IFP Rally In Gauteng, City Of Johannesburg District
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party

 

Alexandra Stadium: 10 April 2011

 

 

I take great pleasure in visiting Alexandra at the request of the IFP leadership in the City of Johannesburg. I was invited to come here to speak to our people about all that has happened in the IFP recently and what it means for our future. I am pleased that this opportunity coincides with the launch of our Local Government Election campaign, which took place in Durban last Saturday. This is an opportune moment for us to continue our dialogue on issues of governance, development and partnership.

 

This is a dialogue the people of the IFP, wherever they find themselves, have engaged for the past 35 years. But as we stand on the eve of the 2011 Local Government Elections, these issues take on added importance. On the 18th of May, the power to decide the future will be placed squarely where it belongs; in the hands of the people. This election is about you. It is about your community, your needs and your municipality.

 

The IFP has a long and proud history of working for South Africans. 

Together we brought South Africa out of oppression and into democracy. 

Together we tackled the challenge of transforming the legislative foundation of our country. And together we are pursuing the next step; our full liberation from the bonds of poverty, underdevelopment and social malaise.

 

The IFP is at the forefront of this challenge. For more than three decades we have pursued a revolution of goodwill in South Africa. We have done so hand in hand with our people; ordinary people, fighting ordinary battles under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. It pains me to see a deterioration in the quality of leadership in our country. We seem to have lost direction and focus. This makes the struggle for a revolution of goodwill more difficult, but also more critical.

 

As we seek to meet the social and economic challenges of our country, the IFP is aware that we also need to safeguard the advances we have made since 1994. I wish I could say that South Africa has arrived at a point in which our commitment to liberty, participative governance and development is beyond reproach. But, rather than arriving, I somehow feel we have come to a crossroads on what may still be a long journey.

 

Nevertheless, it is a journey the IFP is committed to make, on behalf of our people and in partnership with our people. The May 18 election is an important step along the way, for this election will determine the health of our democracy. The electoral result will tell us whether democracy can thrive in South Africa, or whether a one party state is inevitable. Your vote will help make this decision. I cannot over emphasize how valuable your vote will be on May 18th.

 

Make no mistake, there is an all out war raging for your vote. I have come here to speak openly and frankly to the communities of this district, because I know that many of you have been misled by the newly formed National Freedom Party and I am told that some of you are being victimized. I have come to set the record straight. The NFP is not the new IFP. At best it is a cheap knock off of the ANC, because it was birthed with ANC money and with the ANC's support.

 

I have spoken about Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi and her NFP in KwaZulu Natal. 

We have examined her treachery during our national Youth Brigade Conference and our Women's Brigade Conference, because we needed to look at all that has happened and place it in the right perspective. 

This split is a relatively small obstacle when one puts it in the perspective of 35 years. Two years of ructions cannot nullify or change a legacy that has been built over more than three decades.

 

It has been a cathartic experience to discuss our former National Chairperson within our structures. But there is nothing left to say. 

She lied. She left. Now she is plotting her comeback. But she is one person, with nothing new to offer, other than an untested party filled with malcontents and disgruntled defectors. The IFP is bigger than any individual person or personality. Our mission is far greater than Magwaza-Msibi. Our legacy does not depend on a pip-squeak we promoted. 

Our role in South Africa is unchanged and unchangeable, for we are the watchdog of democracy and the champion of the people.

 

I am speaking in such strong terms because I believe the people of the City of Johannesburg are looking for straight answers. A great deal of confusion has been sown in the past two years and it is time to let the truth be known. Much of the confusion has come from the propaganda being carried by certain newspapers that seek to promote Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi while undermining the IFP.

 

We have approached the Press Ombudsman time and time again to prevent the media from publishing such biased and baseless articles. But we know that once something is read, even if a retraction is later published, it becomes fact in the mind of the reader. Because of the destructive power of irresponsible journalism, I spoke in Parliament during the debate on the President's state of the nation address to expose allegations of brown envelope journalism. A document had been leaked which revealed that a certain editor had been bought to protect Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi's reputation, and that other journalists would be targeted for this purpose.

 

I revealed these things in Parliament because the IFP has born the brunt of propaganda for three decades, and it is time for the nonsense to end. It was not easy to raise these matters in Parliament and, as I had expected to be, I was criticized for doing it. But I have never been one to take the easy path for the sake of popularity. I believe in speaking truth to power, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes them feel. I suspect I will face some criticism again in the media after today's meeting, for I intend to speak again about Zanele Magwaza-Msibi.

 

Although we have moved on as a Party, the propaganda continues and many of our supporters are being intentionally misled. Thus, although we have spoken about this in KwaZulu Natal, I feel we must speak about it again in Gauteng, so that the truth can triumph. I believe in arming people with the truth so that you can make informed decisions about your future and your allegiance.

 

When I visited Soweto in June last year for the provincial conference of the IFP, lies were being bandied about in the media that the youth of our Party wanted a change in leadership. Using the platform of the youth's call for transformation in the IFP, a debate which I myself opened when I spoke about renewal and regeneration, a few ambitious malcontents engineered a division in our Party. The transformation agenda was never spelled out, for it was hijacked and grotesquely altered to suit the nefarious scheme of people who wanted to take over the leadership of the IFP.

 

At the helm of all this treachery was our former National Chairperson, Mrs Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, who deceived the leadership in the National Council and lied to our members. She allowed her supporters, "The Friends of VZ" to create chaos within our structures, disrupting meetings with chair throwing, fistfights and swearing matches, and continuing to lie as our members were wounded and killed.

 

In November last year, she took the IFP to court to try to prevent us from holding a disciplinary enquiry that would have exposed her deception, and to try to force us to hold an elective conference at which her supporters intended to nominate her for the presidency. I shudder to think what would have happened to our Party if the Friends of VZ had foisted on us a leader with no integrity, no conscience and no goodwill towards the IFP.

 

Through her court case, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi made it clear that she was either going to lead this Party, or destroy it. Our legacy was of no consequence in her pursuit for power. Our members did not matter. Our values were dispensable. Nothing mattered to this woman except her own status. She sought power for the sake of power.

 

I thank God that her carefully laid plans were waylaid and the IFP was vindicated by the judgment of the Pietermaritzburg High Court. We had done nothing wrong in dealing with Magwaza-Msibi. In fact we had supported her, promoted her and given her the benefit of the doubt. In turn, she wreaked havoc in the IFP while drawing an IFP salary, even months after her new party had been registered with the IEC.

 

So that lie that she peddled that the IFP was persecuting her was exposed as a lie. And the lie that her supporters told that our youth wanted a change in leadership was revealed as nonsense. Indeed, the National Executive of the IFP Youth Brigade and the leadership of SADESMO have endorsed a request made by our National Council in October 2009 that I consider continuing to lead the IFP beyond our next conference. I have not yet made this decision. Just three weeks ago, we held a successful national Youth Brigade Conference in which the youth resolved that my leadership is still needed in the IFP and in the country.

 

This is in sharp contrast to the ANC Youth League, which often openly criticizes the leadership of the ANC. Of course we all remember that Mr Zuma had a group of supporters lobbying for him at the contested Polokwane conference in 2007, who called themselves "The Friends of JZ".

 

It is no surprise that "The Friends of VZ", who are now the NFP, came across as copycats of "The Friends of JZ", because evidence has shown that some leaders within the ANC were bankrolling the split in our Party and "The Friends of VZ" were supported both financially and through propaganda in their bid to steal the IFP away from its elected leadership.

 

We should not be surprised if the NFP turns on itself in the coming months, just as the structures of the ANC are doing, for many of those who joined the NFP did so on the basis of promises of money, power, positions and status. There is sure to be some serious jostling for top spots in the NFP and this may well sound the end of the NFP before it has even started. We have seen how power struggles threatened to split COPE soon after it was formed.

 

In the case of COPE, a split was lamentable because it weakened democracy by weakening the opposition. But in the case of the NFP, internal fractures can only bode well, for this non-starter is threatening to split the vote and give more power to the ANC. That is why the ANC supported its formation in the first place. The NFP is not a threat to the ANC; in fact it is a boon for the ANC. But it is a threat to democracy, and a threat to the people who mandated the IFP to lead their municipalities.

 

We know that the ANC's intention all along has been to centralize power into the hands of the few, at the top. The pursuit of centralization turned the ANC against the idea of provinces when we came together around the negotiating table before 1994. They preferred to see policies developed at a national level, rolled out on a conveyor belt system to the provinces, regardless of the idiosyncrasies of our diverse regions and peoples.

 

The IFP fought tooth and nail for provinces. We were established upon the notion of federalism, as the most effective means of ensuring democracy in a pluralist society. We sought to bring governance closer to the people, so that you could partner with your representatives in designing solutions to specific service delivery problems.

 

The problems you face in Gauteng are not exactly the same as those in the Western Cape or Mpumalanga. I know that here, for instance, there is great concern over the Metro's irregular billing, which affects the financial security of families and small businesses. Some Johannesburg residents are being over-billed for rates and services by the ANC-led municipality and, if they don't pay up, their services are disconnected. Residents have been forced to protest to get their government to listen to them.

 

One does not see service delivery protests in IFP-led municipalities, because we believe in listening to the people and responding to their concerns with genuine answers. We know that nationally there is a crisis due to escalating food and fuel prices, which are affecting the poor far more than the rich. The price increases on basic commodities are eroding the disposable income of poorer households. This is not just about choosing a cheaper brand. It's about having to go without certain basic items altogether.

 

The IFP's track record in the 32 municipalities we lead in KwaZulu Natal has enabled us to prove that IFP led municipalities function better than ANC led municipalities. We faced a problem of incorrect electricity meter readings in Uphongolo. Instead of passing the cost on to our people, the municipality installed pre-paid meters. In Edumbe, we have prioritized electricity connections to local businesses, because we understand how difficult it is to succeed in any entrepreneurial venture in the present economic climate.

 

The IFP believes in real solutions, not lip service and empty promises. To my mind, making empty promises is one of the most irresponsible things a government can do. For seventeen years the ruling Party has been making promises and focusing your attention on the final goal, without ever explaining how it plans to get there. It is dishonest, for instance, to announce a Youth Wage Subsidy when nothing ever comes of the proposal. Our youth should rather be equipped with the skills they need in order to find employment. The IFP advocates youth work holiday schemes that double as apprenticeships for later employment in municipal services.

 

Unemployment amongst the youth in our country is at 51% and the National Treasury predicts that by next year 16 million people will be receiving social grants. Government's lauded Expanded Public Works Programme created 2.4 million jobs. But they lasted less than 50 days. 

Between 2009 and 2010, we lost about 1.17 million jobs, rather than seeing the half a million new jobs the President committed himself to delivering.

 

If one were to try and imagine how many unemployed people that constitutes, picture the whole of Johannesburg being without work, and add another million on top of that. Four years ago, the IFP youth in this province marched on the Legislature and presented a memorandum to the Office of the Presidency calling for an urgent intervention to address unemployment. Although a lot has been said, we have not seen tangible results. It is not enough to simply talk about something. One has to know how to achieve it, and be willing to sacrifice and work to get there.

 

I am a pragmatist, because life has taught me not to indulge dreams as if they were reality. Pragmatism prevents me from endorsing the ANC's dream of redressing the many imbalances in our society without paying any cost. To create job opportunities, we must pay the social cost of creating maximum flexibility in the labour market. To create a new industrial basis, we must accept the political cost of displeasing the trade unions, curbing expectations and being honest with our people.

 

The Department of Human Settlements recently revealed that it will cost approximately R58 billion to fix poorly constructed RDP houses. 

Government throws around figures like this to show how much it is doing for our people. But what was the cost of employing unfit contractors in the first place? And who is benefitting from all this wastage of government funds? Certainly not you, the taxpayer. 

Certainly not you, who will go and vote on the 18th of May.

 

It is unacceptable that corrupt officials and corrupt contractors walk away with your hard earned money, while delivering nothing of any benefit. I led the erstwhile KwaZulu Government for eighteen years and never once was an allegation of corruption ever levelled against my administration. Corruption is not an inevitable part of government. It is a vile product of wrong leadership.

 

The IFP is concerned about evidence of corruption within the housing allocation programme. There is no clear policy for the allocation of newly built houses and not enough are being built to meet the needs of all those who have no home. We believe that housing should be allocated in a transparent and orderly manner that is easily understood by all. We also believe in proper planning and management of hostels and informal settlements.

 

IFP is still applying pressure on Government to improve the subhuman conditions of many hostels in and around Gauteng. We believe hostels should be converted from dormitory style accommodation into self-contained units that can accommodate single people or families. 

Such units must be affordable, have basic services and be integrated into the broader community.

 

I have said before that every South African, whether they live in a shack, a block of flats or a hostel, is entitled to government services. The fact that this has not materialized after 17 years of democracy is an indictment on our government. The IFP is determined to see the situation improve. We are keenly aware of the needs here. We know our people, just as our people know us.

 

The IFP's election campaign is all about you, because - to us - you deserve honest leaders, truthful representatives and real solutions. 

We insist on a local government that is open and efficient, and works for you. For this reason, we work to promote openness in our municipalities. Tenders are public so that you will know precisely who gets what, for what service. We believe you have a right to receive any information you require concerning your municipality and your council.

 

We also believe that every Rand must be spent in a way that improves your community and your municipality. The IFP acts against mismanagement, corruption and waste. We are not shy to fire councillors who are not working and not delivering. No one in the IFP gets a free ride. For that reason, we block bonuses for managers which are not earned through real performance.

 

We are committed to bringing municipal governance closer to you, empowering you to participate in decisions that are made. Our councillors are mandated to work closely with you every day, so that local government by the IFP works with you and for you in all that it does. We set a very high standard for our councillors, for we know that they not only represent the IFP to the people, but the people to their Government.

 

You can therefore expect an IFP councillor to be a person of integrity, who will be open and fair in their dealings, include you in decision making and be accountable for all they do. Our councillors are required to be available to you at all times, to take your concerns seriously, and treat you with dignity and respect.

