Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
Usually when a political leader rises to speak, they first observe protocol, listing the dignitaries in attendance. Today, however, as I look out across this stadium, I know that the most important people are those who have come to hear about the IFP. You are the reason we are here. You are the people we serve.
Thus, while I thank our mayors and councillors, our Members of Parliament, and Members of Provincial Legislatures, our officials, candidates and volunteers for their presence today, my biggest thanks go to you, the individuals who made the decision to come here and listen to the IFP.
You have made a good decision. I intend to give you plenty to think about, and plenty of reasons to place your support behind the IFP.
Many of you are long-standing IFP supporters. You have carried membership cards for years, some even since Inkatha was formed in 1975. I honour you for your commitment, knowing that we have walked a remarkable journey together that has influenced our country.
Others in this stadium are members who have returned to the IFP, having tested the waters in other parties and found that there is indeed no place like home. We welcome you home and thank you for coming back to the IFP. There is always a place for you in the IFP family. We value your presence.
To those who have newly partnered with the IFP, we say, “Welcome!” Thank you for placing your trust in a party that has worked to earn your respect. As we move forward together, we intend to keep your trust. We invite you to make your contribution to this partnership, because in the IFP every voice matters.
As I stand in the midst of so many patriots and friends, I feel a surge of hope for South Africa. I know what can be achieved when like-minded people come together in the best interests of their nation, their families and their communities. I have had the privilege of leading the IFP for 41 years, and I have seen victories won time and again by people who are working against the odds.
I have seen communities oppressed by poverty, rising to become self-sufficient. I have seen youth with no hope for the future, creating a future through education and knowledge. I have seen families headed by children, and children raised by grandmothers, and I have seen them healthy, well-fed and filled with hope. I have seen thriving businesses raised from the smallest seed capital. I have seen houses built through partnerships between people and government, and clinics built where people had no access to healthcare. I have opened thousands of schools, calling on children to learn, learn, learn. I have seen women shattered by abuse, living whole again.
These things are possible. But they don’t happen by chance. And they don’t happen automatically in a democratic system.
It saddens me to know that many South Africans have lost faith in democracy, not because democracy itself is a flawed system, but because of the way it has been implemented in our country. It is good and well for our Constitution to extend human rights to all our people and to give them a voice in governance. But when there are still people waiting for decent housing 22 years into democracy, and when votes are still bought with food parcels, it is no wonder people think democracy doesn’t work. It is tragic that even though the Department of Human Settlements is doing what it can to provide housing, that many of the house are not habitable.
We are, undoubtedly, working against the odds. At the foundational level of democratic governance, which is your local municipality, problems exist that shouldn’t be there. Municipal governance is not functioning as it should. There are things that need to change to fulfil the promises of democracy and get local government working for you.
The good news is: there is a way to initiate that change. We are not helpless victims of a corrupt and failing system. No, we are the most powerful players in this system. We are the voters. We are the electorate. We are the ones who get to say who can stay and who must go. More importantly, we are the ones who can change the entire leadership in governance.
The moment to do that is August 3rd. Less than two months from today voting stations will open for Local Government Elections. On that one day, August 3rd, the power will be placed where it rightly belongs: in your hands.
Through your vote, you can change everything. You can ensure that roads are built in your community, that your local school gets the maintenance it so badly needs, and that water is accessible throughout the year. Your vote can remove people who don’t deserve to be councillors, people who haven’t respected your mandate and haven’t represented your voice. In their place, you can appoint people you trust.
But that brings us to the question many South Africans are asking. “Who can I trust?” In this volatile political climate in which protests rise on the steps of Parliament, in the streets, and on our campuses, there is one resounding question. It is a question of trust.
At the highest level of leadership, trust has been broken. For the first time since apartheid, an unbreachable chasm has opened between citizens and leaders in government. Let me speak frankly. At all levels of government we see maladministration and corruption. And even our President has not been without any blemish. This has led to an outcry throughout the country. One cannot help remembering the saying that when a fish rots, the rot starts at the head. Under the leadership of this President, corruption has become synonymous with government. Scandal after scandal after scandal blazes across our newspapers. Where once we stood with pride, we now feel shame.
