PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
DELIVERED ON HIS BEHALF BY
THE HON. MR BLESSED GWALA MPL
NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
As we approach the end of the year and draw nearer to Local Government Elections, the IFP is busier than ever. With so many competing demands, it is difficult to be where I most want to be without neglecting my duty elsewhere. But I am consoled by the knowledge that I am one in a team of exceptional leaders who are well able to convey the message of the IFP. So, while I am not able to be with you today, I know that the National Chairperson of the IFP will do what the IFP does best. He will listen, he will respect you, and he will carry your voice into the legislature of this province.
Today, there is every reason to celebrate, for more and more patriots and activists are making the IFP their home. Whenever someone makes that good decision, we welcome them to the IFP family. We invite them to participate and make their contribution, for we value what every individual brings to the IFP. This is not just a party with political ideals. It’s a team, working together, to protect and strengthen South Africa.
All of you know the IFP. Some have been part of the IFP in the past, and are now returning. Others have witnessed the work of the IFP, our integrity and our commitment over four decades, and are now ready to walk in partnership with us. But whether you are new or returning, whether you are considering joining or have already joined, all of you have an idea of what the IFP stands for.
I am proud of that legacy. I am proud to know that the IFP has been consistent in serving the people of South Africa, so that everyone knows who we are. We have proven ourselves trustworthy. That is a significant achievement in politics, for how often can we say that our leaders have earned our trust? It is, unfortunately, far more common to see people betrayed by the leaders they elect.
That has been the experience of many in South Africa. I am sure you will have read media reports about a survey released by AfroBarometer recently that offers a reliable reading of how South Africans feel about the Government, the President and our country’s political leaders. Our confidence in the leadership of South Africa is at an all-time low.
Two thirds of ordinary South Africans, people like you and me, distrust our country’s President. Among those who declare themselves ANC supporters, 50% distrust the President. That is a damning situation for the ANC. The survey asked who people would vote for if an election were held tomorrow, and votes for the ANC dropped by 7%. In contrast, according to the survey, votes for the IFP would double.
I am generally wary of polls and predictions, but everything points to the IFP increasing in strength in 2016. We have seen indications of this in many by-elections.
Following the 2011 Local Government Elections, the IFP administered only Ulundi and Msinga municipalities. In 19 other municipalities, the newly formed NFP split the vote and left the municipality hung. No one had a clear majority. Just days after declaring themselves the best alternative to the ANC, the NFP’s leaders went into coalition with the ANC; and the rest is history.
But we are almost at another Local Government Election. Five years have revealed the true intentions of the NFP, ANC and IFP, and voters are now clear on who they can trust. As we head into 2016, the IFP already administers Ulundi, Msinga, Nkandla, Big Five, Hlabisa, Mthonjaneni and Ntambanana. The electorate hasn’t waited to bring the IFP back. They are bringing us back at every opportunity.
Where we already have support, our votes are increasing. In September, for instance, in a by-election in Ulundi, IFP support increased by more than 18%. We are also taking wards away from the ANC, as we did in Hluhluwe, winning with a clear majority. We are actively taking votes away from both the ANC and NFP. In Ntambanana, for instance, support for our opponents decreased in every single voting station, while support for the IFP increased across the board.
Interestingly, in many by-elections we are seeing more people vote than we did in the 2011 Local Government Elections. It seems clear that people were uncertain in 2011 of where to place their cross. Confusion had been created by the NFP and trust was running low. But now there is clarity. People know who to trust and they are keen to come to voting stations and make their voice heard. More people are voting, and more are voting IFP.
This bodes well for 2016. But it also prompts us to work even harder. The IFP’s successes are grating our opponents and they are likely to step up their fight. Competition will be high as our opponents work to defeat us. Competition is also increasing as opposition parties see the decline of the ANC, and work to take votes that will no longer go to the ruling party. Thus our victories cannot tempt us to rest on our laurels. They must inspire us to work harder.
I am encouraged by the number of people who are becoming politically active for the first time. People are being stirred to action and are realising the power of their own voice. Across South Africa, we see groups protesting and rising to demand change in one form or another. My only regret is that these protests often turn violent, and there is damage to property. That is not the way it should be.
South Africans should be able to make their voices heard without shouting. We should be able to effect change without burning anything down. I know that I am not alone in thinking this way. There are people of goodwill throughout our country who want to build South Africa and see our nation prosper. We want to actively participate in governance through democratic processes that respect and value what we bring to the table.
It is people like this who are drawn to the IFP. And it is this that makes the IFP different. Because while other parties are ignoring the people they are meant to serve, or capitalising on people’s frustration to score cheap political points, the IFP is working to bring solutions.
The IFP is focussed on getting South Africa’s economy working. We are focussed on creating jobs and opening opportunities for the youth to participate in the economy. We are focussed on education, and the fight to end poverty. We are champions of freedom in all its forms; freedom from disease, hardship and inequality. We are leading the fight against corruption, and we are working to protect all our people from crime. This is the focus of the IFP.
When you join the IFP, this becomes your focus too, because IFP members are active participants.
I encourage you to join an IFP branch, and mobilise support so that new branches can be started. This is where the work of changing the future happens. As we draw near to the 2016 Local Government Elections, our branches will be transformed into election committees, and the work of securing votes for the IFP will be done by those who are already convinced that the IFP is the hope of the future.
Enough has been said about the problems in our country. Let’s start talking solutions. Let’s start talking IFP. I urge you to make the good decision to join our team, and to help your families and friends make a good decision too.
I thank you.