Mr M B Gwala MPL
It is important that we speak in this House about the 2016 local government elections which saw the Inkatha Freedom Party once again rise from the ashes and prove its detractors wrong.
While many have called the elections free and fair, I am reminded of the many families whose loved ones were murdered in the run-up to election day and even after election day. I am reminded of the pain they will continue to endure for the rest of their lives. Are those families free from sorrow since they lost loved ones either because of political intolerance or political greed? Will those families consider the elections to be fair to them as families whose lives have been shattered?
The obvious answer is NO!
We are all aware that there was wide-spread intimidation and intolerance in many parts of our province. We know that there was protest action in many areas where there was large scale destruction of public and private property because people were unhappy with the ANC ‘s candidates. Hundreds of people in Mandeni are without jobs now because factories that were established when the IFP was in control of KZN were burnt down by people wanting to get the attention of their political leaders. We find it unacceptable that when ANC supporters are unhappy with their own leaders, they go the rampage destroying property and negatively affecting the lives of law-abiding citizens. This has happened in many areas and we are calling on the leadership of the ANC in the province to ensure that such behaviour is a thing of the past.
Even after the elections we see people being killed in places like Inchanga where supporters of the ANC and its alliance partner, the SACP are fighting and people have lost their lives on both sides. This certainly is not a reflection of political tolerance and a mature democracy 22 years into our new dispensation. This is not the climate that will advance peace and attract investors into our province.
During the run-up to the elections we saw the NFP openly blaming the IFP for their own bungling even after the NFP Treasurer had admitted responsibility for not adhering to the IEC timeframes. We have reliable information that NFP members told journalists that there will be plenty of by-elections as (I quote) “people will die”. One NFP member even told a journalist that he should open a funeral parlour after 3 August as business will be lucrative. How do we expect councillors who have been legitimately elected to function in their municipalities when there are these threats? We as the IFP want it on record that if any of our councillors are killed, the NFP leadership must take full responsibility.
Now that the elections are over we expected that municipal councils will be installed in all municipalities in the province so that service delivery can be rolled out to our people. But it disappoints us as the IFP that the MEC for COGTA, Hon Dube-Ncube is doing everything in her power to subvert processes that will see municipal councils installed at Jozini and Nquthu. COGTA has the responsibility to ensure that municipal councils are installed within the legislated timeframes, but what we are seeing is a total abuse of political authority by the MEC. By so doing the Hon Dube-Ncube is causing discontent among councillors and citizens of those municipalities. It is obvious that the Hon MEC does not care about the effective functioning of the municipality but rather is only concerned about political power for her party.
Calls for a re-run of the elections will lead to an enormous waste of financial and material resources that our province can least afford. Whilst the Hon MEC for Finance calls for a curtailment of wasteful expenditure, the Hon MEC for COGTA is doing everything she can to squander resources on a re-run of the elections in those two municipalities in the feeble hope that the ANC will gain control.
As the IFP we are ready for the re-run of elections if it has to happen. We have defeated the joint forces of the ANC and the NFP in by-elections before 03 August and we will do so again. There is no doubt about that from the side of the IFP as we are ready.
I thank you,
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
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