Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
AmaHlongwa Community Hall, Mkhomazi: Sunday, 12 April 2015
Friends, I have heard good reports coming out of AmaHlongwa.
I have heard that people are taking charge of their own destiny and taking it into their own hands to change the way things are done in this community.
I have heard that people in AmaHlongwa are no longer willing to be lied to, misled, pacified and made to wait endlessly for unfulfilled promises. I have heard that change is coming, driven by the will of good people who want good things for themselves and their families.
When I heard these reports, I immediately began making plans to visit AmaHlongwa. Clearly the IFP is on the move in this place. And I was visited by some of my comrades in Durban who wished that I should make today’s visit. They wanted to assure me that they are back in the Party.
It is good to see so many people wanting to join the IFP family; and it’s wonderful to welcome back those who were once part of our team. I have come here in person to congratulate you, for you are evidently thinking in terms of what you can do to improve governance and political representation, rather than thinking in terms of what politicians can do for you.
That is the hallmark of IFP people. Forty years ago, on the 21st of March 1975, Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe was founded on the twin pillars of self-help and self-reliance. Right from the beginning we urged people to think for themselves and to create solutions. We encouraged participation, dialogue and shared responsibility.
Over the next forty years, this Party empowered people with the tools to shape their own circumstances, and we have made a tremendous difference in the lives of millions of South Africans.
Everything we do is founded on a solid base of values and principles. As you searched for a political home that would speak your language and express your viewpoint, I am glad that you remembered the values and principles of the IFP. You remembered what we stand for and what we have achieved over four decades. You remembered what it was like to work within a team that is on a mission of goodwill.
Those of you who are coming to the IFP for first time no doubt know something about us. We have been serving in South Africa and in KwaZulu Natal for such a long time that people know us. They know our character. So you have come to the IFP with certain expectations: the expectation that we will value your participation, that we will listen to you and operate with integrity.
Your expectations, whether you are joining the IFP for the first time or returning home, will not be disappointed. The values and principles of the IFP have remained the same over 40 years. Our character is unchanged and our vision unaltered.
But for those of you who are returning, I want to warn you that the IFP you knew is somehow different to the IFP you are joining. We are not the IFP of 2011. We are not the same party that was so divided when some of our members left. We have had four years to heal and we discovered that, as soon as those who were discontented left, the IFP immediately became more unified.
Over the past four years, our unity, focus and strength have returned, and we have found ourselves better positioned to influence the political debate in South Africa. In 2012, the IFP’s general conference amended the Party’s Constitution to provide for a Deputy President, and we have set in place a smooth leadership transition. We are now focussed on increasing our branches ahead of the next Local Government Elections in 2016. And throughout this year, we are celebrating the IFP’s 40th anniversary.
So, as you join to the IFP, you are likely to sense that something is different. We are not inwardly focussed as we had to be in 2011 while treachery and threats arose within. We are focussed outward, on how we can best serve, because within we are a cohesive and unified team. That is something that few, if any, other parties can claim.
There is a palpable sense of instability and friction in the ranks of our opponents. Undoubtedly, both the ANC and the NFP made a mistake when they entered a coalition immediately after the 2011 Local Government Elections.
That was a decision taken at the top, without consultation among Party members. It wasn’t long before NFP councillors were siding with the IFP to vote against their own coalition partner. The ANC and NFP struggle to hold together their marriage of convenience.
While they do that, service delivery and development projects are forced to play second fiddle. Indeed, even proper municipal management has taken a backseat to politicking between the coalition partners. Less than two years in, municipalities under their governance began to be placed under administration by the Provincial Government for severe mismanagement.
Thus your own role in the influencing how things are done has been compromised. All sorts of promises were made in 2011 about what these parties would do for you if you gave them your vote. It has been almost five years. What have they delivered? Mismanaged municipalities. A coalition leadership riddled with division. Stalled service delivery. Financial losses. Broken promises. AmaHlongwa deserves better.
You deserve a political leadership with a proven track record of integrity and good governance. I ask you today to remember what it was like when Inkatha led KwaZulu. Ask your parents and your grandparents about the community development projects initiated by Inkatha. Ask them how we raised funds, Rand for Rand, to build clinics, schools and houses. Ask them whether there was ever any whiff of corruption in our administration.
For almost two decades Inkatha led KwaZulu with integrity and excellence.
After 1994, we continued to lead KwaZulu Natal on the mandate of the electorate, and we gave this province three premiers who served honourably.
We have never had to be ashamed of an IFP leader and we have never had to cover up transgressions by one of our own.
