Dear friends and fellow South Africans,
I welcome eTV’s decision to host “The Big Debate”, after it was unceremoniously pulled from our State broadcaster for reasons too obscure to contemplate. The show offers ordinary South Africans from all walks of life the opportunity to debate issues that affect us all. One can imagine these are issues like misrepresented crime statistics, the frightening rise in food prices and the controversial eToll system.
These are precisely the issues that should be debated in the context of an approaching election, because every voter and potential voter should be questioning the leadership we have, and the kind of leadership we want beyond 2014.
Reading the papers and watching the news have the inevitable side-effect of escalating anxiety and fear for the future, for there is just so much to be concerned about. I can understand why some South Africans have disengaged with politics and current affairs. I can understand apathy, just as I understand the anger many people feel. It is hard to know where to turn for answers, solutions and hope.
South Africans desperately need to be reminded of the good news. We need to hear about the possibilities, the potential and the goodwill that still exists within our country.
There is a version of South Africa vastly different to the one portrayed in our newspapers. It is a possible future; that can be attained. The IFP’s vision of the kind of society we want for ourselves and future generations is this: It is, in short, a just, prosperous and moral society whose citizens have reconciled their past differences and engage with each other on the basis of ubuntu.
A just society is one which is fair, which has successfully addressed the challenges of our past and present, challenges like limited access to basic services, to sustainable jobs, to quality education, to adequate healthcare and to security. A just society offers freedom and equality for all before the law, irrespective of who you are and where you come from.
A prosperous society is one in which mass poverty has been eradicated and in which our people are able to pursue a better life. It is a society in which everyone is able to develop to his or her fullest human potential. A prosperous society provides opportunity for all, generates high quality services and contributes towards stability and unity.
A moral society is one governed by timeless moral precepts of good. It stands in contrast to the socio-political climate of today which is characterised by fear, violence, crime, greed and corruption. The IFP believes in a society based on strong family and strong community. We believe everyone has a role to play in making South Africa a better place.
A society underpinned by the spirit of ubuntu must necessarily promote justice and prosperity and morality for all. We believe such a society is a distinct possibility, and not merely a dream. We believe our values of solidarity, freedom and unity, and our principles and policies, coupled with bold leadership and political courage, can achieve this vision.
Our greatest asset as we pursue this vision is our partnership with the people of goodwill. For almost forty years the IFP has partnered with people who share our values and our hope for the future. We have partnered with the people we serve, to offer constructive opposition in an environment characterised by arrogance, empty promises and antagonism. The IFP builds, rather than tearing down.
We are able to offer constructive opposition because of our vast experience in governance and because our track record speaks of successes and victories. We governed KwaZulu Natal for the first ten years of democracy, and we have success stories for every municipality we administered. We increased access to electricity and sanitation, we built schools and houses, we constructed roads and opened training colleges.
We also designed Integrated Development Plans, or IDPs, that our successors are now simply implementing, recognising our good ideas. But even so, even with a blueprint clearly mapped out for them, service delivery is faltering under their leadership, because the element of corruption, that is not present in the IFP, is present in our opponents.
Already, millions have been wasted and mismanaged through maladministration and corruption. That amounts to less and worse for you, despite the fact that you deserve more and better. Despite the fact that you were promised more and better.
So we understand the anxiety and fear for the future so many people feel. We know how hard it is to make a living and to keep your head above water. We understand the apathy as well as the anger. But now is not the time to throw in the towel. Now is the time to shift to a party you can trust.
We need to bring back the party that laid the good foundation, so that together we can build on that foundation instead of seeing it eroded. You have seen that the IFP is honest, reliable and competent. Measure what you have now against this yardstick, and it will be clear that bringing back the IFP is the only compelling solution.
Are the current leaders of our country worthy of your vote?
I believe it’s time to give your mandate back to a party that can be trusted. It’s time to come home to the IFP.
The IFP is not alone is asking you to think about South Africa’s leadership and how we can effect change for the better. Business Day is running a series of adverts that make for very interesting viewing. I encourage you to watch them on YouTube – click on the pictures:-
How right they are that we need to understand our country, or lose it. Ultimately, the power is yours.
Yours in the service of our nation,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP