KwaMdakane Stadium, Dannhauser, Amajuba District: 10 April 2010
I welcome this opportunity to meet, as we as a
Party face the challenge of mobilizing for the 2011 Local Government
Elections and preparing for our Annual General Conference being held
next month. It is important for us to gather like this, to speak our
minds and to reaffirm our vision for our Party's future.
In the past year since the general elections, I
have felt frustrated by the premature resignation of some South
Africans to an ever-declining IFP. I have experienced a sense of
urgency about re-establishing a unified vision for our Party. I have
been disappointed that our Vukuzithathe campaign has not been
implemented within the timeframes we set. And I have been chagrined
and angered by the sabotage of a renegade group who are dead set on
seeing change; even change for the worse.
But in the midst of all these emotions, I now find
something unexpected swelling in my heart. I find, in this darkest
hour, that my hope is rising. This hope is buoyed on the wave of
support I am seeing from countless IFP members and councillors, who
are coming forward to express their determination to see the IFP
succeed. The underhanded work of those who want to see us fail has
had an unexpected result; it has served to awaken the giant that is
the people of goodwill.
For too long the IFP's people of goodwill have
been sitting back and allowing our Party to drift away from
relevance in the eyes of the electorate. It is not that the IFP has
become irrelevant; we are still a guiding light of integrity and
wisdom in a sea of poor governance and poor leadership. The problem
is that we have failed to carry the electorate with us as we pursued
the service of the nation. We have not been loud enough, proud
enough or enough of a headline grabber.
I know that in part this is because the IFP,
unlike other political parties, is not willing to sling mud at our
opponents just to get noticed. We have never engaged in character
assassination for the sake of the vote. We don't harp on other's
failures or stir up the people's anger towards our country's
leaders. We are not a party of dirty tricks. Instead, we have been a
party that keeps its eye on the goal of service delivery and the
creation of a better quality of life for all our people. We work
diligently, steadily and faithfully for South Africa.
That certainly does not make us headline material;
not if one looks at the type of things that grab the headlines
today. But it does make us the best hope for South Africa and a
necessary ingredient in the recipe for our country's prosperity,
political health, security and development. This Party has a unique
contribution to make in South Africa, one that it cannot afford to
do without. You and I know that, if not for the IFP, South Africa
would not find itself free today.
Regardless of the propaganda and popular rhetoric,
the fact remains that the IFP played an essential role in the
liberation of our country.
If not for my refusal to enter the armed struggle
that cost our people some 20,000 lives in a low intensity civil war
during apartheid, thousands upon thousands more would have died. If
the IFP had entered the armed struggle, South Africa would have been
reduced to ashes. My people are a strong people with a proud
heritage. But we are not the kind of people to sacrifice lives for
ideologies; not when the high moral ground will get us to our
destination just as effectively.
If not for the IFP, the poverty that we see in our
country today would have been far more widespread and
insurmountable. Under my leadership, the IFP taught people the
values of self-help and self-reliance, and equipped them to apply
what they learnt to bring practical results. We built schools. We
built houses. We built clinics. We started community development
projects. And we established financial institutions to assist people
who were poor in resources but rich in ideas to start their own
businesses. We rejected sanctions and disinvestment in order to stop
monopolies from springing up; the kind of monopolies, like Eskom,
that the ruling Party now allows to feed off our people.
If not for Inkatha, thousands of South Africans
would not have had a voice or a home when other liberation
organizations were banned. If not for the IFP, the denialism of
HIV/Aids that cost us so many lives would have seen mother-to-child
transmission of the virus continue unhindered, when it can so easily
be stopped. Were it not for my leadership in KwaZulu, women would
have sought in vain for a champion that would allow them to inherit
their land when their husbands died, rather than being instantly
evicted based on archaic succession laws.
There are so many things the IFP has done for our
country and for our people. It is no wonder that, despite the
intense campaign of vilification waged by the ANC-in-exile against
me, and in the face of apartheid's propaganda that tried to sideline
me, the IFP became the second largest political party represented in
our democracy in April 1994. The IFP has always been big. We have
always been rock solid. And we have always been backed by the people
of goodwill, who shared our vision for our country's future.
