Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
Nongoma: 6 December 2015
It is good to be in Nongoma, among friends both old and new. Today, the IFP welcomes an impressive number of politically active individuals as you make the IFP your political home. You are in good company, for we have been welcoming new members across South Africa as the IFP grows in numbers and strength. Here in Nongoma, the growth of the IFP is particularly rapid. Indeed I was here just a few months ago welcoming new members. But so many more have joined since then, that we felt the need to celebrate again.
As we do that, I invite you to consider what this means. Why is the IFP gaining so many new members? Why are people leaving their previous parties and aligning themselves with the IFP?
Something is happening in our country that few of us expected. After twenty one years of democracy, South Africa is realigning itself into the politics of division, rather than unity. The character of some parties is changing, and others are causing conflict on the political stage. South Africans are looking at all this and making decisions about where they stand, who they support, and what will be best for our country in the time to come.
I am proud to know that in the midst of the disorder and uprising, there is a home for people of goodwill. Those who seek peace, stability and unity for South Africa still find solid ground in the IFP.
The reason for this is that the IFP is a party of integrity and principles. We don’t change with the passing winds of ideology, or agitate on the basis of weaknesses in our society. When the IFP was founded, forty years ago, we established a foundation of principles that would be the heart of our Party. Over forty years, we have protected our heart, and seen it strengthened. We have stayed true to our founding principles.
Because of this, people know the IFP. You know what you are voting for when you vote IFP. You know the kind of leadership our Party offers. You can trust our integrity and look back on our legacy. Thus, you know what the future holds if the IFP is asked to lead.
Whenever the IFP is placed in a position of authority, the first thing to be kicked out the door is corruption. South Africans know this. You know that Inkatha administered governance in KwaZulu for nineteen years, and never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled against our administration.
And we were operating under apartheid. If any one of us had abused our power or had taken more than we should from the coffers of government, a million reasons could have been thought up to justify it. After all, did we not deserve more? But that is not the way the IFP operates. We understand that if you allow corruption to get a foot in the door, it comes in like a plague.
The culture of entitlement that the ruling party created when it promised all manner of things it could not deliver, has proven disastrous. Now we have cadres in positions of authority who believe they are owed something; who believe they are entitled to take and do whatever they want without being held accountable. Thus corruption has pervaded government under the ruling party. And the one who pays is you.
I often think about the words of former President Mandela, who, in a moment of profound honesty, spoke to the media about corruption in the ANC. He said, and I quote, “Little did we suspect that our own people, when they got a chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the things that has really hurt us.”
Corruption has now taken its toll on South Africa. Poverty has deepened, service delivery has failed, protests are rising, the economy is weakened, and our people’s trust in the leaders of our nation is at its lowest point. How can we trust, or even respect, leaders who seem so profoundly out of touch with reality?
Just last week, Afrobarometer released the results of a nationwide survey that provides 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, and we are actively taking votes away from both the ANC and NFP. I was proud of the IFP’s by-election victory in Nongoma last year, and impressed by the number of new members we welcomed in July. Not long after that, I again received correspondence from the Chairperson of the Nongoma constituency with a long list of people who have joined the IFP from the NFP and the ANC. Looking at this impressive list, I knew that I had to return to Nongoma to receive new members again. Thank you for coming home.
Friends, there is a surge of political activity at present. Indeed, 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 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. And we know that they think nothing of manipulating your vote. Nongoma knows this well. By-elections have been postponed here before, because voter fraud was exposed. Thus we will need to be vigilant in 2016 to ensure that elections are kept free and fair. 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 therefore encourage you to join an IFP branch, and to 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.
I congratulate you on making the good decision to join our team, and I invite you to help your families and friends make a good decision too. Enough has been said about the problems in our country. Let’s start talking solutions. Let’s start talking IFP.
I thank you.