Oshabeni: 11 May 2011
I am delighted to be in Oshabeni today to discuss
the coming local government elections. Next Wednesday, we will all
go to the polls again to cast our votes for the leadership we want.
to see our Party doing well in the Hibiscus Coast Municipality, in
Umzumbe, in uMuziwabantu, in Vulamehlo, in uMdoni and Ezinqoleni.
The time for us to speak is now. The time to change things in Ugu
has come. I want to thank you for welcoming the IFP today, because
together we have some important decisions to make.
We are proud of the track record that was achieved by the IFP
when our Provincial Chairperson, Mr Mntomuhle Khawula was our Mayor
here in the Ugu District. There is just no comparison.
The IFP is well known to you. We are the party
that most of you voted for in the 2000 local government elections.
We are the party that many voted for in 2006. With your mandate, we
ran the Ugu District Municipality for several years, and we did a
good job, because we were serving in a partnership with you, the
people. You knew us from our 35 years of work in politics and
governance, and you trusted our track record. Together, we worked
hard for Ugu. Just
compare our record to that of those who are governing Ugu District
and your local municipalities now.
In 2004 South Africa suffered a perversion of
justice. Our partnership was hijacked by the immoral floor crossing
legislation that allowed the ANC to steal the leadership of this
District. They did not come into power based on your vote. They are
not here because of your mandate. The ANC took over Ugu in 2004
because democracy faltered under the ruling party's determined
pursuit of political dominance.
It was a question of cheque book politics, corruption was the
dominant factor in our loss of control of Ugu.
The floor crossing legislation or, as we call it,
the "cross-titution", allowed elected representatives to abandon
their party and take up a position in a different party, without
losing the seat your vote had given them. It was a betrayal of your
vote and a betrayal of democracy. The IFP opposed the floor crossing
legislation because we consider it immoral to cheat the electorate
out of the leadership they choose. We have stood by this principle
on other occasions too.
In 2004, after the general election, President
Thabo Mbeki offered me the Deputy Presidency of the country. But
leaders within the ANC pressurized him into attaching the
precondition that I give the premiership of KwaZulu Natal to the
ANC. I could not betray the voters. The electorate had spoken
through the ballot box and called for an IFP premier. It is not up
to me to subvert democracy and to give something away that is not
mine to give. I firmly believe that what the people ask for, the
people should get. That is true democracy.
But this is also a warning, because on the 18th of
May the electorate has an opportunity to express its will, and if
you ask for an ANC leadership, you are going to get more of the same
in Oshabeni and in Ugu, and in your own community. More of the same
means more corruption in your municipalities and more arrogant
disregard for your needs. That is the way of the ANC, because they
have become too power hungry and too obsessed with positions, status
and money. The ANC has forgotten that it's all about you.
I have come to Ugu today with the message that
local governance is about you. The IFP's election campaign is about
you, because we believe the focus needs to be shifted back to where
it belongs. These elections are not about power or political
dominance. They are about your needs, your municipality and what you
want. Local governance is about addressing the water crisis,
providing electricity, infrastructure development and uplifting
communities. It's about helping you to help yourself, in a
partnership that puts you first.
You know the IFP. Through the floor crossing
legislation, you have had the opportunity to come to know the ANC.
When you compare what we achieved with what they have done since
they took control of Ugu, it is easy to see that the IFP is a better
option for a better future. The IFP proved itself competent when it
governed this District, and we have worked hard for you even in
ANC-led municipalities. We have not allowed our voice to be
silenced, because we know that our voice is your voice. We know that
the people want a chance to get the IFP back in Ugu. That is apart
from the corrupt and spineless councillors that showed what
political prostitution is all about, when they ran across to join
the National Freedom Party.
This was for today's thirty pieces of silver.
I cannot believe that people such as ex- Councillor Doncabe,
ex-Councillor Zuma and Ms Mqadi could do what they have done and
still be able to sleep with their consciences at night.
We are not the only ones who think this way.
Recently the IFP approached the Electoral Court to challenge a
decision by the Independent Electoral Commission that we could not
contest the elections in Umzumbe, because we did not manage to
submit our candidate list on time. We sought the Court's
intervention because we knew we had tried everything to get our list
in on time. But Umzumbe, being a rural area, lacks the
infrastructure to assist quick delivery of documents. To meet the
IEC's deadline, we even tried to hire a helicopter to fly our party
list out of Umzumbe, but the weather would not allow this.
