With the litany of failures and broken promises from the ruling party, the campaign for Local Government Elections is practically writing itself. Opposition parties have a plethora of examples to point to in showing why the ruling party needs to be voted out.
The IFP, however, has never been one to crow about other’s failures. As the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, and a strong national opposition to the ruling party, the IFP has based its campaign – not on their failures – but on our solutions. We have given South Africa our track record of good governance and honest leadership, and invited everyone to become part of building South Africa.
Despite our focus being on the positive, the ruling party has stayed obsessed with its own failures, and has decided as always that the best form of defence is attack. Their difficulty, however, is in knowing how to attack a Party that offers solutions, honest leadership and good governance.
So when the IFP fell victim to a terrible mistake by a staff member on Monday, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal pounced on it as irrefutable proof of gross malfeasance that supposedly wipes out 46 years of integrity. This is truly desperate.
The IFP had already owned the mistake, corrected it and apologised unconditionally. The facts are these.
On their own initiative, an IFP staff member posted an infographic on the IFP’s Facebook page, expressing our known support for the institution of traditional leadership. The text conveyed exactly what is contained in our Manifesto, pointing out the role of Amakhosi in the good governance of communities. But a serious error was made when they accompanied the text with an image of His Majesty, the King of the Zulu Nation.
Unfortunately, the standard chain of guidance, sanction and approval was not followed. The infographic was posted to social media without any IFP leader or office bearer knowing about it. When the post appeared, we immediately removed it.
This was a serious mistake for which we took full responsibility. We did not try to hide it or deny it or deflect attention. It was not done intentionally. It was not intended to draw His Majesty the King into politics. It was not part of the IFP’s campaign strategy.
Yet these are the accusations by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal as they gleefully engage in the politics of shaming.
We expect that from them. But what we must respond to is the false reporting in various media articles on this matter.
Again and again headlines have read that the IFP used the King’s image on its election posters. This is absolutely untrue. Not a single IFP poster contains an image of His Majesty the King.
In every party, printed posters go through a rigorous process of design and approvals to ensure that they carry the party’s core message. Posters always have approval of leadership at some level. A poster is very different to a Tweet or a Facebook post, which can be done with the press of a button, by anyone, acting on their own.
If we had used the King’s image on a poster, it would be clear evidence of abuse of His Majesty and the Royal Family. But we did not. And we never have.
The IFP has also never boasted, as former ANC KZN Premier Sbu Ndebele did, that the King is in their pocket. Neither have we disrespected the legacy of Zulu Kings, the way the KZN ANC has, by using taxpayers’ money to plaster over a legacy banner in eThekwini with election adverts.
The IFP will leave the politics of shaming to others. Our focus is on delivering honest leadership that takes responsibility.
The Hon. Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa, MP
National Spokesperson of the IFP
071 111 0539