The Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Leader of the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal
Greetings to all the members of the IFP’s national and provincial leadership, our esteemed guests and all IFP supporters. It is a great honour for me to stand before you today, on the eve of the 2021 Local Government Elections.
Today we meet here with our leaders, candidates, volunteers and people of South Africa through the media, to make one of our last clarion calls that on 1 November, all South African voters must save our municipalities by going out to their voting stations and casting their votes.
Over the past weeks we have met you face-to-face in your homes, streets and in community meetings. We also met with you through our social media platforms. We patiently listened to you telling us your frustrations, painful stories of losing jobs, watching your children going to bed with empty stomachs, losing properties, as you could not afford to pay the bonds for your houses, could not afford the instalments for furniture, houses and cars. The people of South Africa have told us how they have lost hope in the government of South Africa.
The ruling party has failed to create jobs. The ruling party has failed to keep the lights on. Under the ruling party, all systems of governance have collapsed. Wherever the ANC is in power – be it at national, provincial and local government level – corruption is the order of the day.
We heard you when you told us that you want true, sustainable and quality service delivery. Indeed it is a shame that after 27 years of freedom in our country, our people are still living in shacks, with no electricity and no water; driving on roads with potholes; with no jobs and no food to put on the table, sewage spilling over in your yards and streets, putting your health at risk.
We can fix this through the ballot box on 1 November.
I believe it is quite fitting that we find ourselves in Ulundi today. Ulundi is a proudly IFP-led Local Municipality, where the community has reaped the benefits of the IFP’s good governance, integrity and servant leadership.
I hope that all of you are inspired and encouraged by our achievements here in Ulundi, one of many successful IFP-led municipalities. They should be viewed as a beacon of hope, a blueprint for what is possible in municipalities across South Africa, when the IFP is given the opportunity to govern.
Let me remind you what you can expect when you vote for the IFP on 1 November 2021.
Here in Ulundi, the IFP-led Municipality has prioritised infrastructure development and roads, and repaired the roads that were damaged. Families in need received homes and building materials, as well as food parcels. In addition, 16 Community Halls and 17 Early Childhood Development facilities have been provided to the community. The top-10 learners received bursaries, and hundreds of young people have been employed each year.
The kind of outstanding service delivery that the IFP-led Ulundi Local Municipality provides has not gone unnoticed. This Municipality has received several service excellence awards in recognition of their work. These achievements, along with good audit outcomes since 2007/2008, make Ulundi attractive to investors, and in turn, create more opportunities for the community.
The IFP will always work to give communities – and individuals – a hand up, thereby equipping them to become self-reliant.
A vote for the IFP is a vote for a Party that creates opportunities where we govern.
In July, when the people of KwaZulu-Natal faced violence and destruction, the community of Ulundi came together to work with law enforcement to protect their families, businesses and livelihoods. And the community did not stand alone. IFP leaders – including our President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi – were on the ground to offer their support and guidance.
Where the IFP leads, no community will be left to face chaos and uncertainty without support and assistance.
IFP leaders stand up and speak up for the people we serve. This is the heart of servant leadership, and you can rest assured that each and every IFP Councillor and leader – across our structures – will be there to support you in your time of need.
The IFP will not abandon the communities we serve when circumstances become challenging.
In the days that followed the July unrest, Prince Buthelezi called for calm and for community members to remember, in particular, the constitutional value – shared by the IFP – of unity in diversity. Other members of our leadership team, such as our Treasurer General, the Hon. Narend Singh, went to the community of Phoenix, where lives were lost, to mediate and attempt to bring about reconciliation between community members.
As the IFP, we want what is best for all: we strongly believe that a prosperous and just future is one where all South Africans – regardless of race or belief or circumstances – work together.
As I have been travelling across the country over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet community members from many different constituencies. Although they live in different parts of KwaZulu-Natal – or even in Mpumalanga, or Gauteng – their stories and their basic needs are the same.
These people are not making unreasonable requests. They are asking for shelter, for water, for sanitation – these are basic human necessities.
According to our Constitution, “Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing”. When it comes to this right, and the right to other necessities such as sufficient food and water, “the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights.”
Tragically, this is not happening.
A big part of the ruling party’s dismal failure when it comes to poor – or non-existent – service delivery, relates to the State’s meagre “available resources”. Corruption, which has become the calling card of the ruling party, eats away at the budgets allocated to our Municipalities. Monies meant to provide things such as housing and clean water, often end up lining the pockets of friends and family members of the ruling party instead.
When funds are lost to fruitless and wasteful expenditure, it is not only those projects that suffer.
Imagine, if you would, that the money allocated to building a new school is misspent – or stolen. The workers who could have made a living building that school are left without work, and are unable to provide for their families. The teachers, who could have found employment once the new school had been built, remain unemployed. Again, the ripple-effect is much greater, as the teachers are also unable to support their dependants.
Then we have the learners who would have benefitted from having another school in their community. They are forced to continue attending an overcrowded school, where there are 80 to 90 students per class. It is not difficult to imagine that many of these young people will drop out of school. Those who remain, do not receive an education that will equip them to become productive members of society, and they find themselves unable to earn a living, and contribute to the country’s economy.
I have asked you to imagine the impact of one school not built due to corruption. Hundreds of lives are directly impacted. Hundreds of lives are negatively impacted.
