Meeting With The Community Of Atlantis
Ahead Of The 2011 Local Government Elections
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party

 

Seven Eleven Hall, Atlantis: 9 May 2011

 

Thank you for coming out this evening to meet with the IFP. It is such a pleasure for me to be in this community as we approach the Local Government Elections next week. I have been campaigning for several weeks now, going all over KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, urging people to vote in these elections. But coming to the Western Cape is something special for me, not only because the political dynamic here is different, but because it is here that I spend much of my time as a Member of Parliament.

 

The IFP has 18 representatives in Parliament, and some 900 Councillors in municipalities across South Africa. We have been engaged in South Africa's politics for more than three decades, and we have influenced the face of our country both before and after 1994. We are not a new kid on the block. But still, some people might not be familiar with the IFP, what it stands for and what it believes in. I hope that through our interaction tonight, we can start a dialogue that will change the way things are done in Atlantis when it comes to service delivery, local governance and politics.

 

I would like to invite you to listen and ask questions, and to really ponder within your own mind whether the IFP is the new voice Atlantis needs. We all know that in the Western Cape it's a dog fight between the DA and the ANC. These two heavyweights are fighting it out in the political arena, because both want control over the Western Cape. For the ANC, it's a matter of pride, because they hate not being dominant in every corner of our country. For the DA, it's a matter of brinkmanship and keeping the ANC's hands off of Cape Town.

 

But in the midst of this heated fight, I worry that the people have been forgotten. I find it appalling that the open toilet saga could go on for two years, with the DA installing toilets and the Youth League ripping them up and this accusation and that accusation flying all over the place, when really people just needed a place to do their business hygienically and with a dignified amount of privacy. Two years of fighting over a toilet. That is the level politics has descended to.

 

So I believe that Atlantis, and many communities in the Western Cape, are hoping that there is an alternative to just having to choose between the incompetence of the ANC or the arrogance of the DA. I am here to tell you, there is hope. There is an alternative. I will not pretend that the IFP can take the Western Cape from the DA, but I can tell you that by voting for the IFP in Atlantis you will be strengthening a voice of integrity on your local council that can influence the way things are done. Ms Nazlie Daniels is standing in Atlantis because she knows the needs of this community and she knows the power of the IFP. She knows we can get things done.

 

The IFP has a formidable legacy in South Africa. In KwaZulu Natal, we still run more municipalities than the ANC, and we do it better than the ANC does. At local government level, where services are actually delivered, people in KwaZulu Natal still want an IFP leadership because they remember what we have achieved over the past three decades, and they trust the IFP's impeccable track record. There is a tremendous amount of good we did in the past, even before 1994, and there is a tremendous amount of good we are doing now in the municipalities in which our voice has been strengthened.

 

When I come to Atlantis, my mind is taken back to the foolish policies of the ANC even before we achieved liberation, that have had a terrible impact on this community. In October 1976, Mr Oliver Tambo, as the Acting President of the ANC, stood before the United Nations General Assembly and called for international sanctions against apartheid South Africa and foreign disinvestment. It was a call I totally rejected, because I knew that the harshest effects of sanctions would be suffered by the poor and oppressed, not by the wealthy elite.

 

In response to the call for sanctions, the apartheid government rallied to ensure it could become economically self-sufficient, and one of the ways it did this was to create Atlantis around the Atlantis Diesel Engine factory. The factory was heavily subsidized by government, which enabled it to operate successfully even 20 kilometres outside of Cape Town, and to offer thousands of jobs to the community.

 

But soon after our political liberation, the new government under the ANC abandoned ADE and withdrew government contracts. The ANC effectively abandoned Atlantis. Even though their own policies had forced the creation of ADE, the ANC would not take responsibility for it once they came into power. I believe they absconded from their responsibility of protecting jobs, and protecting you - your income, your stability and the prosperity of Atlantis. Almost a decade ago, ADE folded, and there are still many unemployed people struggling along in this community.

 

This has created all kinds of social problems, as unemployment always does. Those of you who have work are spending too much of your income on travel expenses. In many homes, the traditional family structure has been turned around because of unemployment, with the wives bringing in most or all of the money. I know that there are feelings of inadequacy and frustration that cannot be addressed with staid political slogans like 'Working together we can do more'. If we are going to get our able-bodied youngsters into decent jobs, our children off the streets of Blaawberg, our families into decent houses with toilets and running water; it is going to take more than a slogan, more than a campaign and more than a dog fight over who gets to govern Cape Town.

 

Atlantis needs a new voice that can speak up on its behalf and say what all of us are thinking. There are basic needs in this community that should have been met decades ago. And it is no good having councillors who say there is not enough money, or there is too much red tape, to get things done in Atlantis. The IFP knows how to do a lot with a little. In the small town of Mzingazi in Uthungula District, where we receive practically no income from rates and taxes, our municipality partnered with a community project and got the learners of Sithole Nanhlanhla School access to a library. We did it because we understand how important education is and we are willing to work hard to live up to the values we espouse.

 

Ms Daniels has come up with some excellent ideas, that reflect the ideas of this community, and reflect the practical, hands on, know-how of the IFP. She has suggested container clinics to serve those in rural areas, because the geographic location of Atlantis makes it difficult for people to access health services. Once again, you are paying too much to get to a clinic, and there just is no money to spend on transport and doctors' fees, when it is already hard to put food on the table.

 

The IFP knows. We care. We have been working alongside the poorest of the poor in KwaZulu Natal and throughout South Africa since 1975. We have helped people to help themselves, by empowering them with skills and developing their community. We have partnered with people from all walks of life to do what it takes to make a difference.

 

All our candidates in the coming local government elections, including Ms Daniels, have taken a pledge of integrity and responsiveness to the community. I intend to hold them accountable for fulfilling that pledge. The IFP does not tolerate slackers and freeloaders, because councillors who serve on an IFP ticket are expected to work.

 

In terms of their pledge, you can expect your IFP councillor to be a person of integrity, to be open with you, to be fair and include you in decision-making, to be accountable to you and available at all times. Our councillors take your concerns seriously. We will treat you with dignity and respect, because we are working for you and with you.

 

We believe in bringing municipal governance closer to you. We will empower you to participate in decisions that are made, by closely linking your councillors to you in their daily work. We will never dictate to you. We live and work alongside you, tackling the real problems together.

 

The IFP believes you have the right to receive any information you require about your municipality and your council. IFP led municipalities promote openness in all they do. We believe that tenders should be public so that you know precisely who gets how much for what service. The IFP believes that every Rand must be spent in a way that improves your community and your municipality. We are intent on stopping waste, mismanagement and corruption, while prioritising spending on infrastructure and basic services, like water and electricity.

 

These are the priorities of the IFP. I hope that you will support Ms Nazlie Daniels as she works for you. She is standing as your candidate in Atlantis because she cares for this community and she knows that things can be much better. By voting for Nazlie, you strengthen a new voice in your local council. You strengthen a voice that is backed by decades of experience in local government and a track record that puts other parties to shame. Because the IFP is all about getting the job done. We are in it for you.

 

I thank you for receiving me and the IFP into Atlantis tonight. It is good to be with people who care about their future. Next Wednesday, when you go and vote, I hope that you will empower a new voice in your local council to make a big change for Atlantis. I hope that you will vote for the IFP.

 

 

Contact: Liezl van der Merwe, 082 729 2510.
Press Liaison Officer to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP,