Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
Thank you for welcoming me so warmly this afternoon. I have come here simply to greet you and to encourage you, as we prepare for the Local Government Elections next month. I have been travelling the length and breadth of our country, speaking to people from all communities about what these elections mean. Wherever I go, I hear one question: “Who can I trust?”
In the 22 years since 1994, South Africa has never been at such a low point of distrust. A rift has opened between Government and the people, because of corrupt, uncaring and arrogant leaders. Something fundamental has changed in the ruling party and they are no longer the kind of leaders our country needs. We now stand at a crossroads. The time is right for a leadership change. If we miss this moment, things will just get worse.
Everything points to the need to bring honesty, sound values and integrity back into governance. The only way to do that is to empower a leadership you can trust. That is the leadership of the IFP. You know the IFP. I don’t need to tell you about our track record; about how we governed this Province with excellence; about how we administer municipalities in partnership with the people. I don’t need to tell you that we are a leadership you can trust, because you already know this.
What I do want to tell you is that the IFP is ready and willing to put things right in your municipality. We have been steadily growing since 2011 when our party was split by the NFP. Over the past five years we have welcomed back thousands upon thousands of members who returned the IFP. They have rejoined us and we have knitted them into the fabric of the IFP, so that each of them can make their contribution and express their voice. The IFP is more unified, stronger, and more focussed in 2016.
We therefore go into this election with confidence, knowing that those who walk with the IFP are passionate and committed. We have seen municipalities restored to the IFP through by-elections, as the electorate calls on us to return. On August 3rd, we intend to strengthen our partnership with the people we serve as the electorate makes their mark for the IFP. When we win, you win, because a leadership of integrity will be restored.
But while we go into elections with confidence, we also know that victory demands hard work. We have not been resting on our laurels. The IFP has been hard at work taking a message of hope to all South Africans. Our election manifesto for 2016 contains some very good reasons to vote for the IFP. It also reveals our heart, so that you know what we stand for and what we believe. We have been distributing our manifesto far and wide, and encouraging people to put their trust in the IFP.
But there is more that needs to be done. We need to think strategically. If you want to restore a party you can trust in Newcastle and Amajuba, you need to be ready for this election. There are things that need to be done well in advance. We need volunteers who will spread the message of the IFP, take our manifestos into communities, and assist people to get to voting stations. We need people who will be vigilant on election day, watching to see that no one is bussed in to vote where they don’t reside. That is an old trick of our opponents to sway the vote in their favour.
We want this election to be free and fair. We want a democratic outcome. To get that, we need to make sure that no one is tricked, manipulated or intimidated. Don’t allow your vote to be bought, and don’t believe empty promises. Where has that got you before? It’s time to put your weight behind people you trust. I therefore invite you to become a volunteer, so that together we can ensure a good electoral outcome for Osizweni.
The other thing we need to do, right now, is secure transport for everyone who needs it, so that everyone can get to a voting station on August 3rd. There are many who walk long distances to go and vote, and this creates all sorts of problems. If you are a mother with small children, do you make them walk with you? If you are elderly, or ill, do you forfeit your right to vote because the distance is just too great? What if the weather is inclement?
Last month, when clashes between taxi and bus operators left many people stranded in Osizweni, you saw what kind of inconvenience it created. It is a simple matter of logistics, but it can dramatically affect an electoral outcome. I therefore urge you to make plans now to get to your voting station on August 3rd. Before month end, everyone must know how they will get there. To those who have their own cars, I want to appeal to you to assist your neighbours and friends, and to go out of your way to take the sick and the elderly, and anyone who can’t get there, so that everyone can vote.
This election is just too important not to vote. It will determine the kind of leadership you get in your municipality for the next five years. It will decide whether your voice is respected in local government, and whether your needs are met. The councillors you choose in this election will be the people you work with until 2021. You want to choose the right people; people who are backed by a party you can trust.
When you vote for an IFP candidate, you are voting for 41 years of good governance. You are voting for development, stability, education, security and jobs. We know how to achieve these things by putting policies in place that turn the tide. I am not making promises we cannot keep. You have had enough empty promises from the ruling party. What I am saying is backed up by a track record that anyone can see. Where the IFP governs, good things follow.
As we grow, I encourage you to join an IFP branch and bring your contribution to the good governance of your community. Whether you are a long-standing member of the IFP, or have recently joined, or are thinking of joining, the best place to participate is in a branch. In this way your voice is carried into the decisions of our party at provincial and national level. If there is no branch near you, I invite you start a branch, for there are many in your immediate neighbourhood who will benefit from joining the IFP family. If you are looking for a new political home, this is it.
Our message to returning members, particularly from the NFP, remains the same. We say, “Welcome home.” There is deep uncertainty right now about whether the NFP will contest the August 3rd elections because their national leadership failed to comply with the IEC deadlines. The IEC has announced that the NFP will not contest the elections, and the matter is now before the Electoral Court. Whatever the outcome, our message stays the same. You will always have a home in the IFP.
We have just one month to secure victory for the next five years. Let’s get the message out that change is possible. The power to create the future in your hands. Make it a future you can look forward to, with a party you trust.
Trust us. Vote IFP!