But I am devastated to stand here today and
acknowledge that the IFP is facing the biggest challenge we have
ever come up against. Nothing from outside our Party could stop us
in the 35 years since we started.
But today, selfish ambition from within our ranks
is shaking the very foundations of our Party. Christ warned that a
house divided against itself cannot stand. The divisions that have
entered the IFP on the backs of the so-called "Friends of VZ Magwaza
Msibi" threaten all that we have worked for over 35 years.
Let me state unequivocally that this is not about
a succession battle. The media has called it that, and the "Friends of
VZ" have happily played along. But this is not about who will lead
the IFP into the future. It is about destroying the IFP's legacy to
the point where we are so weakened that power can be snatched away
by those who care nothing for this Party, but care a great deal
about their own status.
I have nothing to gain at this point in my life
from leadership positions. I have been ready to step down twice
before. But I am damned if I will ever see the IFP destroyed by
selfish ambition. I am embarrassed by the ructions in the Party
which have been flaunted by the media before the electorate. I am
not embarrassed for my own sake, but for the sake of the IFP. We
have always told the electorate that we are the party of integrity,
the party of delivery, the party of honesty. We have assured them
that we are a party that makes good on its promises, a party free of
But now corrupt practices have entered the IFP, as
the "Friends of VZ" are comprised of people who have been given
tenders and now feel the obligation to further the selfish aims of
those who seek to destroy the Party. The insubordination of these
people has caused chaos within our ranks, which has impacted on
service delivery. And this is where it becomes totally unacceptable.
I feel that it would be remiss of me not to speak
candidly about the damage that "the friends of VZ Magwaza-Msibi"
have done to our body politic especially when I am speaking here in
the district of Amajuba. It is
here that clandestine meetings have been held to brew the anarchy in
the midst of which we now find ourselves.
The very first subversive document was drafted at a meeting
which took place at NANDOS in Newcastle.
There are other meetings that have been held here which have
resulted in this tragic division amongst councillors here.
There are councillors who take pride in the fact that they
are part of "the friends of VZ Magwaza-Msibi".
We as a Party have not
done very well in this district even when
BY-ELECTIONS took place. There are BY-ELECTIONS that we have lost by
default merely because our councillors do not bother to work with our
structures, the branches. Instead, they busy themselves poisoning the minds
of our members through "the friends of VZ KaMagwaza-Msibi" which
have damaged the Party almost beyond repair.
Everywhere we need as a Party to double-up particularly after
we performed so poorly during the general election on the 22nd of
April 2009. All other
parties are engaged in repositioning themselves for this critical
local government election next year.
I say it is critical because if we lost in the local
government elections in the manner in which we were devastated here
during the general election that will mean the end of our Party in
the Amajuba district.
Local government to me is much more important than even the other
higher tier levels of government for Councils are the level of
government which deliver directly to the people on the ground.
It is not however, true that service delivery has
not taken place only because Municipal Councils fail to do so.
We are very much aware that these Municipal Councils are a
failure from the beginning because they depend in the main from
grants from the state coffers.
They have no taxation base.
In the old democracies municipalities depended on rates and
other taxes that they charged.
In our case, our municipalities serve the poorest of the poor
where because the people's poverty is grinding gut-wrenching poverty
and they cannot afford to pay for services.
That is why our Councils owe the state billions of Rand.
All this make it all the more necessary for our
Municipal Councils not to fritter away the little funds that come
via the state which are meant to enable our municipalities to deliver
services to our people. The tragedy here is the big rift between the
municipality and the very councillors who serve the municipality.
The tragedy here is that our councillors do not have amicable
relationship with their Mayor.
So many efforts have been mounted in the hope that some
rapprochement could be reached without any success.
If the councillors of Amajuba do still want us to survive as
IFP here in the Amajuba District, I have come here to appeal to them
to please for the sake of all of us to soften their stance and try
and meet each other for the sake of the Party.
If this message of mine falls on deaf ears then our goose is
cooked. We might as well
abandon any hope of the Party recovering in Amajuba and us taking
back the municipalities that we have lost and regain the ground we
lost during the general election last year.