 

These commitments are contained in the pledge which the IFP's candidates took during our national campaign launch last Saturday, and which your own future leaders have taken here today. In the next few weeks before May the 18th many promises will be made by parties intent on getting your vote. But if you scratch the surface, you are likely to find that these are empty promises. The ANC does not have a sound track record when it comes to fulfilling promises, and the NFP has no track record at all.

 

Because the IFP is a party of integrity with an admirable track record of service delivery and good governance, we have been able at every election to point to all that we have done in the past 35 years and ask the electorate to make an informed decision on who has the experience and integrity to lead our country. You know the IFP. You have worked with the IFP for generations. Long before 1994, the IFP was working hand in hand with the people. Long before democracy, we were the people's champion.

 

Today, the IFP is still on the side of the people. South Africa is paying the cost of its leaders' arrogance. With every poor decision of the ruling party, our people have to pay. We are sick and tired of being told what is in our best interests. Decisions on governance should be made by the people being governed.

 

The IFP seeks to see South Africa governed by South Africans, in partnership, from the ground up, through strong municipalities with tailor made service delivery plans. It is about you; about building you a house, about educating your children, about fixing your roads, about giving you quality medical care, and helping you find employment that is sustainable and dignified.

 

You should be the one to decide whether a clinic is being run properly, or if a road needs to be resurfaced. You should be telling your representatives about electricity and water needs, and seeing those needs met. The IFP has decided to focus its campaign in 2011 on you, because only through your participation and vigilance can local government succeed. We cannot govern effectively without listening to you, and finding out how to serve you best.

 

We have listened to the people for 35 years and have accepted your mandate to serve. I ask you to speak again through the ballot box on May 18th. The IFP wants to partner with the people of goodwill. We want to serve you and work for you, in a partnership that puts you first. As the President of the IFP, I ask you to strengthen the hand that works for you - vote for the IFP.

 

I urge you to be vigilant during this election campaign, and to report any intimidation or fraud. Do not allow yourselves to be cheated out of the leadership you prefer. In every election since 1994, there have been incidents of electoral fraud and irregularities aimed at swaying the balance of power. We have seen people bussed into areas in which they do not live, to register and vote for the ANC, and we have seen the special vote abused.

 

The special vote, which was previously reserved for national and provincial elections, will now apply in May 2011. This will enable the sick, the elderly and the frail, and anyone who cannot vote on the 18th of May for whatever reason, to vote on the 16th and 17th. I urge you to assist anyone who would qualify for the special vote to register at their voting station between the 15th of April and the 3rd of May, so that they too may cast their vote and have their say.

 

While South Africa has boasted free and fair elections since 1994, the IFP has continually raised concerns with the Independent Electoral Commission, because we have seen all sorts of shenanigans taking place. The IEC has not been enthusiastic about investigating these incidents. We therefore know that it is not going to help to cry over spilt milk after the elections. We need to be vigilant and speak up as things happen.

 

The IFP is not afraid of making these bold statements, even when we are castigated in the media. We have always advocated negotiations and non-violence. These ideals were propounded by the founding fathers of the ANC in 1912; but somehow Inkatha paid a terrible price for advocating them during our liberation struggle. We were vilified by the ANC both nationally and internationally for rejecting the armed struggle. But we never veered from the course of non-violence.

 

It would therefore be strange indeed if the IFP failed to stand up and speak out when lives are being lost to violence in the run up to elections. Violence has cost the lives of several people because of the conflict between the NFP and the IFP. I feel strongly that we must hold the IEC to its responsibility of ensuring free and fair democratic elections. Fraud, intimidation and victimization can play no part in deciding the electoral result. The results must reflect the will of the people, not the success of the loudest bully who uses underhanded tactics. This election is about your vote. It's about you.

 

When the ructions in our Party came to an end at the beginning of this year, the IFP reset course with admirable speed. We have transformed from crisis mode into election mode, and I believe we have done it very well. We are ready to contest the Local Government Elections. We have identified our candidates and submitted our lists to the Independent Electoral Commission. We have launched our national election manifesto in Durban. And we are speaking to our people throughout South Africa about the need to vote on May 18th - and vote for the IFP.

 

As the President of the IFP, it is now my privilege to take our pledge for the Local Government Elections in the presence of the people of Johannesburg ?

 

Together with you, I will hold IFP councillors accountable for their actions. I will insist on the highest standards of good governance, of ethical behaviour and of responsiveness to the community. My Party will strictly enforce this and we will fire those who fail to comply. 

I will hold every one of our councillors to their commitment of being a person of integrity; who is open with you, fair with you and includes you in decision-making. We will ensure that our councillors are accountable to you and insist that they are available at all times. We will take your concerns seriously and treat you with dignity and respect. I pledge the IFP to work for you and with you, for the IFP knows it is all about you.

 

City of Johannesburg, I thank you.