Hon MB Gwala, IFP Leader In The Kwazulu-Natal Legislature
Madame Speaker, I would like to thank the Premier, Hon E S Mchunu for his address to this House yesterday. As the Inkatha Freedom Party we recognise the Hon Edward Senzo Mchunu as the only Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and we will not tolerate the province being run from two centres of power. One can only imagine what will happen when tries to ride two horses at the same time. Therefore it is prudent for people to wait for their time and not to rush to climb the ladder. I am reminded of a quotation that says: “If you drive like lightening you will crash like thunder”.
This is indeed a very significant year in the politics and governance of our country and our province. Nationally we have a President who has been stubborn in his attempted defiance of the Constitution of South Africa and has plunged our economy into crisis. The economic downturn touches the lives of every citizen in KwaZulu-Natal with thousands of jobs being lost and the rising cost of living threatening the poorest of the poor.
The Hon Premier’s speech does nothing to inspire hope in the citizens of this province. Much of what was said we have heard many times in the past. The speech was just an appeal to the electorate as we head towards to the local government elections. But it was disappointing that the while thousands of livestock are dying as the drought extends its grip on our province and people suffer without clean drinking water in many municipalities, this Premier said nothing that would bring hope to our people. It is normal for the Hon Premier to point out certain achievements of his government, but are these so-called achievements anything to be proud of?
The Hon Premier is a brave man to stand in this House and claim to have achieved success over the past year. There should be no pride in the continuous drop in matric results, there can be no pride in the ever increasing crime rate, there can be no pride in the rise of unemployment, there can be no pride in projects that were announced but never materialised such as the KZN Business Express that was launched in 2009 and was to have been operational in 2012 but is still stuck in some railway yard. The fact that this list goes on is an indication that the state of this province is indeed a very unhealthy one.
Progress towards nation-building and peaceful co-existence in this province is being hampered because of the long outstanding matter of reconciliation between the IFP and the ANC. This is a project that still hangs over our heads to this day. Our attempts at dialogue have been met with unfulfilled promises by the ANC while it plays at delaying tactics in the misguided hope that the IFP will cease to exist. Let me state it very clearly in this House today that many so-called political analysts and IFP detractors have prematurely predicted the demise of the IFP over the years, but we are still here and are growing stronger by the day.
Another reason that we are not making progress as a nation is that you in the ANC are too proud to acknowledge the important role that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has played in the freedom struggle and the vital role that he can still play as an elder statesman not only here in South Africa but also on the African continent. Prince Buthelezi is an asset to our country but his worth is not being recognised by those in government yet he is acknowledged internationally as an elder statesman.
Just recently on 05 February 2016 Prince Buthelezi was awarded the NatureLife International Environment Award for 2015. The award is in recognition of Prince Buthelezi’s exceptional work in the preservation of our natural and cultural heritage, particularly for his work towards protecting the UNESCO World Heritage Site at St. Lucia. Prince Buthelezi now ranks among such eminent persons like His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales and former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev who have also been honoured by NatureLife. This is the calibre of a true son of KwaZulu-Natal that you in the ANC refuse to acknowledge. In fact you feel so threatened by Prince Buthelezi that your late leader, John Nkadimeng, when the ruling party was still in exile, had called him “the snake that poisons South Africa, which must be hit on the head”. But Prince Buthelezi is now regarded as the “Elder Statesman” in South African politics and has earned the respect of the international community.
Madame Speaker, the ANC always attempts to portray itself as a caring government but its massive failures tell us that it is indeed far from caring. This government fails to realise that the Inkatha Freedom Party, as an opposition party in this Legislature, was elected by the people of the province to represent their views and aspirations. But when we speak in this House and in the portfolio committees, we are ignored. We do not oppose or criticise just for the sake of it, we are a moral opposition that seeks what is in the best interests of our people. The arrogance of the ANC will not allow it to listen to the views of the opposition or to engage with us. The arrogance of this government will not allow it to publicly concede that the IFP has a wealth of experience in good governance and policy making. The IFP is the moral compass that people of this province are looking to for salvation and we will provide that salvation. This government is well advised to take into consideration the views and opinions of the IFP and to draw from our track record — unless it is ANC policy not to strive for clean governance but rather to opt for cadre deployment leading to corruption and maladministration.
The arrogance of the ANC is also evident for all to see in the contents of the government mouthpiece “SIMAMA”. This newspaper is printed with tax payer’s money, but you will only see pictures of ANC members as though opposition parties do not exist. The ANC cannot just wish us away, we are here by the will of the people who voted us in and we are here to stay. We will make the voices of our people heard in this House and in the committees.
I find it rather difficult to understand why this government would fund the Umkhosi Womthayi Ceremony held by the Tembe Clan yet not fund the Umkhosi Wamaganu Ceremony that is held by His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation.
As we approach the local government elections it is very disconcerting to note that many municipalities in KZN have been dysfunctional and the response by the MEC for COGTA has been biased and arbitrary. No action is taken against an ANC mayor whose municipality is failing to deliver services to the people but instead officials are punished. A case in point is that of UMkhanyakude Municipality that is failing miserably but the MEC suspends the administrator who she appointed to clean up the mess. But after the IFP made a noise about this and the people protested, the administrator was brought back.