But we know that even in this some of our ex-Councillors had
a role to play in slamming the door in our faces.
The Electoral Court ruled in our favour,
acknowledging that the circumstances were beyond our control. But
the Court also based its ruling on the fact that not allowing the
IFP to participate in elections in Umzumbe would be detrimental to
democracy. It is so clear that there is strong support for the IFP
in Umzumbe, that the Court felt it would deprive you of your voice
if the IFP were excluded. It was a victory for Umzumbe.
I was rather surprised when the IEC approached the
Constitutional Court to challenge the ruling of the Electoral Court,
because they have little to gain from doing this. The IEC is not a
political party. One would expect this kind of challenge from
political opponents, because the stakes are so high. The ANC knows
we are a serious threat because they know they took the South Coast
from the IFP through an underhanded tactic, rather than through the
ballot box. Now that the time has come for you to go and vote again,
they realize that they could lose control.
It is unfortunately with a heavy heart that I have
to report to you today that the IFP has lost this battle. We have
been ruled out of the election race in Umzumbe. We fought this issue
to the bitter end, but yesterday the Constitutional Court gave its
verdict on this matter. In a disappointing turn of events, the
Constitutional Court ruled that that the Electoral Court did not
have the power to grant relief that would allow the IFP to
participate in the upcoming election on May 18. The Court found that
"delivery of documents to another office was therefore not
compliant". It further ruled that "the application for leave to
appeal was granted and the appeal upheld."
I respect the Court's decision, but I am
devastated by the ruling. The Constitutional right of voters to
choose a candidate of their choice in Umzumbe has now been curtailed
by the decision of the Constitutional Court. It is indeed a major blow for our fledgling
But all is not lost. Democracy can still triumph.
The people of Umzumbe can still ensure that democracy prevails by
making sure that their voices are heard on May 18. The Court's
decision is a setback, but I urge the people of Umzumbe not to
become despondent, but to come out in their numbers to vote for the
IFP. We need your vote in Ugu. It is only through voting for the
IFP, in Ugu, on the District Ballot that we will be able to stop the
ANC's control. We must stop the ANC in its quest for total hegemony.
For the ANC, control is very important. Their
demand for allegiance is so blatant, especially here is the Hibiscus
Coast Municipality, that no one gets a job without holding an ANC
membership. There is favouritism when it comes to employment
opportunities and nepotism when it comes to tenders. Some time ago there were reports that the Hawks
were investigating several officials, but nothing has yet been
published about arrests. Much of what happens in ANC-led
municipalities happens under a shroud of secrecy.
I do not know if any of you read reports after the
case against the wife of the Minister of Intelligence.
It is unbelievable to read what appeared in the media
reports; According to the Witness of Friday, the 6th of May, the DA
member of Hibiscus Municipality Councillor Dave Snashall stated;
"Mrs Cwele was often absent from work, using up all her
leave, sick leave and even unpaid leave on occasion.
Her parking space outside her office was frequently empty.
According to a person who lived in the same block of flats,
she came to work late, left early and sometimes did not go back to
work at all after lunch.
Her performance was so weak that she had half her job given away to
another director. I have
over the years frequently pointed these facts out to the Municipal
Manager who does not know if or when his senior officers are at
work. Despite the above
being common knowledge he continued to renew her contract to the
great detriment of Hibiscus Coast Municipality."
I have no idea if all these things are true. But I have no reason to doubt their veracity and
if they are true is it right that on the 18th of May you should vote
in these kind of people as your representatives in the
municipalities, both in local municipalities and in the district.
What kind of people employ this kind of Manager?
Is this the best way of spending tax-payer's money?
That is not the way it should be. The IFP believes
in transparent local governance and open municipalities. We believe
you have the right to receive any information you require about your
municipality and your council. We believe that tenders should be
public so that you know precisely who gets how much for what
service. Any potential conflict of interest between employees and
councillors should be made public.
The IFP has declared war on dodgy tenders. 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. Officials knew that I would not tolerate corrupt
practices. I still do not tolerate corruption. The IFP has
administered the shoestring budget of KwaZulu, and the billions of
KwaZulu Natal, and we have not changed our policy of absolute
integrity. When we were in charge of the Province after 1994, there
were no Nguni cattle given to Mrs Mtshali, the Premier's wife and no
loans from Ithala Bank given to the wives of Ministers to purchase
hotels and farms. It is a question of style of governance. It is not
surprising that the whole of Umsunduzi Municipal Council had to be
removed because of corruption. They were even accused of have put
aside R1 million to finance one of Mr Zuma's Rallies during the
2009 election campaign. Is this not a good illustration of the
saying that when a fish rots, the rot starts from the head?
