PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Yesterday many of us celebrated Easter in the churches of Jozini. It is good to know that this same celebration was being held in villages, towns and cities throughout the world. It reminded us that wherever we live and whatever language we speak, there are things that unite us. Whether it is our faith, our values or our dreams, we have many things in common with people of goodwill everywhere.
Perhaps foremost among all these things is our desire for justice. The pursuit of social justice was built into the first democratic Constitution of South Africa. We placed it at the foundation of a liberated country, because we understood that social justice encompasses everything we want for ourselves and our fellow South Africans.
Social justice means equality. It means having access to resources and opportunities. It means having a home, water, food and clothing. It means being safe from abuse, violence and crime. It means having a voice, and having your voice respected. It means being treated with dignity whatever your age, income or abilities. Social justice means access to healthcare and education. It means that you are empowered to develop your full potential.
Long before we negotiated a democratic Constitution, the IFP was fighting for social justice. For more than four decades we have been the champion of the oppressed, the struggling and the poor. Everything we have done has been aimed at achieving greater freedom, greater development, and greater opportunities for you.
Throughout all this time, the IFP has known some tremendous victories. I suspect that the youth among us may not know what happened in Ingwavuma in the eighties. Even the older generation tends to forget. But Ingwavuma became the centre of a fight for the voiceless.
On 18 June 1982, the apartheid government announced that it had repossessed Ingwavuma and kaNgwane. It was going to give away people and land to Swaziland, as though you were mere pieces on a chess board. A million black South Africans would have automatically lost their citizenship. Government had not consulted the people of Ingwavuma, nor the KwaZulu Territorial Authority.
As Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, I opposed this vile plan. Through the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, I took the issue to the Natal Supreme Court. Within less than a month the court ruled against the Government, cancelling its plans. Of course, the apartheid government appealled the ruling. But the Appeals Court in Bloemfontein upheld the Supreme Court’s decision and Ingwavuma remained part of South Africa. This is a legacy of the IFP.
Were it not for my principled opposition to injustice, you would not be South African citizens. You would not be served by the Jozini Local Municipality or fall under the Umkhanyakude District. And you would certainly not be voting in a by-election on Wednesday this week.
I think it is important to remember this history, because we need to be reminded of the power we have to shape our own destiny. No one has the right to decide for us. Our hard-won democracy means that we all have a right to express our opinions and we all have a right to vote.
That extends to local government. The way we express our opinion on municipal governance is through the ballot box. If we want a leadership of integrity, we need to vote that leadership into position. If we want accountability, productivity and honesty from our representatives, we need to vote for councillors backed by a party that believes in those values.
I am proud of the IFP, because I know the kind of people who serve in this party. When I come to you to ask you to vote IFP, I am confident that you are voting for the best possible candidate. From the National Executive Committee all the way down to branch leadership, the IFP seeks out the right people for the job. We don’t give people positions based on their connections, but based on their character and work ethic, because we believe that leaders must earn your respect.
I am therefore confident in our candidate for this ward, Mr Sibonelo Victor Mathenjwa, because he has already earned your respect. He is a trusted leader who works hard for this community. But more than that, he is backed by the IFP. We will hold him accountable for keeping his word, for serving your needs, for listening to you and representing your voice in the municipal council.
We were deeply saddened by the death of Councillor Dlamini earlier this year. It is difficult for a community to lose a leader. There is a vacuum now that must be filled, so that service delivery continues in Jozini the way it should. The question is who will fill that vacuum. It is important that you elect the right leader. This is not something you can leave to chance. You need to vote on Wednesday.
You have the opportunity to change the way things are done in this ward, so that governance becomes better, smoother and more inclusive. It is no coincidence that the IFP runs the Jozini Municipality. The electorate chose us in 2016. It is no coincidence that we run the Umkhayakude District Municipality either. The electorate chose us for this work too.
Indeed, in the last local government elections, the electorate spoke in a loud voice calling on the IFP to be restored to power. It was not only here in Jozini that voters empowered the IFP. The IFP won in Big 5/Hlabisa and in Mtubatuba as well, placing the entire district of Umkhanyakude under the IFP’s leadership. We won in Nkandla, keeping former President Zuma’s hometown under an IFP administration. We won in Mtonjaneni, in Msinga and in Endumeni. In Ulundi and in Nongoma, the IFP won every single ward. We won Abaqulusi as well, placing the IFP at the helm in the Zululand District Municipality. We also won in Nquthu, and after months of fighting the ANC’s shenanigans, a fresh by-election reconfirmed the IFP’s victory. Thus we gained Umzinyathi District as well.