That is not the way it should be. But the poison has seeped down into all levels, opening the door to corrupt, self-serving, greedy officials. Cronyism, nepotism, cadre deployment, tenderpreneurs. These are words that should never have entered our daily vocabulary. But we all know them. Because they happen all the time. It’s what we’re familiar with under the present government.
No wonder people are asking, “Who can I trust?”
I know that there are some in this stadium who have come with that very question in your hearts. You have come to listen to what the IFP has to offer, in the hope of hearing something you can believe in. After years of empty promises and broken promises, you are looking for something you can trust. I want to encourage you. Because there is still a party you can trust in South Africa. You can trust the IFP. You can Trust Us.
I am proud of the fact that whenever I speak to people about the IFP’s character and what we can do, my words are backed up by 41 years of honest leadership. The IFP has served with integrity for four decades.
We were at the forefront of the battle against apartheid, working hand in hand, within South Africa, to win democracy. We were at the negotiating table, spearheading the fight for provinces and empowered municipalities. We were in the Government of National Unity, changing the exclusionary policies and legislation of the past to create a country in which every person is respected. We were at the helm in KwaZulu Natal, fast-tracking development and laying a foundation of clean governance.
The political landscape has changed, and more change is certain. But the IFP is still here. We are still working to serve you, and still standing up for the best interests of South Africa. We are in Parliament and the Legislatures. We are in district and local municipalities. We are in your community, listening to your needs. We have never once made a promise and failed to deliver. We have been honest with you. And over four decades we have built a partnership that you can trust.
That is the legacy of the IFP. I am proud of it. But more than that, I am grateful, because I know that behind this legacy is the hard work and selfless commitment of thousands of men and women who have linked themselves to the IFP family.
We are always very careful about who we place in positions of trust, for these people carry the IFP’s good name. Thus, when we choose candidates to stand for election, we make sure that they are the right people for the job, not only because they are leaders in their communities, but because they have demonstrated good character.
Today, I am proud to introduce to you the IFP’s candidates for the 2016 Local Government Elections. These are the men and women who will serve your needs and carry your voice into your municipality. They are the ones you will call on when you have a concern. They will answer your questions, and seek to meet your needs. They will ensure that governance in your community is done with integrity, transparency and real participation.
Our candidates for 2016 understand that you are the reason the IFP exists. They are here to serve you. The IFP understands that this is a great responsibility. When you give your mandate to IFP candidates, a binding contract is formed. We, as the Party, become fully responsible for holding your elected leaders to account. We make sure that they do their job, because they are doing it under the IFP name.
Thus, every single candidate we put forward for election is asked to sign a pledge, committing themselves to be accountable, honest, accessible, trustworthy, diligent and active.
I am pleased to announce that all our candidates have willingly accepted this pledge. Today, in your presence, they will sign this commitment. As they do so, I encourage you to take note of each and every candidate. These are the people you will vote for on August 3rd. They will be the link between you and a democratic government that works.
Getting government working is not about reshuffling Cabinet. It’s about changing leadership at the foundational level. Good governance begins in municipalities. This is where your voice is heard and your service delivery needs are met. Thus it is essential that the right party be placed in leadership at municipal level. Every party brings its own ethos and its own politics.
It is no coincidence that municipalities administered by the ANC are failing to meet your needs. It’s not just about corruption, mismanagement and wasteful expenditure.
We are familiar with violent protests which occur in ANC-run municipalities all over the country. And all being wanted by ANC members who feel that the ANC has failed to deliver services. They go to the extent of burning down municipal offices and Councillors’ houses. They do not end there, they burn down schools and libraries.
Where the money exists, it’s just not spent. Over the last five years, since the 2011 Local Government Elections, municipalities in KwaZulu Natal have failed to spend infrastructure grants to the tune of R210 million.
That money was earmarked to build houses, schools and clinics, to build roads and community centres. But it lay unused. We can talk about a lack of planning and a lack of vision. But in the end, it comes down to a lack of integrity. If you really want to help people and meet their needs, you don’t ignore them. You don’t leave money unspent while people go hungry. That’s not just bad governance. It’s immoral.
No wonder service delivery protests are igniting in every municipality administered by the ANC. Things are no better in those municipalities that were forced into an ANC/NFP administration. It was a purely political move, decided at the top, and the people paid the price. Most of these municipalities have been unstable for five years, with politics trumping service delivery time and again.