We therefore support proposed legislation which
will require all state employees to declare their business
interests. But we want not only officials to be accountable, but
their immediate family as well. We know that dodgy tenders are often
hidden by officials using their husbands or wives to front their own
interests. We believe that wherever there is a conflict of interest,
it should be exposed. The IFP insists that Mayors and City or Town
Managers be appointed on merit, and we believe in making their
credentials publically available so that you know what your
representative can do for you.
We believe in accountability. For this reason,
every IFP candidate has taken a pledge of integrity and
responsiveness to the community. I intend to hold them accountable
for honouring this pledge, and I hope you will do the same, for
local governance is about a partnership. 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 from a distance. We live and work
alongside you, tackling the real problems together. We are intent on
stopping waste, mismanagement and corruption, while prioritizing
spending on infrastructure and basic services, like water and
electricity. Every Rand must be spent in a way that improves your
community and municipality. This makes the IFP a vastly better
choice than the ANC.
I know that the ANC has been campaigning in Ugu
and highlighting all its successes at a national and provincial
level. But that has nothing to do with local governance. The
national fiscus is unfortunately skewed so that municipalities
receive far less funding than provincial or national government.
Municipalities have insufficient funding to fulfil their
constitutional mandate. We therefore have to find creative ways to
ensure the day-to-day running of municipalities that cannot raise
much in the way of own revenue because the vast majority of their
residents live in poverty. It is not even true at national level as some of
your representatives in the national parliament were not untainted
by the travel voucher scandal.
This was corruption at its worst.
So it is deceptive for the ANC to flaunt what they
are doing at national level, as though local government were somehow
failing. The real question is, what have they done here? What have
they achieved for Ugu? How have they responded to your needs and
your voice? The IFP is used to the diversionary tactics of the ANC.
We have seen it all before. Don't be deceived into giving your
allegiance to a party that is prepared to cheat to get your vote.
In every election since 1994 we have witnessed
incidents of electoral fraud and irregularities aimed at swaying the
balance of power further and further towards the ANC. Even in this
election, there have already been incidents of fraud where the ANC
bussed people into areas in which they do not live to register to
vote for the ANC. The IFP has reported these things to the IEC, but
nothing has been done about it since 1994. Instead South Africa
declares free and fair elections.
People have been bussed from the Eastern Cape for the last 17
years of democracy.
To my mind, an election is compromised when it
stops being about the genuine will of the people. I am disgusted by
the number of times the ANC has staged election rallies under the
guise of government functions. They are using your taxpayers' money
to fund their election campaign. So you are paying to be told who to
vote for. They did it again last week when they bussed ANC
supporters into a municipal prayer event in Tshwane. They even do it
during national days, like Freedom Day, where they gave opposition
parties only a minute each to speak, before the President got up and
regaled the ANC crowd for more than half an hour. And then allow
some of the ANC thugs at these national functions to howl at
opposition Party spokespersons.
With not a murmur from the President to restrain his storm
You pay for the ANC's poor judgment. You pay for
their tricks and mistakes. To me, it is too high a price to exact from a
people you claim to serve. The IFP understands that we serve at your
behest and we are accountable to you. We don't subvert your voice by changing candidate
lists without telling you. We don't ignore your voice so that you are forced
to engage in violent service delivery protests. We are your voice.
Without you, the IFP cannot exist. We live to serve you.
The coming election is a critical moment for Ugu.
The 18th of May can change everything. I ask you to come out in your
numbers and speak up through the ballot box. Cast your vote in this
election. Your vote counts. I know that many people feel that they
cannot influence governance through municipal elections, because
everything is decided at the national level. But in Ugu, that isn't
true. In fact, nowhere else in South Africa does the ruling party
face such a strong opposition as they do in KwaZulu Natal. The IFP
is a formidable force here and we are seriously threatening the
stranglehold of the ANC.
Across KwaZulu Natal, the IFP still leads 32
municipalities; which is more than the ANC. We have had the
opportunity to prove that IFP led municipalities are better run than
municipalities controlled by the ANC. So here, at local government
level, where services are actually delivered, the people prefer a
party that can get the job done. The people prefer the IFP.
