MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE
INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY


On Electoral Intimidation and Mudslinging
Ahead of the 7 May 2014 Elections

Statement by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

4 May 2014

 

Free and fair elections are only possible in the absence of fraud, intimidation and deception. Unfortunately, these evils have marred every election since 1994, and the 2014 elections have proven to be no exception.

 

In a research report released last month, the Community Agency for Social Enquiry highlighted the incidence of voter intimidation and found that the ruling party is the main perpetrator. Every party interviewed had experienced voter intimidation perpetrated by the ANC.

 

Even the ANC spoke of intimidation and violence within the ANC.

 

Yesterday, in Mpumalanga, the IFP was once again the victim of the ruling party's intolerance when it comes to campaigning.

 

While our members and supporters were gathered for an election rally at the Wesselton Community Hall in Ermelo, a situation developed that could easily have ended in tragedy. The ANC, which was campaigning nearby, heard about our rally and irresponsibly chose to conduct a drive-by in a convoy of some fifty vehicles, hooting and waving ANC flags.

 

Our members were taunted, insulted and provoked, and a skirmish quickly ensued. I understand that there were some minor injuries, but I am grateful that our leadership took control of the situation as quickly as they did, averting a potential crisis.

 

The IFP has laid a charge of intimidation with the SAPS and we intend to file an official complaint of intimidation against the ANC with the Independent Electoral Commission.

 

It seems that, throughout this campaign, wherever there has been violence, intimidation or skirmishes, the ruling party has emerged as the common denominator. This places free and fair elections in jeopardy.

 

It is deeply disappointing that this campaign has also been marred by mudslinging. I have found myself a key target of this, particularly at the hands of the NFP and its leader, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi. The NFP leader has accused the IFP of corruption, claiming that our Party has used municipal vehicles to conduct our election campaign.

 

We have already set the record straight in this regard, as only IFP vehicles have been used for election purposes. However, this has not prevented the NFP leader from repeating this baseless allegation on Ikhwezi Radio and in the New Age newspaper.

 

This is, no doubt, an attempt to deflect attention from the R19 million worth of irregular expenditure in the Municipality of Zululand, under the leadership of the NFP. Both the IFP and the NFP's coalition partner, the ANC, have approached the Public Protector to investigate allegations of abuse of State resources to fund the NFP's campaign.

 

The NFP may believe that the best form of defence is to attack. But slinging mud at a party of integrity and clean leadership only serves to highlight the depth of depravity of the mudslingers. I find it amazing that a woman who has children of her own would stoop so low as to attack me through my children. What kind of person does that?

 

Mrs Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi has made the same statement on Radio Ikhwezi which she had previously made on the 30th of April. It appeared in 'The New Age Newspaper' as follows; (in reference to me).

 

'The allegations that the NFP is using council monies destined to provide water to the Zululand district residents are a pathetic lie from a desperate person who is fighting for his political survival.'

 

She accused the IFP and the ANC of trying to tarnish her name. "I am unlike him (Buthelezi) who failed to stop corruption from under his nose. His daughter who is a municipal manager at the IFP controlled Ulundi municipality, has been absent from duty since last year but gets paid her full salary every month while taxpayers also foot the bill for a person who does her work.'

 

It is inhumane to attack my daughter for needing a spine operation, or for needing time to recover afterwards. The recovery period from major surgery is determined by medical professionals, not by the patient, nor by the patient's father. How can it be said that corruption is happening right under my nose because my daughter has been on sick leave?

 

In terms of our labour laws, an employee on sick leave continues to draw a salary. There is nothing unusual in that. Would Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi have the labour laws set aside just because it is my daughter? Would she have my daughter fired for needing surgery?

 

Maybe we are unaware that she is an Orthopaedic Surgeon and I am not one. If I could stop natural causes that attack a human body, then I should have stopped according to Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi the arthritis that damaged my daughter's spine. If I had such supernatural powers then I should not have lost three of my children who died from natural causes.

 

It is sad that, twenty years into democracy, mudslinging and intimidation still characterise election campaigns. But I retain hope, for the power is in the hands of the electorate to secure free and fair campaigning in the future, by choosing a leadership that does not stoop to the levels; a leadership of integrity. A vote for the IFP in 2014 is a vote for free and fair elections.