While we speak of elections, we are aware that this government openly supports electoral fraud at all levels. As we saw in the by-election in Ward 13 in Ulundi in December last year where vehicles from the Premier’s Office were delivering food parcels on the eve of the by-election. The good story to tell is that the IFP still won that ward. Again in Ward 10 at Indaka we have photographs of municipal vehicles from UThukela District Municipality and Emnambithi Local Municipality transporting voters to and from voting stations. Again the good story to tell is that in spite of these fraudulent activities, the people spoke and the IFP won that ward. Even now we see IFP posters being removed by a contractor appointed by the ANC and COGTA to put up posters in places like Jozini and UMkhanyakude. We will be monitoring very carefully the run-up to the local government elections and will take action if fraudulent activities are detected.
With regard to Voter registration the IFP is concerned that due to the economic down turn, millions of people have gone to loan sharks who take their IDs and these people will not be able to register. We are aware of many civil servants including policemen, nurses and teachers who are victims of loan sharks and I won’t be surprised if there are MPLs in this House who are also in such a predicament. Nevertheless, I urge people to go out and register to vote at the correct voting station.
It is clear for all to see that the ANC is not serious about reconciliation and the entrenchment of a democratic order. This is evident from the comments by eThekwini Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo that they have destroyed the IFP in Inchanga. We know that IFP leaders there were assassinated. Was Cllr Nxumalo admitting that he knows who carried out those assassinations of IFP leaders?
Recently we were shocked at the report that members of the Bhengu family – who had just joined the IFP at Maqongqo Traditional area outside Pietermaritzburg – were attacked and later expelled from the area just because they have joined the IFP. Is the ANC promoting no-go areas in its quest for complete dominance of the political stage? The Hon Premier cannot talk of peace and stability in KwaZulu-Natal when these things happen under his watch and I would assume with his knowledge and blessings.
I recall the the words of former President Mandela:
“We used every ammunition to destroy Buthelezi, and we failed. He is still there. He is a formidable survivor whom we cannot ignore.”
The Inkatha Freedom Party is here to stay as the moral compass of government and a pillar of hope to our people.
When the IFP was in government in KZN, the ANC would reject everything that we would propose and would make it difficult for us to govern. Watching the theatrics at SONA recently, I was reminded of how you as the ANC would behave in the KZN Legislature during the time when the IFP was leading government. Now the chickens have come home to roost and you are now feeling the heat. Now that you are in government in KZN, you want to steamroll everything to the point that this government is dysfunctional. Corruption is running rampant in most departments but the Hon Premier has not told us how he intends to deal with this cancer. We are a constructive opposition and we seek to advise and offer guidance because we can see that government in this province is on a slippery slope and our people are suffering.
During the time of IFP governance, the legislature would sit every Thursdays and motions would be debated at almost every sitting. But that does not happen anymore. Now sittings have become meaningless because opposition parties are given very little time to debate while the ANC likes to listen to its own members praise their Premier and MECs. Some Hon Members drive for many hours to the Legislature only to speak for 2minutes but they are given one hour to eat lunch. This is an issue that needs to be discussed in the Whips Forum and among leaders of political parties represented in this House, unless the ANC is afraid to hear what we as opposition have to say.
Madame Speaker, the ANC’s “Winner takes all” policy is the cause of the economic down-turn that we are now facing. This government is incapable of providing innovative solutions to the many challenges that face our people yet you will scoff when the IFP proposes “Self-help and Self-reliance” just because it comes from the IFP, irrespective of the fact that it has helped our people in the past and can benefit our people going forward. My advice to you as the government of the day is to swallow your pride and take advice from the IFP.
I find it very troubling that while we are in the precincts of the legislature, MECs will talk with us and share jokes like we are colleagues working in the interest of our people, but once they leave here some of them do not take our calls nor do they respond to our messages. I want to remind those MECs that we are all representatives of the people who voted for us all to be here.
Why is it that the media knows what is happening at senior management levels in this institution and we are kept in the dark?
One such example is that of the secrecy surrounding Mr Mpondi who was employed at the Legislature but was expelled. He took his matter to the CCMA and won. But we have never been told what was the settlement amount nor what has become of Mr Mpondi apart from what we hear from the media. We demand to know who are those family members of MPLs who were employed by Mr Mpondi and whether there was nepotism and cronyism involved.
With regard to the shameful matric results we now know why KZN was second from last in the country. This is because the MEC for Education, by her own admission was more focussed on her personal studies so that she can go into business after politics rather than on the job she is paid with tax payer’s money to do.
Madame Speaker, another area of serious concern for the IFP is the ever-increasing electricity cost. People are being forced to pay more because illegal connections result in higher consumption without payment and this government does not have answers to stop illegal electricity connections. Neither is this government showing any signs that it has a plan to stop the theft of copper cables. I am calling on the Hon Premier to show leadership in setting up a Task Team to flush out all those scrap metal dealers who are purchasing the stolen cables thereby encouraging the destruction of electricity infrastructure. Communities across the province, including the business sector are inconvenienced and placed at risk because of electricity outages that take days to repair.
I am reminded that the previous Finance MEC Ina Cronje had allocated R600m for the Government Office Park near Town Hill which will now cost us over R1billion. In view of the financial pressures facing our province, is it wise to spend that kind of money on a new facility when we have a legislature building here and a state of the art legislature building in Ulundi that is not being utilised? That money would be more beneficial to our people if we used it to provide houses or clean drinking water.
We are aware that there are ministerial houses and offices in Ulundi that are vacant and are being vandalised. Would it not be wise to allocate these offices to professionals such as doctors, dentists, eye care specialists and social workers who will provide valuable services to our people while generating provincial revenue?
Mr Blessed Gwala
IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature
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