One of the reasons we are better at getting the
job done, is because the IFP demands hard work from all its
councillors and doesn't shy away from firing anyone who isn't
performing. We do not
regret expelling all those slothful councillors that we dismissed in
Ugu. And the High Court
in three High Court actions vindicated our decisions.
The High Court found that there was nothing that was not in
keeping with our Constitution that we did in expelling these useless
and lazy councillors.
Unfortunately even the IFP attracts bad apples who
think they can earn a salary while mismanaging municipal funds and
failing to deliver services. But we have always dealt swiftly with
non-performers. Last year in particular you would have seen a spate
of dismissals as we purged our party of people who were failing the
IFP mandate to serve with integrity and competence. Wherever there
were allegations of corruption, we investigated and acted. We did
this because we believe that your interests come first, and no one
deserves a job just because of their allegiance or their nice
Many of the councillors we fired took their
disgruntlement and their poor work ethic and knocked on the door of
the newly formed NFP. The NFP, under the unelected leadership of Mrs
kaMagwaza-Msibi, welcomed them in, because it boosted the NFP
numbers and bolstered the lie that people were defecting to the NFP
in their droves. The NFP never got the numbers they said they had.
They also never produced a clear policy framework or a comprehensive
vision of what they could do better outside the IFP. The NFP has
nothing of substance to offer. Yet the very people who failed you in
your local councils are now asking for your vote. How crazy do they
think you are?
Because they have nothing to offer, the NFP has
been coming to Ugu with all sorts of lies about the IFP in the hope
that you will believe them. One of the lies is that the IFP
persecuted Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi and that we don't support our women.
But the IFP was vindicated by the Pietermaritzburg High Court when
as I have said the Court ruled against Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi and
ordered to her to pay the costs of her malicious court application,
in which she made these accusations. The Court ruling proved that
the IFP had done nothing wrong.
Not only did we not persecute the NFP leader, we
actually promoted her when she was in the IFP, possibly beyond what
we should have. Because when we supported her as our premier
candidate in the 2009 elections, we received fewer votes than ever
in KwaZulu Natal. That means the electorate rejected her. The voters
did not want kaMagwaza-Msibi. Perhaps that is where her
disgruntlement began. But I suspect it reaches back further.
The biggest problem with the NFP is not that they
have already failed you, but that they are splitting the vote in our
communities. The only party that benefits from this, is the ANC.
When by-elections were held in Estcourt and Eshowe, the NFP sent
some of its members to stand as independent candidates, to test how
much support they might get if they contested the local government
elections. They didn't succeed in winning the vote. The electorate
rejected them. But they caused enough chaos to split the vote, and
in the end the ANC snatched those municipalities away from the IFP.
The ANC knew all along that a split in the IFP
would be good for the ANC. That is why some ANC leaders bankrolled the
ructions in our party that ended with the formation of the NFP
earlier this year. The ANC supported Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi's ambitions
with both money and propaganda. This is not just an empty
allegation. We had such overwhelming evidence of the ANC's
interference in fomenting ructions in our Party that I took the
matter to the President of the ANC, who is also the President of the
He was loathe to do anything about it, even though
he promised to resolve the problem, and I was forced to approach the
Deputy President of the ANC, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe. He knew nothing
about it, because the President had failed to raise it with him as
he had promised to do. In the end, I took the evidence to Parliament
and sought guidance from my colleagues in the House during the
debate on the President's state of the nation address.
So it is well known that the ANC birthed the NFP.
They did it to weaken the IFP and to ensure that wherever people
voted for the NFP, the ANC could snatch control. Don't be fooled by
what the NFP is telling you. A vote for the NFP is the same as a
vote for the ANC. They are not an alternative. They are the conduit
to an ANC victory. If you want something different to the ANC, don't throw away your vote. Vote for the IFP.
The ANC and NFP are two sides of the same coin
The IFP is tried and tested. We are a known
quantity and we have earned your trust. Let us set things right in
Ugu. Let's bring democracy back to this District by shouting through
the ballot box that the leadership we choose is the leadership we
expect to receive. You chose the IFP, and the ANC ignored you. This
time, they have no choice but to respect the will of the people,
because your vote will have the final say. On the 18th of May, I ask
you to send a message to your municipality that the IFP is the
Your vote is your voice. Use it.
Contact: Liezl van der Merwe, 082 729 2510.
Press Liaison Officer to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP,