Message to the Community of Maphumulo
 Remarks By Prince MG Buthelezi MP

   

 

Okhukho, Ward 4, Maphumulo: 13 October 2010

 

Induna Phuzukufa Mzobe; Councilor BZ Ndlovu; Constituency Chairperson, Mr MJ Khathi; and members of the community of Maphumulo.

 

It is with a broken heart that I visit Maphumulo today. One cannot begin to fathom the loss that this community has suffered due to the recent devastating fire. A family has lost their home and must now begin to rebuild from scratch. A loss like this is difficult to recover from, and one could only hope that the community can rally together to assist this family in crisis.

 

But I am only too aware of the poverty that affects the community of Maphumulo and I realize that when one has so little, giving is terribly difficult. I wish to commend all those who have come from within and from outside this community to assist with relief, in the form of temporary shelter and donations for health hampers and food. 

The effort we see today has been organized by ordinary members of the IFP, together with our ward candidate, Mr BZ Ndlovu.

 

The IFP is not a rich political party. We are not awash with money like the ANC. Moreover this is a particularly difficult time in the economy of our country when we are all having to tighten our belts and cut spending. But despite our lack of resources, members of the IFP have raised money, even from their own pockets, in order to give this small donation to the community of Maphumulo.

 

We have done this because the IFP is the Party of Goodwill. Since 1975, when I founded Inkatha, we have been building relationships with our people and creating partnerships in order to accomplish that which seems impossible. Our party has built schools and houses and community centres and clinics, without the benefit of generous international benefactors. We have done it by joining hands with ordinary South Africans, and working hard.

 

The IFP knows its people well. We know your needs. We know your challenges. We understand your circumstances. Because we have never left South Africa to lead our people from exile. During apartheid and during democracy, we have not led from a distance, but have stayed in the trenches, in the fields and in the communities where our people suffer the daily challenges of putting food on the table, educating children and accessing medical care.

 

There are many young children in this community and all of them are looking to the future in the hope of something better. I share the pain of parents and caregivers, and even older siblings, who are struggling to raise these children.

 

Years ago Government highlighted Maphumulo as a high risk area for fires, and noted that the early warning system is poor.  Government response is poor, legislative frameworks for risk management are poor and existing risk reduction measures are poor. Fire remains an urgent risk priority requiring reduction interventions. Yet little is done to prevent them.

 

One of the IFP's Members of Parliament has assisted a former member of our staff to produce an innovative paraffin stove, which could prevent the kind of fires that ravage homes in rural areas and informal settlements. The stove has several unique features, the most important of which is the fact that it is fireproof. When the stove is tilted, even slightly, the flame automatically extinguishes. This means that if it is accidently tipped over, it cannot cause a fire.

 

The Minister of Energy has publically announced the intention to distribute safe paraffin stoves, but nothing has come of it. It is deeply frustrating to work against government apathy and broken promises. In my experience, we achieve far more when we partner with communities than when we wait for Government.

 

The assistance the IFP brings today is an expression of our commitment to partnering with Maphumulo. I wanted to be here personally to thank you for your support for the IFP. Your votes have ensured that the IFP won this ward, and we intend to work hard to live up to your expectations. We have many years of experience in governance and we believe in putting the needs of our people first.

 

I know that some people have become confused about the IFP's role in KwaZulu Natal and in South Africa, because our country now has its first Zulu President, who is also the President of the ANC. There are also rumours that our Party's leadership is being challenged, and it is no secret that the ANC has taken over some of the municipalities which were formerly run by the IFP.

 

But despite what you may have heard from those who wish to see the IFP wiped off the map, the IFP is still a strong political force. We received over 800 000 votes in the last national election and we still have more than 500 Councillors serving municipalities across South Africa. We have 18 members in the national Parliament and are represented in the provincial legislatures. Indeed, if we were on our last legs, no one would bother starting rumours about us.

 

Many of us will recall the ugly chapter of our country's past in which the ANC waged a low intensity civil war against the IFP. In the eighties and early nineties, more than 20 000 black lives were lost; not in order to secure democracy, but in an attempt to secure political domination for the ANC after liberation. I and the IFP were vilified by the ANC-in-exile for many years. Attempts were made on my life. Today the process of reconciliation between our two parties still has some unfinished business.

 

The ANC wants to take control of every corner of KwaZulu Natal and it cannot bear to see a strong IFP gaining support among the people. But the IFP is strong and we are preparing to contest next year's Local Government Elections. We have every intention of winning Ilembe District Municipality in 2011. But that will, of course, depend on how hard each one of us works to garner that kind of support.

 

I mention these tensions with the ANC because we stand just a few months away from the next Local Government Elections and the campaign to win the hearts and minds, and of course the votes, of the people have begun in earnest. You are likely to hear all sorts of rumours in the coming months and you may even see some token acts of service delivery on the part of the ANC-led Government. But in all this I hope that you will remember my visit and remember what I have to tell you today.  Remember the permanent structures such as schools, clinics and hospitals that we built with so little.

 

My message is this; the IFP knows you and the IFP cares. We have been building partnerships with communities for more than 35 years. We are committed to raising the standard of living for every South African. 

We are fighting poverty. We are fighting corruption. And we are fighting the lack of employment opportunities that plague our people. 

Everything the IFP does is in the service of our nation.

 

My heart goes out to the family that has lost their home, and to the community that is struggling to support them in this crisis. This disaster has served to highlight the tremendous difficulties you face every day in Maphumulo. It is in these daily challenges that the IFP seeks to assist.

 

I encourage you to seek solutions and opportunities, and to approach your Councillors with ideas. For it is only in partnership that we will achieve a better tomorrow.

 

May God bless this community and alleviate the suffering of His people.