MESSAGE OF SUPPORT BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
AND PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Dinuntuli Village, Nkandla: 26 April 2019
His Worship the Mayor of Nkandla Local Municipality, Councillor AT Ntuli; Councillors and Amakhosi; Municipal Manager, Mr JS Jili; Members of the community of Dinuntuli Village and Nkandla; and proud exhibitors.
There is an old saying that if you give a man a fish, he will be hungry again tomorrow; but if you teach him how to catch fish, he will never go hungry again. Like many places throughout our country, Nkandla struggles under the burden of poverty. Many families find it difficult to put food on the table. And with the rising cost of food, petrol and electricity, there is no security against hunger.
42% of the population in Nkandla has no income at all. More than 74% rely wholly on social grants. How then can we break the cycle of poverty? The Mission Statement of Nkandla Local Municipality holds the answer. The Mission of this Municipality is (and I quote) “to render effective service delivery encompassing nature and heritage to ensure poverty alleviation, sustainable economic growth and development through self-help and self-reliance.”
That last part contains the answer. Self-help and self-reliance are the greatest tools to lift a community out of hardship. When people are empowered to create their own solutions and meet their own needs, amazing things happen. I have seen this time and again. That is why I have championed self-help and self-reliance for more than sixty years.
When I was installed as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan, I became responsible for meeting the needs of many people. We were living then under the harshest deprivations of oppression. Apartheid ensured that millions of black South Africans lived in poverty with no means to rise. We were denied decent education, which would have provided a tool of empowerment, and we were denied decent jobs that would have brought skills development, income and growth.
More than that, we were denied human dignity. Thus despair and discontent settled like a suffocating blanket over South Africa.
I was taught at the University of Fort Hare by Professor ZK Mathews, and I was mentored upon graduation by Inkosi Albert Luthuli. Both of these leaders inspired me to assist our people to attain not only political freedom, but freedom from the hardships of poverty, deprivation and indignity. Inkosi Luthuli was a traditional leader in Groutville. Through his work in the service of his people, he sought to empower and uplift. He understood that when people remain dependent, their lives and their future are not in their own hands. Learning from Inkosi Luthuli, I began teaching self-help and self-reliance to my own people.
When I was elected to lead the KwaZulu Government, I brought this philosophy of self-help and self-reliance into the administration of governance. I ensured that our policies were designed to empower, not simply to assist. And in 1975, when I founded Inkatha, self-help and self-reliance became the cornerstones of our work.
Through Inkatha, this message of empowerment spread like wildfire. People talked about food security, and families began to value subsistence farming. There was pride in putting food on the table that had been grown in our own soil, through the work of our own hands. It seemed that every home had a vegetable garden, and every community a cooperative.
Inkatha understood the vital role that women play in alleviating poverty and uplifting communities. So we raised funds to send some of our young women leaders, including Mrs Eileen ka Nkosi Shandu and Ms Thoko Zungu, to study community savings and cooperatives at St Francis Xavier University, in Canada.
When they returned, they used their knowledge, ploughing into our communities the skills, enthusiasm and endurance needed to see development come from the ground up. I have seen time and again that when women are empowered to change their circumstances, they reach out and change the circumstances of others. I am not surprised, therefore, when I walk through this exhibition, to see that many of the cooperatives are run by women. It is also wonderful to see young people so deeply involved. I can only commend you for the work you are putting in to see these cooperatives succeed. Because of these projects, many families have food security. Because self-help and self-reliance are practiced here, families can live in dignity.
I am impressed by the display I have seen today. It speaks of good leadership and good community participation. It is remarkable to know that the Nkandla Municipality has more than a hundred cooperatives on its database, and that these have been supported with materials, resources and training. It is, of course, an ongoing project. While many cooperatives are thriving, others are still working towards viability. But they have a good example of what can be achieved. Before visiting this exhibition today, I had the privilege of witnessing the handover of a house to a struggling family, and the handover of Nhloshana Community Hall. Speaking at the hall, I mentioned that community participation is a cornerstone of democracy. It is mandated by our democratic Constitution. But it is only when leaders believe in something that it becomes part of their DNA.
The IFP believes in community participation, and we believe in self-help and self-reliance. Because of this, the governance we provide is focussed on partnership and empowerment. Wherever we govern, you can see the difference. It’s not about hand-outs. It’s about changing the fundamentals so that you can have hope in something real.
I want to thank you for giving the IFP a mandate to govern in Nkandla. The continuity in political leadership here has enabled the Municipality to plan ahead, meeting short-term needs and long-term goals. The Cooperative Exhibition, like the house handover and the handover of Nhloshana Community Hall, are part of the Integrated Development Plan of Nkandla Municipality.
This is not just something we do a few days before an election. There is a five year plan of scheduled projects, and a full year’s roll out of community centres, creches, sports fields, information campaigns, report back sessions, excellence awards, bursary awards and community events. The leadership here is working consistently, every day, to meet needs and develop Nkandla.
So when it comes to election time, a time like the present, the IFP is able to say “Trust Us”, because we have earned your trust year upon year. We have built partnerships that last. We have governed not only with integrity, but with vision, placing our principles at the foundation of all that we do.
I am therefore proud to visit this exhibition of cooperatives in Nkandla, because I see in this a lifetime of work bearing good fruit.
When I think back to all we achieved during the darkest times of apartheid, I know that we can overcome the present problems facing our country. There is tremendous hardship still being suffered in places like this. Throughout our country, the promises of democracy have not yet been fulfilled. The economy is failing. Unemployment is increasing. Despair and discontent is once again settling over South Africa like a suffocating blanket.
We need to face the present crisis with wisdom. We need to sharpen the weapons we used so successfully in the past. Education. Unity. Empowerment. Honest leadership. Self-help and self-reliance.
With these weapons, we will win the fight again; the fight for food security, and the fight for good governance.
I am not here as a politician. I am here as a leader who has served my country for more than sixty years. I have come to inspire you with the honest message that we can win this fight. I have come to thank you for working together and giving the example of successful cooperatives. And I have come to encourage you.
There is hope for our country. It lies within the heart of our people. If we can unlock that great potential for self-help and self-reliance, South Africa will be saved.
I thank you.