Our leaders know that the IFP does not tolerate corruption in any form, whether it is open abuse of power, self-enrichment or simple inaction. We expect much from our leaders, and they deliver.
Over four decades, the IFP has partnered with communities and individuals to improve lives one step at a time. In partnership, we have moved forward and changed lives. We have been honest about what is possible, and we have worked consistently to deliver, often achieving what seemed impossible at first.
What we have not done, however, is promise the sun, moon and stars, just to get your vote. That is the way our opponents do it, knowing well that they will never deliver. Their short-term goal is power.
For the IFP, the goal is a long-term one. It is the goal of a working partnership that delivers growth and development, as well as a strengthened political voice. Over the long-term, the IFP has delivered. We have been realistic about the value national government places on local governance, and we’ve been honest about the limitations inherent in the small budget allocated to municipal governance. But we’ve worked well with the resources available and have earned your trust.
Now an opportunity is coming to put the party you trust at the helm of governance. A year from now, we will once again have Local Government Elections. You will have the opportunity to go to the polls and bring change through the ballot box.
There is much to be done before 2016 to ensure that change comes to AmaHlongwa. The challenge before us all in the coming months is to mobilise support for the IFP. If you are a member of the IFP, you are also an organiser. Take the initiative. Draw people in. Talk about the IFP wherever you go and rally people together to form a branch.
The only bad thing which is becoming a trend in most parties, including the IFP, is the development of camps within parties. I want to warn about this cancer because when we welcome back our brothers and sisters who were in the Party before, I want us to do so wholeheartedly. We should accept their bona fides. We should not treat them as separate from us. We should not try to elbow them out of positions of responsibility. I did not like some backtalk that reached my ears that some of our members here were showing some resentment when our brothers and sisters approached me directly about returning home, feeling that they should have been given notice about this before they got to me. I hope that our members should know my style of leadership. Any member of the Party has direct access to me and I have dealt with members on the ground many times without going via other leaders of the Party. And that is not because I am participating in any snubbing of my fellow leaders in any area. I appeal with all the humility I can master to all our leaders and members in the Ugu District to embrace our comrades who have decided to return to the fold.
I say please comrades, and please comrades make all our brothers and sisters to feel very much at home. We need every vote during the forthcoming local government elections. We need the input of every member of the Party to achieve this.
For the last 3 or 4 years I have been appealing to our members and leaders to please set up branches. I was not heeded when I made this appeal before our general elective conference in 2012. And I was not listened to when I made an impassioned appeal before last year’s general election. I told our members that we needed branches in order to achieve the greatest impact during elections. Our branches have always been converted into Election Committees during elections. We may have well attended rallies like today’s rally, and I want to tell you these rallies will mean nothing during elections or by-elections if we do not have strong branches as distinct from bogus branches that some of our leaders present to us as branches just to bluff us, to hide their dishonesty and laziness.
I was surprised that when it was suggested some time back that branches be no less than 50, then everywhere branches have only 50 members. Then later the Party raised this figure to 150 and then all branches were presented as 150 in each constituency or district. This is clearly the biggest fraud our members are committing. We had branches of several hundreds in the past not with such paltry membership of just 150!
What is happening now is, people who are in Parliament, in the Legislatures, and in our Councils are only concerned about their positions and not about the day to day work of the Party. It is branches that should really monitor us whether we are in Parliament, in the Legislatures or in Municipalities as councillors. There is no reason to return as councillors next year people who have no branches and who as Councillors have no contact with people on the ground. So to all our members here I have come to put the challenge before you. Those who have put together bogus branches better dismantle them and create proper branches such as those we had when we got the majority of votes in this Province, in1994 and 1999 when we ran this Province.
Please cut out the feeling that seems to pervade amongst our members that as long as I am in Parliament everything is ok. As long as I am in the Legislature everything is just fine. As long as I am a councillor everything is ok. Let us bury this evil attitude today here at AmaHlongwa today. Not only at AmaHlongwa but throughout the country.
We need to be active, motivated political participants. We need to be the catalysts of change. Today is a significant day, because today we are strengthening the IFP for the fight. You can be sure that our opponents won’t give up power without a fight. They are going to dig in their heels.
If we are to unseat them, we will need to send out a loud and very clear message.
That message is being formed here, today. It is a message that says the IFP is stronger. The IFP is more unified and it is growing. We are attracting people of goodwill from across the political spectrum, because we have something valuable to offer.
The IFP has been serving South Africa with integrity for 40 years. Today, you are coming home to a party on the move. Join us as we march toward victory in 2016. Join us to put the power back in your hands.
I welcome you home to the IFP.