PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Zola Sports Complex Stadium – Soweto
The 21st of March is an important day on our nation’s calendar. On this day we celebrate our victory in the long struggle for human rights. We celebrate the Constitution of South Africa, which enshrines human rights for every citizen. And we take stock of our present position, carefully assessing what needs to be done today to further protect the rights of every South African.
But the 21st of March has added significance for the IFP, for on this day in 1975, the founding members of Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe gathered at KwaNzimela to launch a movement that would reignite political mobilisation towards freedom. Forty four years ago, today, Inkatha took up the struggle which had gone silent when liberation leaders were banned, imprisoned and exiled outside our borders.
Within a few short years, Inkatha had grown to more than a million card-carrying members, and we had reignited the liberation struggle across South Africa. But it was particularly here, in what was known as the Witwatersrand, and in KwaZulu, that activism flourished. Our struggle for freedom, equality and human rights has a deep rooted history here in Gauteng.
It is fitting, then, that when South Africans finally met at the negotiating table to hammer out a shared future, it was Inkatha that tabled the need for a Bill of Rights in a democratic Constitution. With political parties finally unbanned, Inkatha had become the IFP. And the IFP was continuing a legacy; fighting on behalf of South Africa’s people.
The then National Party Government had no interest in a Bill of Rights. Their concern was wholly on the transfer of power and how that would play out. The ANC of Nelson Mandela saw no need for a Bill of Rights, for they insisted that a democratic government under their rule would never infringe on the rights of anyone.
But the IFP was looking ahead. We were looking far into the future, fully cognisant of the fact that human rights protection is strongest where it is constitutionally enshrined.
Today, as we celebrate Human Rights Day, we can surely thank God that the IFP stood firm and demanded a Bill of Rights. Indeed, just a few years into democracy, President Mandela admitted to a group of international journalists that the ANC had been wrong. He said, and I quote, “Little did we suspect that our own people, when they got a chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the things that has really hurt us.” (unquote)
Looking back now, twenty five years into democracy, I cannot imagine a single South African who would give up the Bill of Rights on the assumption that we can trust those in power to do what is right, good and honest.
If Madiba felt hurt twenty years ago by suggestions of corruption within the ANC, what would he feel today? If he saw the present testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry; if he heard the President lament nine wasted years; if he witnessed an economy in dire crisis because of corruption; what would he feel?
I have no doubt he would feel as we do: betrayed, insulted, and deceived. There is a strong sense in our nation that a promise has been broken. The question now is what do we do? Are we trapped in a contract with leaders who failed us? Are we helpless to change the future?
Not at all! Once again we thank God for the victory we won in 1994, because democracy gives all of us the inalienable right to choose new leaders every five years. Every five years elections are held. Polling stations open across our country and every South African over 18 years old has the chance to vote. Your vote should be cast for the people you trust, not based on promises, but based on facts.
We are drawing near to that crucial moment. In just 48 days, on the 8th of May, South Africa will hold its sixth national and provincial elections. Many of you will cast your vote, making your cross alongside the party you trust. Every vote will carry equal weight, no matter who you are or what you earn or where you live. Your voice will be equal in deciding who runs the governance of our country.
Not only that, but your vote will decide who stands in the gap and holds that government to account. You are electing the leaders and electing the watchdog who will challenge government to do what is right, what is good, and what is honest. It is crucial then that you vote with your head as well as with your heart. Weigh up the contenders. Look at their track record. Consider their words and evaluate their actions. Have they given you reason to trust them?
The IFP is campaigning for this election under a simple slogan: Trust Us. This message is at the core of our work for South Africa, because we know that social justice and economic justice will only be achieved when leaders of integrity are placed at the helm. If South Africa continues with leaders who lie, steal and cheat, our country will be doomed. We need to place integrity, principled leadership and strong moral values back at the centre of politics and governance.
This is the mission of the IFP. We are asking for your support to get a strong voice of reason and integrity into the leadership of our country. We are asking you to partner with the IFP to fix the crisis created by those who failed South Africa. We are asking for your vote, because the IFP has walked a long road with you, and we have always honoured your trust.
Today the IFP is bringing our election manifesto to Gauteng. We want you to know what the IFP believes in and what we are doing for you. Our message is simple, and it’s backed by 44 years of honest leadership, clean governance and workable solutions. So you can trust us.
Trust us to get the economy working.
Trust us to be tough on crime.
Trust us to promote responsible land reform.
Trust us to fix the education system.
Trust us to improve the healthcare system.
Trust us to champion gender equality.
Trust us to redesign the housing system.
Trust us to create a safe, reliable, affordable transport system.
Trust us to protect the environment.
There are many challenges facing Gauteng, but we have chosen these key issues as the starting point to build this Province.