But there are a few that have been rescued through the ballot box. Through by-elections since 2011, the electorate has returned five municipalities to the IFP. In all the municipalities we administer, including Nkandla, the hometown of the ANC President, the IFP enjoys a partnership with the people. We don’t see service delivery protests, because the line of communication is always open. People know they can come to their IFP councillor and something will be done. But we also have had our rotten potatoes amongst our councillors. We have tried to weed them out.
That is the way it should be. In a partnership of trust, everyone should know what is expected and what will be delivered. That is particularly important as we approach an election. For this reason, the IFP’s manifesto for 2016 contains solid reasons to trust us. You will find in this manifesto a basic statement of who we are and why we have been your trusted partner in good governance for 41 years.
But this is an overarching manifesto. In every community, the IFP will provide a local manifesto that deals with the specific issues that affect you. In that manifesto, we will tell you more about the candidates standing in your wards, and they will make their personal commitment to you. I encourage you read that manifesto together with the one we are launching today, so that you will have the full picture of why a vote for the IFP is a vote for positive change.
Let me therefore give you some of the good reasons to vote for the IFP. Clearly a voice of reason is needed to secure our democracy. That voice is the IFP. You can –
TRUST US to drive good governance in every municipality.
TRUST US to make job creation the number one priority of all IFP municipalities.
TRUST US to loosen the grip of corruption and restore integrity and accountability to leadership.
TRUST US to speed up the provision of decent housing, without red tape, illegal tenders or false promises. Everyone needs a home, not just a few!
TRUST US to respect the rule of law and create security in your community so that everyone can be, and feel, safe. Our women and children should feel safe in our streets.
TRUST US to select candidates who will work for you. All IFP candidates will sign a contract of good governance, which the party will ensure is adhered to.
TRUST US to deliver services to all in the spirit of Ubuntu, not just to the few at the expense of the many.
TRUST US to declare drought relief an emergency, and to prioritise clean drinking water for all.
TRUST US to help you get food on the table, and healthcare for your family.
TRUST US to speed up the construction of roads and bridges, to provide safe transport and to change the current policing policy with high-visibility policing instead of entrapment.
TRUST US to partner with schools to create a better learning environment for our children.
Why should you trust us? Our track record when we governed KwaZulu and governed the Province of KwaZulu Natal during the first ten years of our freedom, speaks for itself.
The IFP has one vision and one purpose and that is to serve all the people of South Africa. I therefore invite you to support a leadership that has earned your trust. We have proven what can be done when honest, accountable, transparent and trustworthy leaders serve South Africa.
The IFP deserves your support. We are the right people for the job. Why then have we taken a knock at the polls? Why has the IFP’s electoral support declined?
There is one very simple reason. The saying goes that desperate times call for desperate measures. Undoubtedly our country faces desperate times. Through years of weak leadership, the ruling party at national level has plunged South Africa into crisis. Our economy has become stagnant. Jobs are being lost. Poverty is spreading. And the more South Africa declines, the bolder the promises become. Government promises to create half a million jobs. Where are they?
This pattern is not new. From the very beginning the ANC promised things it could not deliver, and chanted slogans it had no plan to fulfil. The promise of free education has still not materialised. The promise of houses for all has not been met. But the difference between now and ten years ago is that people are no longer willing to wait. They have lost faith that the ANC will deliver, because trust has been irrevocably broken.
The FeesMustFall campaign sent a message that government could not ignore. It was not just a message about free education. It was a message that we’ve had enough. We won’t wait anymore, or listen to any more excuses. Either you deliver, or you’re out. That is the simple message of democracy. The power to hire and fire government is in the hands of the people. We are not held to ransom by political leaders. We in fact hold the reins.
Tragically, however, in the midst of the crisis, people have become so desperate that their vote can be bought or swayed.
Here in KwaZulu Natal the IFP earned your trust by running a clean, efficient administration. We understood that deep-seated poverty could not be turned around overnight, but we were making steady progress and setting in place the framework for accelerated economic growth.
The ANC, however, had never given up on wiping out the IFP. Election after election, whether municipal, national or provincial, they came with cavalcades of branded cars and expensive motorbikes. National leaders arrived in helicopters with great pomp and ceremony, while rock stars played and food flowed. Their message was money. “Look at what we have!” they said. “Don’t you want to be like us?”