Now imagine the hundreds – dare I say – the thousands of unbuilt schools, unbuilt homes, unbuilt clinics. All of these, and more, represent promises made by the ruling party. Due to corruption, none of these projects will be delivered.
And there is little, or no, consequence management. No one is held accountable for the lives destroyed, and the promises of a better life that are never fulfilled.
Corruption has robbed our people. The money that should have created jobs, built houses, provided our people with electricity, clean water, roads and fixed potholes has gone into wrong hands under the watch of the ruling party. The damning revelations at Zondo Commission have told all of us who stole the money that should have changed the lives of the people of South Africa for the better. Corruption must be stopped now. This is why we call on you to vote out the party or councillors with a track record of corruption.
This is yet another reason why I invite you to vote for the IFP on 1 November. Because the IFP is for people, the IFP will never be for corruption.
I can confidently assure you that if you trust the IFP with your vote on 1 November, corruption will never be on the menu.
The IFP is committed to serving our communities with accountability and providing successful, reliable service delivery. Each and every IFP Councillor contesting across the country has signed a pledge, wherein they commit “To be free of corruption and to prevent corruption.”
The IFP presents itself to the people of South Africa as a party that can fix our municipalities, deliver services, look after the purse of each municipality for the benefit of our people. Wherever we serve, we have a record of clean governance. You can trace and verify us.
Where we lead, we lead with integrity, and you, as the people of Ulundi – an IFP-led Municipality – will be able to attest to that fact.
If I asked you who your Councillor is, I am sure you would be able to tell me, and you would also tell me that he or she is the person you trust to help when you, your family, or your local community, are facing a challenge. I know this, because the IFP is a solutions-based Party.
I would go so far as to say, not only does the IFP have the solutions – the IFP is the solution.
A big part of this solution is our people – the IFP Councillors that serve you in your Wards and in your Municipalities.
As I travelled across KwaZulu-Natal during the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to meet many of our IFP candidates. I would like to remind you that each of them has been hand-picked, and each of them has signed a pledge – a contract of good governance. This document will hold them – and the IFP – accountable. We will not tolerate laziness. We will not hesitate to show the door to a lazy and non-performing councillor or mayor. The IFP will not come back and apologise in 2024 or 2026. We will account to you quarterly at local level, and annually on a national scale as to how we are performing in the Municipalities we govern.
I am excited to see what these councillors and mayors will achieve in partnership with you.
I am convinced, now, more than ever before, that the IFP offers our communities a credible alternative.
I would also like to remind you that the IFP – as the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, with years of experience at all levels of government: national, provincial and local – has the necessary know-how and skills to get the job done.
Do not allow yourselves to be fooled: a vote for the IFP is not a vote for a small party. A vote for the IFP is a vote for the fourth-largest political party in South Africa. And here in KwaZulu-Natal, it is a vote for the biggest competition to the ruling party.
The Democratic Alliance has been warning people not to vote for ‘small parties’ and to view the election as a two-horse race. I am sure you will agree that that warning is quite nonsensical. Here in KwaZulu-Natal, the DA is a ‘small party’. So they are effectively asking you not to vote for them.
The IFP will not be making nonsensical demands of voters. We will present you with the truth, a credible option to the other parties on the ballot, and let our track record speak for itself.
The IFP is one of the political ‘Big 5’. Hundreds of thousands of South Africans continue to put their trust in the IFP. The results of the 2016 Local Government Elections and the 2019 National Elections clearly show that the IFP is growing!
I can only attribute our growth to our track record of service excellence. Actions – and service delivery – speak louder than empty words and broken promises.
Fellow patriots, in three days’ time, you will have the opportunity to exercise your constitutionally-enshrined right to vote.
We have seen you protesting, burning tyres and blocking roads because of poor service delivery. We have heard the voices of our women and children crying for protection against crime and GBV.
Now is the time to set yourself free. On the 1st of November come in all your numbers. Every voter who has been complaining or protesting about poor services, take your protests to the ballot box. Flood the Voting Stations and through the ballot paper, vote against corruption, vote against poor service delivery.
We are an alternative. Vote for the IFP because we work for you and will continue to work for you.
If you hate corruption – vote IFP.
If you want running water in your community – vote IFP.
If you want safer communities – vote IFP.
If you want a clean and honest administration – vote IFP.
In the municipalities where the IFP governs, the people come first – not the party.
Where the IFP is in charge, all money goes towards service delivery and not into the hands of politicians and their families. In this election we ask you to lend your vote to the IFP, and we will give you service delivery in return.
I would also like to remind you how important it is that you do go out and vote on 1 November. The polls will be open all day, and Covid-19 precautions will be in place. Wear your masks, sanitise, practice the necessary social distancing – and go out to vote!
Every vote counts. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard.
Place your trust in the IFP, and cast your vote for good governance and service delivery.
The IFP is not making empty promises. We are committing to continue our track record of service delivery and good governance. The IFP has been building this country for 46 years, and we intend to keep building. I invite you to join us. Let’s get South Africa to work!
In closing, let me repeat what I always say. The letters “IFP” must individually and collectively mean I’m For People, I’m For Progress and I’m For Purpose. This is the brand we give to the people of South Africa.
On November 1st, VOTE IFP!
I thank you.