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

 

Hanover Park Community Hall: 10 May 2011

 

Thank you for welcoming the IFP into the community of Hanover Park. 

This morning I visited the Day Hospital and Ihlaas Mosque, and met many people as I walked though the streets. Everywhere I went I heard the same message, that people are worried about this dog fight between the DA and the ANC, because somewhere along the line the real needs of the people of Hanover Park have been forgotten.

 

I have come to Hanover Park aware that some of you may not know the IFP very well, although we have been part of the politics of South Africa for 35 years and have made a difference to governance both before and since 1994. The IFP is the voice of reason in South African politics. You don't hear about violent service delivery protests in IFP led municipalities. You don't hear about the IFP calling politicians vulgar names. And you don't hear about the IFP fighting over open toilets for more than two years.

 

We are the people that get the job done, because we know that governance is all about you. The IFP has 18 representatives in Parliament and some 900 Councillors in municipalities across South Africa. We led the administration of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government for 18 years before democracy, and we served in the Government of National Unity for the first five years after 1994. Even after that, President Mbeki asked me to continue serving in his Cabinet as the Minister of Home Affairs. I have been appointed Acting President of the country more than 20 times.

 

I recount these facts to emphasise that the IFP is not the new kid on the block, and neither are we a small voice. We have helped shape the laws and policies of our country, but we have also stood in strong opposition to the many missteps the ANC government has taken, because our first priority is to the people. For 35 years the IFP has served the poorest South Africans, as well as the workers. We have struggled alongside the unemployed, the parents, the caregivers and entrepreneurs. We have worked for you.

 

We have never let power corrupt us nor forgotten that we serve because of the mandate you, the people, have given us. We are your representatives. The IFP has therefore made this election campaign all about you. We chose our slogan to send a clear message to leaders who have put other interests first; like politics, money and power. I think people need to be reminded that it's about you, because local government can make a difference. Your vote counts.

 

I have been travelling across KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng for several weeks now, encouraging people to vote next Wednesday in the local government elections. In many democracies, including our own, citizens don't often come out in numbers to vote at this level.  People somehow feel that they cannot make a difference in local government, because everything has already been decided at the national and provincial level.

 

The Western Cape is unique, because the ANCs blanket rule ends on the provincial boundaries. For the ANC, taking control of the Western Cape in the May 18 elections is a matter of pride. In fact, they haven't put forward a mayoral candidate anywhere else in South Africa other than Cape Town, because the ANC knows that if it is going to take the Western Cape from the DA, it is going to have to fight hard.

 

The fight for Cape Town is therefore very public and people are expected to take sides with either the DA or the ANC. That is quite disheartening for many people, because it's a choice between the ANC's incompetence or the DA's arrogance. I am here to point out that there is an alternative. There is another way. I have come to Hanover Park to support the IFP's candidates, because they are men and women who know you and are known to you. They are people of integrity that are backed by the IFP's track record.

 

The IFP has an exceptional track record in governance and service delivery. In KwaZulu Natal we still run more municipalities than the ANC, because at local government level, where services are actually delivered, people still want a party that can get the job done. That party is the IFP. The electorate has given us the mandate to lead 32 municipalities, and we have had the opportunity to prove that we do it better than the ANC.

 

In many other municipalities across the country, people have strengthened the voice of the IFP by giving us their vote. This is what we would like to see in Hanover Park. We are asking for your vote next Wednesday to strengthen a different voice in your local council; a voice of reason and a voice of integrity. You don't have to give your allegiance to people simply because they govern. And you don't have to vote for their opponent as a way of saying you don't like them. You can choose something entirely different. You can vote for the IFP.

 

A vote for the IFP can make a difference for Hanover Park, because the IFP candidates are backed by a strong party; a party that is still a serious threat to the ANC. We are not the kind of people who sling mud at others to make ourselves look good, but there is a time and a place to take a hard look at the people asking for your vote, and ask whether they are the right people for the job.

 

The DA's mayoral candidate, Ms Patricia de Lille, started in the Pan Africanist Congress before she went solo with the Independent Democrats. Then, last August, she took the ID to the DA, and now the DA is promoting her for mayor. She may have great credentials and she may be good at her job, but there is a bad habit in politics of giving positions as payback. The ANC has found itself in bitter battles because of this habit. Cadres get their feathers ruffled because there are just not enough top positions to satisfy everyone who feels they are owed a position.

 

This is why the ANC is having problems with its candidate lists, because candidates chosen by the people to represent them have simply been removed from the lists and replaced with people chosen by the ANC. This shows how little the ANC actually cares about the will of the people. Their representatives are not accountable to you; they are accountable to the ANC.

 

This is, unfortunately, true for Mr Tony Ehrenreich as well. The ANC's mayoral candidate, who is also the provincial secretary of COSATU here in the Western Cape, has a reputation for being a man of the people.  But he has made no bones about the fact that he intends to align the economic polices of the Western Cape with those of the national government. Indeed, he has listed this as one of his top three priorities as mayoral candidate.

 

Mr Ehrenreich lives near here, in Uitsig. But don't think that a local lad can change the way things are done in Hanover Park, just because he lives here.  He has a mandate to line up local governance here with the way governance is done by the ANC everywhere else. So wherever national policies have failed, you can expect the same failure to dog the Western Cape if the ANC wins this election.

 

His other two top priorities are to improve public transport and provide water and sanitation to informal settlements. But his party's track record in both these cases is not inspiring. In fact, they overspent by millions of Rand to get the Gautrain up and running. But a ticket from Pretoria to OR Tambo Airport still costs R125. That is not affordable for most of us. Interestingly, China constructed a rapid rail system at about the same time as we embarked on the Gautrain project; but it was twice the speed, twice the length, and cost them half as much. Surely we could be doing better.

 

In terms of providing water and sanitation to informal settlements, one cannot help remembering Andries Tatane, who was beaten to death by the Police during a service delivery protest in the ANC-led settlement near Ficksburg. Then there is the community of Zandspruit, who had to resort to violent protest against their ANC councillor for non-delivery, because the councillor would not listen to the people she had promised to represent.

 

Service delivery protests are par for the course in ANC-led municipalities. So when an ANC candidate says they can do better in Hanover Park by doing things the ANC way, we must ask ourselves if that is the truth, or just another ANC promise.

 

The ANC has not made any friends in the Western Cape by allowing the government spokesperson, Mr Jimmy Manyi, to vent his racist spleen against the coloured community. Mr Ehrenreich would have us believe that Mr Manyi isn't the spokesperson on these issues. But he speaks for the national ANC government, and Mr Ehrenreich wants to align policies here with the national ANC government policies. So it would be foolish not to ask whether the ANC's determined pursuit of affirmative action and the setting of employment equity targets is really going to be based on provincial demographics, or whether this community is about the get the raw end of the deal.

 

These are issues being discussed in the public arena every day. The fight between the ANC and the DA is really heating up. But where does it leave the people? I am determined to see local governance become what it is meant to be; all about you. It is not about dog fights. It is about your municipality, your schools, your roads, your houses, your jobs, your struggle and your safety. The IFP's candidates know that it is about you.

 

I am pleased to be here to introduce our candidates and support them as they ask for your vote. I thank Mr Ricardo Sedres, our programme director, for standing as a candidate in these elections, because I know that serving the community as a local councillor is not about the glory, and it is definitely not about the money. The IFP does not tolerate slackers; no one who works on an IFP ticket gets a free ride.  We expect our councillors to work hard, and we hold them accountable for their performance.

 

The IFP is not afraid to fire councillors who are not delivering on the mandate of the IFP. We don't believe in giving jobs as favours or as payback for allegiance. We believe in choosing the right people for the job, to ensure that the job gets done. Our candidates have all taken a pledge of integrity and responsiveness to the community. I intend to hold them accountable for fulfilling that pledge.

 

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. We believe that local governance matters because it is here that services are delivered and it is here that you interact with your government as the first point of contact. Governance should be done from the ground up. In this way, communities can partner with their representatives to move the hand of government.

 

Although our country faces many social and economic problems, every community is unique and should be empowered to tailor make its own solutions to the problems at hand. Just as Mzingazi has different problems to Chatsworth, Hanover Park has different problems to Parow.

 

Our candidates are Capetonians who live in this community, work here, go to church here and educate their children here. They understand your struggle, because it is their struggle too. Our candidates have some good ideas of how to assist you, including extending the municipal rates relief programme to you, to help rearrange your municipal debt. They are at the forefront of the fight against drug abuse, particularly Tik, and the fight against crime and gangsterism.

 

The IFP believes Hanover Park needs more visible policing and a quicker response time from police and emergency services. This means equipping your local police stations with the resources they need to help you. I know that there are brave policemen and -women in this community who are trying to protect and serve under very challenging circumstances. I applaud you, and I thank you for caring for our people.

 

Indeed there are many people in Hanover Park that are trying to make a difference every day, by keeping children off the streets, by reporting drug dealers, by supporting rehabilitation programmes, by housing family in need, by using a paycheque to provide for neighbours, and by praying constantly for protection and upliftment in Hanover Park.

 

The IFP wants to partner with these people. We want to partner with you in a revolution of goodwill that can change this community. But we need your support to do it. We need your vote on the 18th of May. We need you to strengthen the voice of the IFP in your local council. The IFP is the alternative to the political dogfight that is seeing your needs left behind. So next Wednesday I ask you to vote IFP.

 

I thank you.

 

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