Nongoma By-elections - Bad Omen for 2014 Elections

24 October 2013    


Reacting to the results of the Nongoma By-elections which it lost, the IFP issued the following statement:


“The results of the Nongoma by-elections were a bad omen for opposition parties and democracy as South Africa moves to the 2014 general elections.


“About a month or two ago, 3 IFP Ward Councillors – representing Wards 5, 10 and 11 - deserted the party to the ANC. That led to a hive of political activity which set Nongoma abuzz as the town was suddenly invaded by political parties campaigning for voter support.


“Of significance however was the decision of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government led by the Premier, Mr Senzo Mchunu to enter the fray – albeit under the pretext of engaging in service delivery programs. In the space of about two weeks, as the political contest was reaching its crescendo, Nongoma was bombarded with several flamboyant government functions - some of which involved well-known musicians, DJ’s and Radio personalities. Millions of tax-payers’ money were spent in the 3 Wards in that short space of time.


“Mayor Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi of Zululand Municipality was also not to be outdone. She too spent millions moving in and out of the 3 Wards in “delivery services” programs which saw her deliver water tanks and other services to communities which had waited for years for her Municipality to deliver water. In addition to the NFP’s abuse of the Zululand District tax-payers’ money, the NFP-led Nongoma also joined that dirty game in full force.   


“The IFP was also campaigning strongly in the Wards. But the party was beaten hands-down by its competitors when it came to the game of “delivery of services” and the politics of food-parcels. The IFP could not even attempt to compete with the ANC, and the NFP, since the IFP controls neither the provincial government nor Zululand and Nongoma Municipalities.


“Were these ordinary acts of government executing its mandate to the electorate? Indeed the ANC, NFP and their associates will advance that argument. But the timing and the intensity of government activities at the height of the election campaign would tell a different story. In addition, the Premier himself let the cat out of the bag.


Following their visit to one of the Wards on Tuesday last week, the Premier - speaking on Ukhozi FM’s afternoon show run by Sgqemeza Mbatha – stated they as government had decided to go to Nongoma because there was a by-election. He said the reason for doing so was that opposition parties, in their campaigns, were attacking the government. They had gone there therefore to explain to the communities what the government has done.


The Premier was actually saying that they had gone to Nongoma as government to defend the ANC; because it is the ANC that was contesting elections, not government. To me, this was the Premier and Provincial Government using the tax-payers money to campaign for a political party.


“Again on Sunday, the MEC for Transport Mr Willies Mchunu also let the cat out of the bag when he spoke on Ukhozi FM Sunday morning show run by Sbu Buthelezi. MEC Mchunu and Buthelezi spoke about the “prayer meeting” they had had either on Friday or Saturday in Nongoma. Mchunu then went on to thank Mr Sthembiso Gumbi whose initiative the “prayer meeting” was. Gumbi had spoken to the Premier about it which had resulted in its materialisation.


Obviously the “prayer meeting” was the Premier’s directive after their discussion with Gumbi. For the record, Sthembiso Gumbi who spoke to the Premier about the “prayer meeting,” is one of the 3 former IFP Councillors who ditched the party and joined the ANC; and was now campaigning as the ANC candidate. Clearly, Gumbi had thought of a “Prayer Meeting” as a pretext to enable the ANC to bring in government resources to Nongoma to boost his campaign.


 “All these things happened right under the noses of the media and political commentators. It was however unfortunate that both the media and political commentators could not read properly what was happening in Nongoma to see its significance within the context of the next year’s elections. Yes reporters descended on Nongoma; but their reporting did not suggest that they grasped what the political contest meant for South Africa as we move towards the 2014 elections.


“Nongoma was a microcosm of what South Africa will witness next year. Nongoma delivered a very clear message to South Africa that opposition political parties must brace themselves for a bitter political war where they will face the full might of the state.


Truth be told, the ANC is on the back-foot. The service delivery community protests that have been sweeping South Africa for the last 2 years; the internal problems confronting the ANC; political immorality ravaging the ANC - all stand as irrefutable proof that the ANC is under siege. It does appear that the political charm of President Jacob Zuma alone will not help the ANC this time. The ANC itself is aware of the crippling challenges it faces and is indeed frightened as they ponder the coming elections. Yet they have continued to arrogantly declare that they will obtain a landslide victory next year. 


“Is this an empty rhetoric by the ANC? No! The ANC are in fact delivering an unambiguous message that they are not about to allow anyone or anything to dislodge them from power. They are determined to leave no stone unturned to ensure that they win – whatever it takes. A few weeks ago the media published what they said is an ANC strategy to intensify their infrastructure delivery campaign and to ensure that President Zuma is seen to be launching or officially opening these projects. In addition, the descent on Nongoma by the ANC under the guise of provincial government to “deliver services” and to “pray” with the people will be broadened to encompass the whole KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa. The ANC masquerading as government will spend millions upon millions of tax-payers’ money to dazzle and “buy” voters of this country.


“This takes us to another point. Is it not assisting the ANC strategy for South Africa to remain by-and-large poor, poorly-educated and unskilled? It is known that, as long as voters remain poor and unable to fend for themselves, they are vulnerable and susceptible to “food-parcel” politics.


“Experience is the best teacher. Consequently, having gone through this bitter experience, we as the IFP wish to take the opportunity to warn all opposition parties that they must brace themselves for a life-and-death struggle next year from the wrathful ANC that will be determined to win at all costs. The NFP might gloat for now because on a smaller scale they have beaten the ANC. But they may rest assured that what befell the IFP this time will befall them as well next year as the ANC will be on the warpath against all opposition.”



Mbongeleni Joshua Mazibuko

IFP Deputy National Spokesperson

083 992 6135