LAUNCH OF 2ND PHASE OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN 
OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY


BREAKING THE CHAINS OF POVERTY

OPENING STATEMENT BY MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI, MP 
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

Durban : November 7, 2000

We felt it necessary to convene once again representatives of the media to launch a second phase of our campaign. We have called this second press conference after we launched our campaign a few weeks ago because we can give further tangible proof of our commitment to do what we say and to say what we do. The news is that now more than ever the IFP means business.

When I launched our campaign I announced that our candidates would begin a process of mobilisation in communities to bring forward our struggle for development. I indicated that our candidates would engage communities in dialogue on the issues of development, so as to receive a mandate from the people on how they should perform their functions once elected. I indicated that our campaign began three weeks ago but will only end in five years when we will again present ourselves to the electorate to account for what we have done and delivered. Our campaign is not a matter of a few months of mobilisation in which for the first time political leaders visit communities in which they have not worked before. That is not how we do it. That is not the IFP. Our campaign is a struggle for development which begins now and will continue for the next five years in a partnership between our candidates and their constituencies being forged at this juncture.

Leading the struggle for development means to empower communities with the capacity to identify development priorities and ways and means to concretise them. The IFP knows that Government alone cannot do it, while no sector of our society can promote balanced development without the assistance of government. It takes a political party such as the IFP, which has always worked within communities, to promote development to ensure that government becomes the catalyst of development and an engine of economic and social upliftment. Since our inception twenty-five years ago, we have lived, worked and suffered within communities striving for their growth and development. We have never abandoned our communities, never outgrown them, never neglected them, or ever felt that there was any other priority other than ensuring their growth.

Those who were here three weeks ago heard me committing our election campaign to operating within these parameters and pursuing these goals. You have heard me stating that we are campaigning on the ground, at grassroots level and within communities and not through high-level rhetoric, propaganda and catchy slogans. Ours is not a campaign based on cleverly crafted words and catchy slogans, but on sound and compelling concepts, political deeds and hard work. We are mobilised to make the local government election the beginning of a process that can turn the country around and set it firmly on a course towards development. When I opened the election campaign I stated that this must be the beginning of a new chapter of South African history in which things are finally done from the bottom up rather than from the top down. For this reason, what we have to do, what we have to achieve, what we have to perform in our election campaign, is hard work within communities and for communities to organise plans, programmes and community visions for their own development. It is not going around repeating like parrots a well crafted slogan!

I have not convened you today on this occasion to repeat again these concepts which I am presenting to you as the background to what I have now to share with you. Preliminary, I must also convey to you that our grassroots election campaign is indeed moving on schedule, as planned and within the parameters I have just outlined to you. We are working well and hard to be present within communities to lead the struggle for development, development and development. The process has begun, is moving well across the country, is gaining momentum and will not stop until the year 2005 when it will be called to account for its tangible result when we will quantify the employment it has generated, the houses it has built, the new roads it has opened and the many dwellings to which water, sanitation and electricity have finally been connected.

Today we are here to show our commitment to taking our campaign one step further and moving it further along the difficult path towards development. We are here to make before you firm commitments towards the cause of development to prove once again that the IFP is a hound that can hunt. We are here to show that we are committed to giving the country a new beginning, and to turning around the main policy framework which has thus far been impaired to achieve as much progress as would have been necessary. We must break the cycle of poverty to break the chain of poverty. Until the chains of poverty are broken no-one in South Africa can be free. Poverty must be alleviated to give relief to the poor and security to the rich, to stop crime by creating justice, to bring our society on an even keel which enables it to move forward and grow out of its present dramatic problems of high inflation, unemployment and generalised criminality.

We have applied our minds long and hard on the crucial issue of what can and should be done to break the chains of poverty. Undoubtedly, local government has an important role to play, but it is not a role which can be played in isolation and outside the context of our countryís main policy framework. If the central governmentís main policy framework is out of tune and off target, local government will not succeed in providing the contribution it can to promote development and break the cycle of poverty. For this reason, we have felt that it is important that within our struggle for development, we must announce our commitment to a new policy framework which the IFP intends to promote both at the national as well as the local level. We need to change national policies to ensure that local government can deliver and is not hamstrung.

National policies must focus on the development of infrastructure, on the development of communities and on the development of our human resources. We need to increase the value and capacity of our infrastructure, social fibre and human capital. For this reason, it is essential that more resources be directed towards building more infrastructure, rather than merrily maintaining what we have. We also need to allocate more resources to promoting the growth of communities through social and economic activities which means building more community halls as well as creating more centres where commercial advice can be given to small and medium enterprises to teach them how to operate in a commercial reality. We also need to make services available to small businesses to enable them to operate and compete, ranging from start-up capital to assistance with their accounting, business management and fiscal compliance. We need to help business to make our communities grow. We need to create markets within our communities together with a greater capacity to produce, trade and market products.