All of this happened because voters had carefully considered the options. They had judged the kind of leadership they were getting from our opponents, and found that our opponents were failing. Many of the municipalities taken over from the IFP in the 2011 local government elections faced serious problems as soon as the ANC/NFP coalition took over.
Within less than a year, municipalities run by the ANC/NFP coalition bore the hallmarks of failure. Mtubutuba was in trouble. Umkhanyakude was in trouble. Zululand District was in trouble. Indaka was in trouble. Abaqulusi was in trouble. Umlalazi was in trouble. Nongoma was in trouble. uPhongolo was in trouble. And, yes, Jozini was in very turbulent waters. Instead of delivering on all the promises they had made before the elections, the ANC and the NFP were running Jozini into the ground.
So it is no surprise that as soon as the voters could return to the ballot box, they called on the IFP to lead. You recognised that the IFP’s values are not found in other parties, and the IFP’s values are essential in governance.
But our opponents didn’t go quietly. Instead of respecting the will of the electorate, they cooked up a way to manipulate the outcome of by-election results in Jozini. You will recall how by-elections here had to be postponed, not once, but twice, because the Electoral Commission discovered that the ANC was bussing in people from outside Jozini to vote.
It is a criminal offence to vote in a ward where you don’t reside. This is to protect the genuine voice of the people who live in the ward. Why should someone from outside be allowed to decide who should lead Jozini? That is your choice. Your rights and your voice should never be manipulated for the sake of gaining political power.
The IFP is quite different from other political parties. We place people before power. We care about serving your needs, not the needs of the party. That is why the IFP works through partnerships with the people we serve, rather than disappearing after elections are held.
Let me tell you, the IFP has always held the higher moral ground. When it came to the battle for Ingwavuma in the 1980s, the ANC didn’t stand up for Ingwavuma. At the time, there were rumours that Mr Oliver Tambo was trying to support King Sobhuza because the King was donating money to the ANC. They didn’t want to lose his patronage, so they kept silent when the apartheid government tried to give Ingwavuma away to the Swazi King.
It wasn’t the ANC that saved you. It was Inkatha. I am not shy to say this, because it is the truth. The IFP has always taken up the fight for the people we serve. We have always put the people first. And we are still doing that today.
There are other parties contesting the Jozini by-elections on Wednesday. But none of them has the track record that we have of serving, building, developing and assisting.
I want to warn you to be careful of parties that campaign on the basis of emotions. I have not heard anything from the EFF beyond fiery rhetoric and divisive statements. Mr Julius Malema has even said that traditional land in this Province should be taken away from the custodianship of our King and given to the ANC-led national government. He said this after visiting our King and giving him gifts of cattle.
I cannot fathom how a political leader can be so disrespectful. But it is clear that the EFF is intent on dividing South Africans and pitting us against each other. They talk about wanting to tear things down. But that is not what our country needs. We need builders and workers and people of goodwill who are willing to make their contribution. We need to heal our country, not tear it apart in the name of so-called economic freedom.
There is a way to build the economic prosperity that underpins social justice. The IFP knows how to do it and we’ve been working consistently year after year to achieve it. We have had to fight all the way against challenges brought in by other parties. Challenges like corruption, incompetence and immoral leadership. These things have slowed down economic development. South Africa should have been much further on the road to stability than we are right now.
But there is still hope. The IFP is still fighting and still building. And we are still very much alive. Our support has been growing and will continue to grow as more and more revolutionaries of goodwill join the ranks of the IFP.
If you share our vision and our values, I encourage you to speak through the ballot box this coming Wednesday. At 07:00 on Wednesday morning, voting stations will open at Ntsinde High School, Vezukusa Primary School, Nkangala Primary School, Majozini Primary School, St Alexist Primary School and Ophande Primary School. These voting stations will be open until 21:00 at night.
But I urge you not to delay. Be ready early in the morning to cast your vote for good governance. Then, once you have made your voice heard, you can spend the rest of the day encouraging your family, your neighbours and your friends to go and make their voice heard as well.
Tell them about the IFP and the partnership we have with this community. Remind them that the IFP is your champion. We have gone to war for you before. We will gladly do it again. Our battle is against social injustice. Join us on the battlefield, for the victory will surely be ours.
I thank you.