For the IFP, the development of an inclusive economy is an absolute priority. Poverty and inequality in the distribution of income remain key concerns. We need to significantly improve access to employment opportunities, to reduce poverty, redress inequality and empower all families to enjoy the benefits of being able to create an income.
Tragically, weak leadership and unchecked corruption have brought the economy to its knees. We are now at less than 1% economic growth, while debt keeps rising and unemployment continues at devastating levels across South Africa. Here in Gauteng, unemployment is higher than the national average, and among the youth it is higher still. What this boils down to is gross social injustice; because until we have economic justice, social justice is a pipe dream.
With poverty and hardship so widespread, the latest fuel price hike has hit us hard. The fact that Eskom is struggling to keep the lights on again – even though the former President promised this would never happen – means small businesses are hurting to the point of collapse. We all feel the effects of a technical recession. You know this every time you go and buy food. We’re coming home with less and less, but spending more and more.
Fortunately, the IFP has a detailed plan to rescue the economy. It starts with getting the basics right, like focussing on local economic development, and supporting small businesses and public/private partnerships. We want an Unemployment Register in every municipality, to match job seekers to available jobs. A Department of Youth and Job Creation could put strategies in place to assist both job seekers and the work force to overcome obstacles, like lack of transport.
A safe, reliable and affordable transport system is necessary for the province’s economic growth, job creation and people’s quality of life. There needs to be a safety net for those who cannot afford private transport. The IFP champions the introduction of a one card system for all forms of local transport. We want e-tolls to be scrapped. We want the regulation of ride-hailing services like Uber and Taxify to be fast-tracked.
And we want to introduce a subsidised job seekers’ metro card for Gautrain, Metrobus and Rea Vaya. 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.
You deserve honest representatives with real solutions. But not every political party is offering solutions. Some are happy to just keep talking about the problem. Others 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.
If you want solutions, read the IFP’s manifesto. Then read it again. Think about it. Talk about it with your family and friends. Connect with us online. Ask questions. Visit our website. Because your vote is so important, you need to do the research. Don’t just flow with whatever nonsense is being said by firebrands and pessimists. Search out the truth. It is right here – read it!
Let me tell you what a practical solution looks like. Here in the City of Johannesburg, a group of community activists got together and wrote to the MMC for Transport, the Honourable Ms Nonhlanhla Helen Makhuba. They were worried about a certain road where many accidents were happening. The MMC received their letter, inspected the road, and put up a traffic light. No more accidents. Problem solved.
The MMC is of course an IFP leader. She works with the IFP’s ethic that service comes first. It’s about people, not politics. We are proud that the IFP is at the forefront of turning around the transport system in the City of Johannesburg through our leader, the MMC. It’s a pity that often she does the work, and then the Mayor cuts the ribbon. But that’s just politics.
The IFP has always done the work. When I think back to the toughest times under an apartheid government, when we administered KwaZulu on little more than a shoestring budget, and I am proud of what we achieved.
As payback for my refusal to take nominal independence for KwaZulu – which would have deprived millions of black South Africans of their citizenship – the apartheid regime made sure that KwaZulu received proportionally less than any other administration.
But that didn’t stop us. We didn’t throw our hands up in despair and blame a lack of resources. We found a way to partner with the people, to make every cent work, and to stretch resources to do more than just meet needs. We built more than 6000 classrooms, as well as clinics, hospitals, houses, community centres, police stations, universities, and even a bank that provided seed capital to entrepreneurs. We enticed investment, supported businesses and grew the industrial bases to ensure that more families enjoyed a stable income. We brought development in the darkest hour of apartheid.
And we did it all, for 19 years, without a single allegation of corruption ever being levelled at my administration. That is a legacy to be proud of.
The IFP carried that legacy into a democratic era, both into the Government of National Unity, and into the provincial administration of KwaZulu Natal, which we won twice in democratic elections. When the IFP was at the helm in the provincial government, no accusations of corruption ever blemished our MECs or any of our Premiers. We did things very differently. Because at the core of the IFP is integrity.
Today the ruling party has a massive budget at its disposal. It should by now have done the bare minimum to honour basic human rights. Tragically, that is not the case. Even now, after 25 years, more than two million children still have no toilets at their schools. They learn about a Constitution that calls them equal. They learn about human rights. But, when nature calls, they must squat above an unsafe pit toilet. For girls, the indignity is doubled.
Where is social justice?
When so many people still live in 21st century ghettos, vulnerable to thieves and rapists; when poverty eats away at human dignity; and when the justice system fails to protect; there are clear reasons why crime is so high in our country. We are all exposed to violence and danger.
Violence and the fear of violence have devastating effects on communities’ quality of life. Thus provision of public safety, security and access to justice is essential in ensuring a crime-free Gauteng. We want you to feel safe, and be safe.
