IFP Rally In The District Of Ugu
Ahead Of The 2011 Local Government Elections
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party

 

 

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. 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 democracy.

 

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 troopers.

 

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 personality.

 

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 country.

 

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 people's choice.

 

Your vote is your voice. Use it.

 

 

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