Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Truro Hall, Northdale, Pietermaritzburg
The people gathered in this hall have something significant in common. We are all passionate about making good decisions. Good decisions for our future, good decisions for our country, and good decisions for our families.
This has brought you to the IFP. I want to commend you for thinking about the challenges we all face, and for looking for a way that you can make a difference. Many political parties will tell you what they can do for you. And, unfortunately, most of it is just hot air. But there is only one party that offers you the opportunity to become the master of your own destiny; a policy maker, a history shaper, and an activist for goodwill.
The IFP has been serving South Africa since 1975. We have been in governance and in opposition politics. We have worked under apartheid and under democracy. We have influence at the national level, and in local municipalities. We are formidable survivors and leaders of integrity. Our principles have remained uncompromised over 40 years.
One of these principles is the principle of self-help and self-reliance. The IFP believes in empowering people to change their own circumstances. We believe in developing skills, opening opportunities, creating partnerships and working towards a shared vision. Over the years, we have enabled countless individuals to become part of the development of their communities. We have seen lives changed and families made stronger.
Today, as I welcome you to the IFP, I want to tell you a bit about our values. I know that you have been attracted to the IFP because of what we stand for, and because we place tremendous importance on being trustworthy, reliable and honest. Coming as you do from other political folds, it is clear that you are already interested in politics and in being involved in a political party. What you have no doubt learnt, is that which political party you choose makes all the difference.
Not all parties are equal. Yes, we all stand for democracy, freedom, an end to poverty and unemployment, social justice and human rights. These values are probably enshrined in every constitution of every political party active in South Africa. But how we express these values and what priority we give them differs immensely.
Some parties, for instance, will advocate democracy; but then try to buy your vote, or manipulate electoral results, or form sudden marriages of convenience to foist on you a leadership that you didn’t choose through the ballot box. Some will talk about putting an end to poverty, but will prioritise giving jobs to pals and enriching ‘tenderpreneurs’. Some will say they champion social justice, but when it comes to prosecuting criminals or funding NGOs like Rape Crisis Centres, they are slow to act and can find a million other things to do.
One of the big differences between the IFP and other political parties is where we stand on corruption. Again, every party talks about corruption. But the proof is in the pudding. The IFP led the Government of KwaZulu for 19 years under the dominating fist of apartheid. In all that time, never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled at my administration.
Our Cabinet Ministers, myself included as Chief Minister of KwaZulu, didn’t receive nearly the kind of salaries that government ministers can expect, because our administration prioritised service over self-enrichment. The budget we received to run KwaZulu was smaller than that of any other administration in South Africa. This was pay-back for my refusal to accept nominal independence for KwaZulu, which would have left millions of black South Africans without citizenship.
We knew that we had severely limited resources to work with. When so many were suffering, it would have been unconscionable for a few to get big salaries. So we poured ourselves into doing the most we could with what we had, keeping careful watch over financial administration, and ensuring that every cent reached the programme it was allocated to.
Now, when I look at the billions of Rands that vanish every year, in wasteful, irregular and fruitless expenditure, and the billions that are unaccounted for because of financial mismanagement and maladministration, I wonder how those in leadership can dare look you in the eye. The resources available now are enormous. Much, much more could be done to change the circumstances of our people.
With hardly anything, the IFP-led government built some 6000 schools in KwaZulu.
Since democracy, with all the vast resources of government available to it, the ruling party has built but a tiny fraction of that in KwaZulu Natal. So they might say that they stand for education. But clearly they feel other things are far more important.
This is where the IFP is different. When we say we believe in accessible, quality healthcare for all who need it, we mean we are ready to go all the way to the Constitutional Court for a mother’s right to receive ARVs to prevent transmitting HIV/Aids to her baby at birth. We actually did that. We rolled out ARVs across KwaZulu Natal when we led this Province in the first ten years of democracy, and we went to the Constitutional Court to force national government to follow suit.
The IFP is always ready to act on our stated principles, because to us they are more than just words on a piece of paper. For forty years we have lived our convictions. Did you know that it was the IFP that insisted on a Bill of Rights in our democratic Constitution? It was also the IFP that insisted on provinces, to bring the power of governance closer to the people.
Why should you be dictated to from offices in Pretoria? You are the best judge of what is needed in your community. You should be empowered to design solutions that meet your specific needs. The IFP values people, not power.
For the IFP, members are not just numbers or votes in the bag. Our members are deeply involved in the life and work of the Party. We encourage constant political activism; not in the form of social protests, but in the form of actions that will mobilise a revolution of goodwill. We encourage acts of service and expressions of responsibility. That, in fact, is the hallmark of IFP members. They make a positive difference wherever they go, changing things for the better.
As you seek your place in this revolution of goodwill, I welcome you to a political family that values your contribution. We value you; not just for what you can bring to the Party, but for who you are as an individual. Each of you has a unique talent, idea or character that will bring value to our family. I encourage you to make your mark through the IFP.
There is good reason to bring in your friends, colleagues, family and acquaintances, so that the IFP’s cause will be strengthened. I ask you to speak to people about your membership of the IFP and let them know what the IFP stands for. Mobilise support and get a new branch going in your area. As the IFP grows bigger, our influence over how things are done will expand. The stronger the IFP in local governance, the more you will see your municipal representatives walking the talk.
There is much to be done ahead of the 2016 Local Government Elections. In the year between now and then, let us strengthen the IFP. I welcome you to this exciting cause, and I welcome you to the IFP family. You have made a good decision.
IFP Media, Parliament