IFP administered. We are very sensitive to any acts of corruption by anyone in any of our municipalities. And we jealously guard our clean record and will not allow anyone who through greed starts indulging in acts of corruption in any municipality under the IFP’s watch.
Let me assure you, the biggest obstacle in governance is not a lack of resources, or the extent of the problems we face in the form of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The biggest obstacle is corruption. You can’t open a newspaper in South Africa or listen to the radio without being confronted by the depth of corruption in our country, at all levels of government.
I hate corruption. It sickens me to the pit of my stomach to know that people who are entrusted to serve can steal from the poorest and most vulnerable. When a government official pockets municipal money or gives tenders for kickbacks or employs their sister even though she has no qualifications – that is theft. It takes resources away from you and your families. It takes food from your mouths, books from your classrooms, seeds from your fields, and hope from your children.
Because of this, I have fought against corruption all my life. I led the KwaZulu Government before democracy and for 19 years not a single allegation of corruption was ever levelled at my administration. When we entered democracy, we brought with us the principle of integrity and selfless service. I am proud of the kind of leadership my Party has provided to KwaZulu Natal and to all of South Africa, because it stands in sharp contrast to the corruption that is eating away at government.
I mention these things today because I want you to understand that democracy is not a perfect system. It can be weakened and destabilised. It can be hijacked and used to enrich the elite. Because of this we need to be very careful to stay engaged and involved, to hold our leaders accountable, to listen to what they are saying and ask questions when we think they are going in the wrong direction. We need to stay vigilant and active, using our vote, using our voice and insisting on integrity.
That is our responsibility today. So let us engage with the Mayor and his team to find the best solutions for Endumeni.
I can tell you, it took a lot of sweat and tears for the IFP to be able to win Endumeni. All of us, including myself, did our utmost to win the municipality against powerful forces that were arrayed against us. We did this, not because we want political power, but because we want the people to be served by leaders who care, leaders who are held accountable, and leaders who put the people first.
Local governance in Endumeni has struggled for long enough. Just a few years ago there were protests here because of how the municipality filled jobs. The relationship with businessmen was fraught because of the way tenders were handled. And when it came to RDP housing, corruption was evident. You deserve better. All these things are being investigated and fixed. But we are determined to do more than fix the problems. We want to see this community thrive.
I am therefore encouraged when I hear about projects initiated by the Umzinyathi District Municipality to empower the people of Endumeni. Projects like the Ethangeni Agricultural Co-operative in Ward 1 that assisted members of the community to farm cabbages, spinach and green peppers, raising R5000 from sales and securing a market with local traders. This is the kind of empowerment that will serve Endumeni.
As we listen to the Mayor unpack the Budget and IDP for this District, let’s think about how we can become part of making it work. This is your plan. These are your representatives. Together, it can be done.
I thank you.