However, local government cannot exercise this role without an adequate policy framework established at central level which can enable both provinces and local government with the necessary resources. Whenever issues like these are raised people immediately recognise the urgency and value of these initiatives, but often take comfort in doing nothing about it because they are assured that there is insufficient money available to do it. In government there is never enough money and yes there is always sufficient money. The issue is how expenditure is prioritised. Last week we were discussing in Cabinet and in Parliament the medium-term policy framework which will govern Governmentís spending for the next three years. This framework shows future increased budgetary allocations for defence which are compelled by our arms procurement programme centred, as it is, on expensive and highly technologically advanced military equipment.

There are many places within government where money can be found, if we are serious about solving problems rather than merely discussing them. We can no longer deal with the issues of our country through workshops, summits, conventions and other places where words are exchanged, plans are discussed and money spent merely to look into issues with nothing concrete coming out of it. We must stop confusing words for thoughts and thoughts for actions. We must change the way government operates to turn it around. We must have the courage to do what it takes to achieve the intended results. Unless voters clearly state that more of the same is not good enough, local government will begin operating with the same misconceptions which have flawed government delivery in the past six years. We need a new start and we need it now. We can no longer deal with dramatic issues such as unemployment by calling for job summits which have no consequence other than witnessing with impotence even greater unemployment in their wake.

We cannot tell local government that their efforts in promoting employment at community level should be concentrated in calling a job summit for each municipality. We do not need more impotence of government at the local level. We need a new style of government. Today we have the courage, the determination and the political presence required for us to make this important and momentous statement. This is how the IFP intends to continue to provide its policy contribution in the governance of the country at the national, provincial and local levels alike. We must break the chains of poverty and this will not happen by merely declaring our intention to do so. It can only happen by doing things differently and better than we did before. The past six years have proven beyond doubt that whatever has been done may have been good but is by far not good enough to solve our countryís dramatic problems and keep up with the escalating rate of our crisis. Problems are just moving faster than the solutions designed to address them. Therefore, we need to have new approaches and this time around we must do it the right way, which is the IFP way.

Today we are here to tell the press and the public of South Africa that the IFP is militant in turning the country around at the national, provincial and local levels of government. We are a force of government and not a mere opposition and we are part of the solution not a mere whining spectator of problems. We want a new start in which government becomes serious about breaking the chains of poverty. We need to spend our money in developing people, more than on any other things. We need to ensure that the money we spend is no longer wasted. This year we will begin spending an unprecedented amount of resources to increase our human capital and train our people. We must make sure that this money is spent the proper way and not wasted. Each level of government and each sector of our industry will be involved in training. This year 0.5% of the Nationís payroll has been lifted to finance training and from next year each of us will pay 1% from our pay cheques to promote training.

Government still needs to identify with clarity what type of training will need to be given to our people and the purpose of this training. We must have a long-term vision for what the country needs so that we can promote training programmes through local, provincial and national governments alike to train our people to perform the role required of them in the South Africa of the future. We need to focus our training policies on adult basic training and education to give life skills to all our people. However, it is not sufficient to talk about life skills without understanding what type of life we wish to prepare our people for, and what type of skills they need or want which, for instance, will determine whether they are required to acquire simple literacy or computer literacy. We need to know what our country should look like twenty-five years down the road in order to trace back our steps to determine how local government should promote development and how our communities should perceive and consider their own development. There are just too many issues of development and long-term vision which have remained unsolved or unaddressed in the thinking of our central government. Only the IFP can fill this gap.

Today the IFP announces its commitment to develop and pursue this long-term vision. We are moving the leadership of our struggle for development further ahead. We are integrating our actions at community level for a long-term project and vision for the country. This is the unique type of leadership that only the IFP has the capacity to offer. We can speak up and make things happen. We can pick up issues in which our contribution can make a difference as it has been in respect of traditional leadership. We have always pointed out that traditional authorities have an important contribution to make towards the development of rural areas. We identified the issue of traditional leadership as hinging on the question of development and that by providing traditional authorities with greater administrative capacity, development and progress will be fostered much more than by forcibly replacing them with municipalities. We know that traditional authorities can help in breaking the chains of poverty if provided with adequate resources.

The IFP has the capacity to lead and make things happen in South Africa. We want people to know that in the next election the voters must make us stronger so that we can speak louder and make more good things happen for the benefit of all. Our voice will become as strong as the voters wish to make it. We are committed to exercising the courageous and outspoken leadership which has always been the IFPís trademark. Now more than ever, South Africa needs the IFP if we wish to bring our struggle for liberation forward. We have never felt that our struggle for liberation was completed merely by having achieved political freedom. Until the chains of poverty are broken people are not free and only development can break them. In order to move into the second stage of our struggle for liberation, the IFP must become stronger so that the emphasis can now be shifted on to development, development and development.

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