They preyed on desperate people, buying votes with food parcels and promises. Indeed, they used state resources, paid for with your tax money, to give you gifts. But the gifts they gave were owed to you, and you paid for them yourselves. Those blankets, that mieliemeal, those pots: they should have come with no strings attached. But it was understood that your vote was being bought.
It sickens me to the pit of my stomach to think of our parents and grandparents being manipulated out of their right to free and fair elections. After all we gave to secure the vote, it is despicable that some consider it a commodity. I am pained by the thought of our youth, many voting for first time, being tricked into believing that power and wealth can be bought.
President Zuma once said that if you vote for the ANC you are securing your place in Heaven. But that is a lie. Let me tell you what the Chief Economist at Standard Bank says about the ANC, and I quote, “President Zuma is a compromised man, presiding over a compromised executive, delivering compromised programmes.”
There is a wave of righteous anger sweeping South Africa. But beware, for there are leaders who are capitalising on this to promote their own interests. Thus we hear Mr Maimane shouting to a crowd in Johannesburg that “Zuma must voetsek!” And we see Mr Malema shouting in Parliament that Zuma is a liar and a thief. We see violent protests on university campuses driven by the EFF, and we see the DA becoming more and more aggressive, so as not to be outdone by the EFF. These two parties are driving each other to extremes as they race to be the loudest, and grab the biggest headlines.
The ANC has responded by trying to shut down the visibility of protests. In violation of the right to freedom of expression and in violation of the press code, the SABC has announced a decision not to show violent protests on TV. They are determined not to give any bad publicity to the ANC in the run up to elections. So the protests get louder and the clampdown gets stronger. Where will this end? It can have no good outcome.
In the midst of this, the IFP stands as a lighthouse, pointing the way to safer waters. There is an alternative to the stand-off. We need not take South Africa down the path of self-destruction. There is a still a party that believes in integrity and service first; a party that puts people before politics. There is a still a voice of reason that restores calm and finds an answer. There are still people who build, rather than destroy.
This is the IFP. We are constructive, rather than critical. We offer solutions, instead of accusations. And the IFP is rising. We have seen this in by-elections since 2011. There has been very little movement in other parties, but the IFP has been gaining ground. In one by-election after the next, voters have returned the IFP to power. They have taken their votes back to the party they trust and given us a mandate to restore good governance.
Based on the patterns of votes since 2011 and the sentiments of voters, analysts have predicted a strong showing for the IFP in 2016. I have never placed much store in predictions, for there are often hidden factors that influence what actually happens. I know that the ruling party is panicking, and an animal in panic is very dangerous. I also know that the opposition in KwaZulu Natal has much at stake, for it has wagered its future on winning this province.
But this is no two-horse race. The IFP is in it with a strong hope of success. The IFP has experience in governing well. We know how, and we are willing to do it. I therefore invite you to vote for a future you can look forward to, a future your children can look forward to inheriting, and a future that will benefit all South Africans. Vote for a leadership you can trust.
On August 3rd, let your vote send a powerful message to those who are failing, that the rots stops here. Let us speak with one voice and declare an alternative future for South Africa, one in which everyone has a home and everyone is respected. A future of stability, growth, prosperity and peace. Trust us to lead the way to this future. The IFP is the answer.
Trust us. VOTE IFP!
Today the IFP is entering a CONTRACT OF GOOD GOVERNANCE with you. Just as our councillor candidates take a pledge, I too, as the leader of the IFP and on behalf of the IFP, now take the following pledge, providing you with the reasons to trust us –
“TRUST US to hold councillors accountable for their actions. We will insist on the highest standards of good governance, of ethical behaviour and of responsiveness to the community. We will strictly enforce this and will fire those who fail to comply.
TRUST US to ensure that your IFP councillor will:
- Be a person of integrity
- Be open and fair at all times
- Include you in decision-making
- Be accountable
- Be available at all times
- Take your concerns seriously
- Treat you with dignity and respect
- Regularly consult with you and report back for feedback
- Work for and with you
TRUST US to ensure that our councillors serve everyone in the community. TRUST US to make sure that IFP councillors act professionally at all times and serve with dedication.
I, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, President of the IFP, take this pledge.”