IFP ELECTION RALLY FOR
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS 2000


ADDRESS BY
MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI, MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

REGIONAL SPORTS STADIUM, ULUNDI: DECEMBER 2, 2000

We have come to the end of our election campaign as we stand just three days away from local government elections 2000. This is the IFPís final election rally. I know that the message of the IFP has been taken into every corner of South Africa and, wherever we have been, people are talking about development, development, development. The IFP is the party of development. This is the party of a new hope and new beginnings. December 5 marks the last chance South Africa is going to get to turn around our countryís poor record of slow delivery and slow progress. In three days' time, we must cast our votes to start doing things differently, to do it the right way, the IFP way. All of you know that in the last 25 years of our organisation's existence, I delivered to the people from right here in Ulundi.

The way of the IFP is the way of development. We know that there is no other way to get the ball rolling in our poorest communities so that we may finally see enough houses being built, enough jobs being created, enough education for our children, enough training for our work-force, enough access to basic services and enough change for a better South Africa. We will have done enough when every South African is freed from the burden of poverty, unemployment, ignorance for lack of education, and crime. To do this, we need to develop our communities through a joint effort which sees ordinary people empowered to make a difference.

The IFP has always been the party of self-help and self-reliance. Together with our poorest communities, we have rolled up our sleeves and got down to doing the work at hand. We are not the kind of leaders that stand back and talk about how it is done. The IFP jumps in and gets things going. The community of Ulundi knows us well, for you have walked a long path of struggle, success, and challenge with community leaders of the IFP. Today, we are closing our campaign to open a new chapter of this partnership between the IFP and the community of Ulundi. Now, on December 5 and into the next five years of local government, we need a stronger IFP so that more can be done for a stronger Ulundi.

In the past six years our country has learnt through a difficult and painful process that a centralised government just cannot deliver on the promises some parties have so freely made. The IFP has always warned that a centralised system of government is slow and sluggish to address the issues, because it is removed from the everyday reality experienced on the ground, in our communities. Moreover, centralised government is set up as a conveyor belt system where one prepackaged and unchangeable solution is sent from the top down into communities, whose needs are often very different and unique.

Community development could never emerge from a system like this. What we need is a system where the voice of ordinary South Africans can be heard and consultation with people on the ground becomes a daily reality. Local government is the best way to achieve this goal. It is the level of government closest to the people and offers the opportunity for grassroots communities to access their leaders in government, discuss the real issues, and seek solutions together. But not just any local government will do. Your vote on December 5 is not just a vote for local government, but a vote for a local government that works. That is why it must be an IFP vote. A vote for any other party will ensure that the new local government system will be just another impotent arm of central government and local government leaders will be puppets of people higher up. We need local government leaders who are representatives of the people, not of the central government. We need people who get their cue directly from the communities which elect them and who listen to the people who elected them.

The right local government leaders and those who are in communities already, who have worked with the people and stayed with the people throughout their lives. The fact is that the IFP is the only party which has remained on the ground, among the people. We have never sought to lead our people from abroad, but have walked side by side, hand in hand with those South Africans who brought this country to liberation, democracy and hope. These are the ordinary citizens of South Africa, and it is with these people that the IFP has lived and worked for 25 years.

Since its inception in 1975, the IFP has been the true party of the people. Today, we are a leadership the people can trust and a party with which South Africans can win development. When I am in Ulundi, I can afford to be a little immodest by answering all my critics and adversaries with the question: "Who built this Ulundi right from scratch?" People who doubt our words when we state that we are "Champions of Development" must come and see for themselves right here in Ulundi. Evidence of this fact is everywhere when one is in Ulundi.

Our vision for our countryís future remains what it was 25 years ago, for we have consistently sought the genuine liberation of all our people. Political liberation is just one step in a long and uphill road towards South Africaís destiny of stability, prosperity and social justice. Those who feel we have arrived simply because some of their leaders sit at the top of government, have no business asking ordinary South Africans to give them more power. Power must be shifted down the ladder and into our poorest communities where people still suffer for lack of shelter, security, employment, education, health-care and social justice. The IFP is asking for your vote so that we can shift the power to govern away from the centre and closer to those who are governed.

This is the IFPís philosophy of bottom-up governance, whereby real needs are met because those in need can access those who have the resources, infrastructure and power to act. The new local government is set to bring much needed resources into our communities. We must be very careful whom we elect to handle those resources. Will it be puppets who fold their arms and wait for directions from central government? Or will it be leaders who are trusted, well-known, and backed by a party with an unparalleled track record of administrative excellence, community development and accountability. The IFP is making its voice heard on this issue because we want to be held accountable. We are the party that can stretch a little to achieve a lot. You have seen it happen before. Let us do it again, but this time let us do it with adequate resources and infrastructure.

This is the only promise we are making, that a stronger IFP in Ulundi means a stronger community running on the wheels of development, development, development. We are not a party to make elaborate election promises and then disappear after elections. The IFP is not opening a new dialogue with the people or speaking to you for the first time. We have walked in a constant dialogue with South Africaís communities for 25 years. It is this which has enabled the IFP to achieve real victories for community development, because we hear what people need, we consult on how it can be done, and we jump in to do it. South Africa has had enough summits and committees and conferences trying to figure out how to get things done. Now it is time to just do it. That is the IFP way.

Talk-shops by themselves do not create employment. Skills training, vocational guidance, access to information, assistance in dealing with banks, support in entrepreneurial ventures, and a spirit of self-reliance - these things create jobs. Education and training should be a top priority within our communities. Too many people are without work simply because they are not skilled and remain limited to a confined area when seeking employment. Skills training opens new opportunities and this is how to get people working and bringing in an income. The IFP is at the forefront of the fight against poverty and ignorance. We recognise that knowledge and information are keys which may unlock the door of unemployment in this country, and so begin to eradicate the ongoing needs which poverty compounds.

It was on this firm belief that the IFP acted when we chose to pursue education for our children and build schools, when others were training children in warfare and burning down classrooms. Certain segments of the liberation struggle chose to adopt the ill-conceived slogan of "Liberation now, education later". The legacy of this choice is a generation of young people who are unskilled in anything but rebellion and violence. From this perspective, South Africaís high levels of criminality may also be more clearly understood and it becomes equally obvious that we need to raise the level of human development and re-cultivate a culture of respect for authority, law and order, respect for life and respect for property. During the liberation struggle, we juxtaposed their slogans with "Education for liberation" and today this slogan retains its value.

We will never be truly free until each of us has the tools of liberation within our own hands. Hand-outs do not work. Centrally driven projects do not work. Superficial promises do not work. Now it is time for something different. It is time for the IFP. Together with the IFP, this community has the vision and the will to conquer social difficulties. Even the threat of HIV/AIDS will remain a mere threat if we can work together to build a solid and impenetrable wall of information, self-respect and responsible action. If we want to get things done, we must act in a unified effort towards community development. Let our first act of unity be a vote for the IFP.

We need to fight criminality with sufficient force to stop it. This is no longer the time for strong-worded declarations from central government which never translate into getting criminals off the streets. Crime is happening here, in our communities. Here is where it must be fought. The IFP is working to empower community policing so that morale among our policemen and women may be rebuilt. A vicious cycle has been created in many communities where people know who the criminals are and what they are doing, but are reluctant to come forward with information because corruption and disinterest have paralysed their police. If we are to stop crime, we need to get policemen back on the beat. We need to empower policing structures as part of a local government competence and ensure that criminals just cannot act within our communities. This is the goal of the IFP.

The IFP wants a local government that works and we know that the most important ingredient in the formulae of local government success is the relationship between leaders and the community. If local government leaders are not backed by their community, if they are not trusted or known, community development will suffer. The IFP recognises the importance of consensus which can drive the collective will of the people to see development happen. As it is said, where thereís a will, thereís a way. It is time now for a goodwill revolution which can push forward the IFP agenda for development. Ulundi is the home of the revolution of goodwill because this is the home of the IFP. Let it start from here and go forward into all our communities.

Let this be the starting point of a new chapter in South Africaís history. Let this be remembered as the moment when every South African stood up and said enough is enough. We did not work for so many years and sacrifice so dearly to see South Africa stuck in the mud of crime, disease, poverty and unemployment. We have a destiny to fulfil and we cannot stop working until we get there. 1994 brought this country another step of the way. 2000 must take us further. It seems we are becoming entangled in political agendas and ambition, and this is slowing down our progress on the ground. It is appallingly unacceptable that thousands of South Africans still live below the breadline in the third millennium.

Our greatest achievement will be to say that we have left behind the century of an impoverished Africa to embrace our true destiny of genuine liberation, social justice and prosperity. We are a country rich in human resources, but I sometimes think that we are treating this resource as an uncut diamond that we take out and look at from time to time, but never get so far as cutting it. The IFP puts the development of its people first. In every policy, in every public statement, and in every goal pursued, the development of South Africans has been on the IFPís agenda. On December 6 and into the next five years of local government, development will stay on the IFPís agenda. An IFP victory on December 5 will be a victory for development.

The message I have today, the last message of this election campaign, is that South Africa must vote. If anyone doesnít vote, we can chalk up another point for failure. For every IFP vote, the cause for development is strengthened. It is time to do things differently in government. It is time to listen to the people. This is what democracy is all about. We have not merely earned the right to stand in a queue and make our mark on a ballot paper once every five years. We have won the right to challenge our government to do better and, where it is not working, to get new leaders into government positions where they can make it work. We can choose the right leaders for the job. Choosing the IFP on December 5 is choosing the right horse for the course of local government.

Therefore, I wish to urge you not to vote alone. Take your friends with you. Take your family. Take someone youíd like to get to know better. Make voting for this Party a party. The more votes we can get for the IFP, the closer Ulundi comes to a development victory. This is the time to make final arrangements to assist those who need help getting to a polling station. This is also the time to assist those who need help in making the decision to vote. Let us take the IFP message to those who havenít yet heard it and tell them that if they donít vote and things in South Africa get steadily worse, this is the last time you will listen to them complain about it. There is just no place for apathy in the next few days. If apathy wins on December 5, it will have won a long victory run indeed.

We cannot afford failing to make our voices heard on December 5. We cannot afford a failure to usher in a new chapter of South Africaís history that will be written in the language of development, development, development. The IFP must lead the way in writing this next chapter for we are the champions of development and we know how to do it. The time has come for an IFP victory. When we leave this field today, let us make sure that silence does not regain any space. Letís get talking about our victory on December 5, because a victory for the IFP is a victory for Ulundi. Letís make our voices heard in the next three days to get people to vote for the IFP. Letís make our voices heard on December 5 to get an IFP victory and a victory for development.

Let us vote. Let us win. Let us get it right.

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