I am deeply disappointed by this infighting among
leaders that we see in this municipality. Councillors and Party
leaders in this District have clashed repeatedly and if we do not
sort ourselves out, we are likely to lose this municipality in the
2011 Local Government Elections. In fact, everything that has
happened so far indicates that the quarrels amongst our leaders are
our Achilles Heel.
That is what we should be focused on. We have
fallen into a deadly trap when we give so much attention to the
antics of the "Friends of VZ Magwaza-Msibi" instead of focusing all
our energies and time on preparing for the Local Government
Elections. In one year's time we are going to face the electorate
and watch them judge our performance in the past five years of local
government. A year is not a long time.
We are already a year away from the 2009 national
elections, and what have we achieved?
We may have done an outstanding job compared to
other parties. We may have worked harder and smarter than any of our
political opponents. But when the voters see the IFP, will they see a
Party with an unshakable legacy of good governance, service
delivery, integrity and commitment, or will they see ructions and
instability; a party that is hard to put your money on. Votes are
the currency of the electorate. They will not give you their cash if you can't be
I find myself frustrated, because the IFP is a
fine organization. We have excellent leaders. We have a solid
foundation and a good Constitution. We have effective structures. We
have skill and foresight. And we have many, many members and
councillors who have the best interests of South Africa at the
forefront of their minds. But that could all amount to nothing at
the polling stations, because a few people with big mouths and low
agendas are leading our people astray.
They are insulting our intelligence if they think
we cannot see through their dirty tricks. Our intelligence is
insulted when we receive an SMS urging us to support a leader whose
"administrative abilities are beyond reasonable doubt". Those of you
who have been with me in the past 35 years know first hand how much
we achieved in the erstwhile KwaZulu Government. On a shoestring
budget, less than any other province received, my administration
delivered. We had plenty of reasons why it was difficult to deliver,
but we never used any of them as an excuse not to do so.
For young people who may not know this, let them look around.
We built these townships and the decent houses which they see
in townships like Madadeni. We
built thousands of schools in this district, including the Madadeni
College of Education which the ANC government closed down.
I built shopping malls such as the one you see at Madadeni.
I invited entrepreneurs to start factories in this district.
There are too many things than I can mention in a speech like
When apartheid fell and each of the provinces gave
an account to national government for their resources, KwaZulu was
the only province that was not in the red. In fact, we were the only
one who could hand over any money from our coffers. And through all
the years of governance, not a single allegation of corruption was
ever laid against us. One journalist has remarked that while schools
were burning across South Africa, ours were the only schools in
which teachers and pupils arrived on time and actually engaged in
I shall not go into the details of my ten years in
Cabinet as the Minister of Home Affairs or the fact that South
Africa's entire body of policy and legislation on migration matters
was transformed under my leadership. Likewise I need not detail the
22 occasions on which I acted as President of the Republic of South
Africa. I say these things merely to point out that the IFP's leader
is not a flash in the pan.
Those who want to take over the IFP by force are
doing so at great cost to the IFP's legacy, name and support.
I regret that there are now very few who have
travelled this long road with me. But I do know that all of you,
without exception, have been attracted to the IFP because of the
good reputation painstakingly forged over the past 35 years. As the
Founder of this Party, I have given much to making it succeed.
I have sacrificed time with my family. I have sacrificed
rest. And I have sacrificed following my own best interests.
Time and again, in the past half a century in
public life, temptations have been put across my path to further my
own name and career. But on every occasion I have chosen to do what
is right for the Party. I have endured vilification and ridicule for
choosing the Party's interests above my own. Yet I believe that the
IFP has an important contribution to make to our country. I can
never see the IFP as more important than South Africa, and I could
never see myself as more important than the common good.
I do not have a farm or a house through taking advantage of
my position then as Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu
Government. I have
throughout my long public life regarded myself as a servant of the
people of South Africa.
When the apartheid regime offered nominal
independence to KwaZulu, which would automatically have bestowed
enormous power onto me, I rejected it as a honey-trap. If I had
accepted, millions of South Africans would have lost their
citizenship and have had no inheritance once we achieved liberation.
When former President FW de Klerk invited me to the negotiating
table to engage bilateral discussions on the form of a democratic
dispensation, he was offering me the opportunity to become the
official liberator of our people. But I rejected the invitation,
setting the condition that political prisoners must be freed and
parties unbanned so that we could all come to the negotiating table
In 1999, President Thabo Mbeki offered me the
Deputy Presidency of the country, provided that I gave the
premiership of KwaZulu Natal to the African National Congress. I
could not betray the voters who had elected the IFP to lead them,
and thus rejected becoming South Africa's Deputy President for the
sake of upholding democracy. Twice I have announced my intention to
resign from leading this Party and twice I have been unanimously
urged by Conference to continue to lead.
I do not do things for my own benefit.
It is well known that I have already set my sights
on stepping down at our conference next month.
However, I now have a problem which has been created by the
National Council, which on the 24th of October 2009 decided to ask me "to consider" continuing to
serve as leader of the Party in view of the anarchy that has been
created in the Party.
This just in order, they suggested, to ensure a
smoother succession later.
This was endorsed by both the Women's Brigade National
Council. Also by
SADESMO. And by the
Youth Brigade National Executive.
I have, however, found it difficult to make up my mind in
view of the destructive activities of "the friends of VZ
Magwaza-Msibi". I have
no reason to want to hang on to the leadership of the Party but I
find myself in Queer Street when it comes to the obvious destruction
of the Party.
Selfish ambition is foreign to our Party. But it
is seeping into the ranks right now and we must set our hearts on
arresting it before it taints the soul of the IFP. We will see the
results of this cancer at the polling stations next year. The
electorate will let us know whether we successfully stopped the
nonsense, or allowed it to overwhelm us.
The indiscipline and defiance that we see amongst
our councillors, and some of the youth outside of the structures of
the Party, is something foreign to the IFP in the last 35 years.
Local government is close to the heart of the IFP.
We believe in federalism; empowering governance from the ground up
so that all South Africans will have a say in how they are governed,
from matters relating to basic services right through to matters of
national significance. While the IFP cares how national government
is working to secure our national territory, we are more acutely
attentive to how municipalities are providing sanitation, water,
health care and other basic services within our communities.
For this reason, matters of local governance
dominate the agenda in meetings of our National Executive Committee.
Local governance is without a doubt the single biggest challenge
facing our Party leadership in its everyday deliberations over what
our councils are doing or not doing. Week after week, month after
month, and indeed, year after year, we are confronted by an
unceasing set of serious problems, whose intensity and severity is
worsening all the time. We are working hard for the voters, and it
is time to work hard for the votes.
You cannot expect voters to vote for the IFP
merely because they did so in the past, or because they are expected
to be loyal, or because they support me. Affirmation of this kind
will not secure the services our people are entitled to, let alone
those they expect. People demand change in their lives, and if we
fail to deliver, then we should not be surprised when they vote for
another party whom they hope beyond hope will do a better job. We
are the right choice for the people. We are the right one's for the
job. But we need to get our house in order, and go and get the
As I said at the outset, all this chaos and
upheaval being caused by those who seek our Party's downfall from
within has somehow served a purpose and had an unexpected result. It
is unifying the core of those who love the IFP. It has impassioned
the people of goodwill with righteous indignation that all we have
worked for so long can be threatened now because a few upstarts
think that they should have more power.
These "Friends of VZ" may make the headlines. They
may arrest attention with their unruly behaviour and with the lies
they so willingly spread about our top leadership. But they cannot
prevail against the tide of goodwill that quietly, steadily and
unfailingly seeks the Party's survival.
Regardless of the ructions in our Party at
present, I am still proud to be the President of this Party. I am
proud of the heritage we have given South Africa. I am proud of the
hard work we have put in for 35 years. I am proud to serve the
people of goodwill, knowing that our shared vision for South
Africa's future can be achieved if we keep going in the right
direction; the direction set by an IFP that has been serving and
struggling and working and winning since the day it was founded.
We are still a winning party. Let us make sure
that the results of next year's Local Government Elections announce
this truth to South Africa. Let's get the votes. Let's win the
wards. Let's draw together and stand against those who seek the
IFP's demise. Together, we have a greater future.