To achieve this, the IFP champions the reprioritising of the SAPS budget to focus on community policing. We want to increase the visibility of police on the streets, in communities, in business centres and public places, and to intensify community partnerships in fighting crime. The IFP believes that a debate should be re-opened on the death penalty as a means to deter violent crimes.
We also believe that policing powers should be decentralised from national to provincial and local authorities. The IFP fought hard for the creation of provinces, and it was our stand at the negotiating table that saw South Africa receiving 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.
If we are to call ourselves a free and caring society, we must protect the vulnerable. This must become a priority. It is unacceptable that Government is spending more on a prison inmate than they are on a woman in a shelter who has fled from abuse. The justice system must be empowered and capacitated to deal with violence and abuse against women and children, as well as corruption, drugs, gangs and school-related violence.
It is time to heal the wounds in our nation.
Our people suffered immensely under colonial rule and apartheid, and thus reasonable measures must be taken to redress those past injustices and indignities. Our political democracy cannot thrive if the masses of our people remain without land or perceptible prospects for a better life. Indeed, land is the great debate in this election.
Much is being said about 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 a renewed economy.
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 training in schools, to teach the skills needed to run agricultural businesses.
We believe that all unused land that is in the hands of the State should be distributed to assist the poor, prioritising female-headed households. Existing land claims must be fast-tracked and the window reopened for further applications and claims. 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 know that education is a necessary key for sustainable and effective development. It is an important tool which enables each one of us to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and ethics needed to shape a sustainable future. Hence, a world class education is an absolute priority in Gauteng.
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.
Once again it’s about getting the basics right: reducing class sizes, 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. Along with instilling discipline through codes of conduct, school security must be prioritised. We need to do far better to protect our children and give them a head start.
With our focus on the wellbeing of citizens, the IFP has designed a social welfare and healthcare package to meet the needs of today and the future. Good health is an individual goal which has a broader effect on the socio-economic wellbeing of our Province.
Every Gauteng resident deserves high-quality, affordable healthcare. That will require greater access to facilities, decreasing the cost of medicine, and increasing training and capacity for healthcare workers, while improving their working conditions. There must be greater support for the NGOs who deliver essential services on behalf of Government. We need more rehabilitation facilities, and greater priority should be given to mental health.
The sad reality is that the healthcare system is failing. Therefore, those who can, opt to pay enormous medical aid premiums for private healthcare. Often that doesn’t even cover a doctor’s visit, unless you have gap cover as well. The end result is that people just aren’t going to the doctor anymore when they feel pain or discomfort. But that means that diseases aren’t being diagnosed early enough for effective treatment, and people are living with chronic illness that could have been healed. This has to change.
When it comes to social welfare, the IFP’s primary goal is to empower people, while assisting the vulnerable in times of distress. The IFP strongly supports social grants, within the framework of self-help and self-reliance. We know that there needs to be a meaningful increase in the Old Age Grant and the Disability Grant.
The IFP was in fact the first to introduce a social grant in South Africa. Thus we fought hard for SASSA grants to continue uninterrupted when Government’s incompetence threatened to collapse the system.
The IFP is no stranger to making Government do what it’s meant to do. I think for instance of our fight to get anti-retrovirals to all those infected with HIV.
Through the leadership of our late Premier Dr LPHM Mtshali, we 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 have always championed the health, wellbeing and empowerment of women, for we know that women are the backbone of our nation.
Achieving genuine and meaningful gender equality is a major strategic goal of the IFP in Gauteng. Women continue to bear the brunt of many hardships found at the confluence of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Thus the IFP has 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 Code of Zulu Laws which made married women perpetual minors and under the custody of their husbands. This freedom came for Zulu women ten years before similar provisions were repealed for white women. The IFP was far ahead of the times.
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. When constitutional negotiations began at the World Trade Centre, the IFP had the largest percentage of women in our delegation.
All these actions were taken when it was not politically required to do so. We did it because of the important contribution women have to make. To the IFP, gender equality is a reality, not just a slogan.
We understand what the women of Gauteng face each day. There are practical actions that can be taken to assist you. The IFP will ensure that women and girls in urban and township centres have equal access to career development, training, scholarships and fellowships. We want to see women participating in all decision-making processes as empowered agents of change. We believe there is a need to create all-inclusive community-based forums, assembled by experts and development practitioners, to deliberate on interventions to transform patriarchal beliefs and eradicate gender-based violence.
One of the most fundamental changes that is needed in Gauteng is spatial transformation. There is a dire need to redress apartheid-spatial planning. After decades of a corrupt housing waiting list, tender fraud and dodgy contractors who get away with shoddy work, millions of South Africans have moved from shacks to sub-standard houses that are falling apart. That is not good enough. It doesn’t meet the requirement of basic human rights.
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. We want young people and women to be involved. As we build our communities, we want to see water, roads and electricity prioritised, for this infrastructure creates a conducive environment for small businesses to flourish where people live.
There are basic problems that must be addressed. We have seen one motion after another being debated in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature calling on Government to create a hostel policy and to eradicate single sex dormitories, which are inhumane and unsustainable. But nothing has been done.
Hostels must be converted into family units and integrated into the broader community. Integrated community housing developments must be prioritised, especially in informal settlements, and unused state land must be released for housing development projects. Contractors must be held accountable for the quality of their workmanship and materials, with penalties for anything below standard. And we need to increase access to affordable housing for the missing middle.
We want to give you a better start at building the life you dream of.
It is tragic that many of our brothers and sisters in neighbouring countries lack the possibility of building that life in their own countries, and so they flee to South Africa. One need only walk through inner city Johannesburg to know that undocumented migration is straining infrastructure, resources and relationship.
I served as Minister of Home Affairs for the first ten years of democracy. Under my leadership, we developed migration policy that could open South Africa’s door to investment and skills, while closing it to illegal migration. We worked to achieve a balance between human rights, social justice and economic stability.
Incidentally, as the first Minister of Home Affairs, it also fell within my line function to propose public holidays. In commemoration of those who lost their lives in Sharpeville on the 21st of March 1960, when they protested against pass laws, I proposed in Cabinet that this day be set aside as Human Rights Day; a day to remember the fight we won to enshrine human rights for all South Africans in the Constitution. Frankly, I would have been happier if it was called the Robert Sobukwe Human Rights Day.
Unfortunately, when my time as Minister of Home Affairs ended, many of the good policies and legislation created around migration were thrown out and changed by an ANC Cabinet. The migration system floundered, enabling illegal migration to explode. Now, our built environment is under strain.
I often find that I am alone when I speak about the natural environment. Even now, in this campaign when so many people can be reached with important messages, very few politicians are speaking about the environment. But the truth is, a healthy, sustainable environment is crucial to achieving socio-economic development in a transitioning economy like ours.
Environmentally unsustainable practises are a threat to life. We need to pursue economic development while keeping waste, pollution and resource consumption within acceptable levels. There are simple things that can be done. The IFP believes, for instance, that all communities should be provided with recycling hubs where community recycling initiatives can form part of an employment initiative.
It’s time to talk about issues like renewable energy and the banning of single-use plastics. But 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?
It is time to decide what you will do with your vote.
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.
I was disgusted by attacks made on the IFP following our national manifesto launch, by ANC activists who masquerade as analysts. On SABC and in the newspapers, they spewed their venom, accusing me with the tired old lie of violence. The truth about our country’s past has been exposed, both by those who are finally speaking up and by objective academics like Dr Anthea Jeffery whose seminal work details the people’s war; the ANC’s project of bloodshed.
Because of that people’s war, the past is characterised by violence, counter-violence and pre-emptive violence that cost some 20 000 black lives. At the time I said that the right to defend oneself is part of our jurisprudence. But I never once authorised the taking up of arms or the use of violence by any Inkatha member. Inkatha consistently held to the principle of non-violence.
During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the President of the ANC and many ANC leaders, even in Cabinet, filed amnesty applications in which they admitted to having committed “grave violations of human rights”. The law defines this as involving murder, torture or mayhem. They all received blanket amnesty, without ever having to disclose what they did.
But I refused to apply for amnesty, because never once had I ordered, authorised or condoned a single act of violence. I had always called for peace and an end to violence. I urged against retaliation and constantly sought to restore calm. It was a difficult position to maintain while my people were under prolonged, brutal attack. But it was the only position my conscience and my faith would allow.
I could not apply for amnesty when I had done nothing wrong. Instead, I publically stated that if I had committed any crime or had orchestrated any criminal act, the State should charge me. That never happened.
South Africa is tired of the old lies and propaganda. It’s time for the truth. It’s time for honesty in the public debate, and honesty from political leaders. I must admit, I was surprised by the frank honesty of the Secretary General of the ANC in an interview with eNCA last week. He openly said that people will vote for the ANC nationally, but provincially they’ll vote for the IFP, because the IFP was born in the ANC!
The truth is, the IFP is a powerful force for good in the administration of provincial government. We do it well, and we do it with integrity.
So I ask you to give us the opportunity to lead, 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.
I want to speak particularly to the youth. 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? Don’t leave your future 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.”
On May the 8th, I want to see young people flooding the polling stations. You may be angry, but you are also creative and passionate and endlessly innovative. You have a crucial contribution to make to the salvation and success of South Africa. We need your 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. So let us bridge every gap, and unite, so that all of us can begin working towards the same goal.
The IFP is creating social justice and economic justice, and we are doing it for you. I invite you to partner with us.
Vote for the party you can trust.