PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Nkandla: 9 November 2018
His Worship the Mayor of Nkandla Municipality, Councillor Thamsanqa Ntuli; Amakhosi, Members of the Executive Committee; Councillors and all honoured guests.
I have said in the past and repeat it today that coming to Nkandla will always be very special to me for here lies the mortal remains of my maternal great grandfather King Cetshwayo. When I look at what is being achieved in Nkandla under the leadership of this municipality, I am deeply impressed. I know that local governance receives the smallest portion of our State’s budget and that municipalities lack the resources to tackle the very serious issues of poverty, food security and community development. It takes innovative leadership to use municipal resources in a way that will change lives.
Fortunately, that is what you have here in Nkandla. You have innovative and visionary leaders who are finding ways to invest in social and economic justice.
I am honoured to be here today to officially open both the Driving Licence Testing Centre and the Community Service Centre in Nkandla. These projects speak of a municipality that is working, and is listening to the people it serves. It speaks of leaders who looking for ways to empower this community towards self-help and self-reliance, because a hand out changes things for a moment, but a hand up changes lives.
The leadership of this municipality is constantly considered what is needed to unlock opportunities. The first thing they identified is the need for education. My Party has always been a champion of education, because we know that information gives leverage. Our focus is on vocational training; equipping people with skills, knowledge and information that they can use to work and earn an income.
Thus the municipality has invested in education, offering bursaries to the top matric performers and registration grants to prospective university students. For four years now, young people from the high schools of Nkandla have been incentivised to work hard, for there is hope after high school.
This investment was taken further earlier this year, when the municipality installed wi-fi at the four high schools with the best matric performance. This has opened new horizons, offering learners the chance to become global citizens through access to information from around the world. I want to encourage all our learners to keep learning, even after high school. You can now pursue vocational training right here in Nkandla at the TVET college.
The investment in education that is being made by the municipality will undoubtedly show dividends as more young people are able to get jobs, keep jobs, and create jobs. This will see families supported and new growth come to Nkandla. But any young person can tell you that job requirements often include a driver’s licence. And even if you don’t need a driver’s licence, you will need to rely on someone with a licence to get you to work.
Thus the municipality identified the need for a Driving Licence Testing Centre that is right here, where you live. In keeping with its commitment to open opportunities, the municipality then awarded bursaries to 100 young people to do their learner’s licence. I am delighted to see so many youth taking the next step to independence.
To you, and to everyone who will use this Testing Centre, I express my great admiration. I also encourage you to recognise the responsibility that is placed on your shoulders when you get your licence. Whenever you are on the road, you become responsible for the lives of those around you. So you must adhere to the rules of the road; the very rules you will be tested on at this Centre.
The municipality has an excellent working relationship with its local traffic officers and the SAPS, to ensure road safety, particularly for commuters. So don’t think you’ll get away with speeding, or texting while you drive. As much as a driver’s licence is a symbol of freedom, it is also a symbol of responsibility.
Anyone who drives must check their vehicle regularly, making sure it is roadworthy. Even if the vehicle you are driving doesn’t belong to you, if you are behind the wheel, you are responsible. Always check your tyres and if they’re worn out, replace them. Many of the road accident fatalities in our Province are caused by worn tyres.
It may seem premature for me to be talking about your responsibilities as drivers when this Testing Centre is just opening. But there are already many people behind the wheel who have not understood their responsibility. If you are being transported in a taxi or a bakkie, watch the driver. If they aren’t being careful, they are playing with your life. Say something. Demand to see their licence.
Driving without a licence is a criminal offence. Too often we have heard of school children involved in an accident where the driver didn’t have a licence. Now, there is no more excuse. This Testing Centre is here to assist, to open opportunities, and to protect lives.
Our municipality recently held a three day conference with people living with disabilities, to ensure that their needs are understood and met. Some of those people can tell you how quickly a road accident can completely change your life. But many can also tell you of the good Samaritans who help them to get to the clinic, or to the shops, by offering transport.
Having a driver’s licence can enable you to become a community activist, and an angel to those in need. It can make a big difference in many lives.
I want to speak for a moment to the staff who will be working at this Testing Centre and also at the Community Services Centre. You are being entrusted with a position of authority. Whether you are a cleaner or an administrator, you have been employed to serve this community. You must therefore treat those who come here with respect. Be ambassadors of service excellence, so that you honour the values of this municipality. You will find that, as you do so, you will feel a sense of dignity and pride in your work.
Let me warn you to never abuse the authority entrusted to you. We will not accept corruption or bribes at either of these Centres. These are places of service, where integrity, transparency and fairness are fundamental.
These Centres must become places of empowerment. Their presence in Nkandla enables the community to access services, information and assistance that would otherwise be difficult to get. I encourage you to use these Centres and to support them as a valuable asset in the development of Nkandla.
We thank our Mayor and his team for making this possible. Thank you for putting the people first.