IFP Meeting With The Community of KwaMashu
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party


 

Rotary Sports Ground: KwaMashu: 14 August 2011 

 

I thank you for extending to me an invitation to visit you today.

 

I met with the Indunas of KwaMashu recently and we spoke about the support that the IFP still receives from this community. I was humbled to hear that so many residents of KwaMashu came out to vote on the 18th of May in the Local Government Elections, and that many expressed their confidence in the IFP. Regardless of the difficulties our Party has endured and, in fact, despite these difficulties, the IFP retained faith in our values, our legacy and our supporters. Our faith was not misplaced. Your support has secured the future.

 

Many of our detractors have been surprised by the enthusiastic reception the IFP has enjoyed as we meet in various places to thank our people for their support. Our detractors thought that the May 18th election results spelt the end of the IFP. But they have misunderstood the mandate of the electorate which was given through the ballot box. 

The IFP has been asked to take up a new mantle, as the champion of the dissatisfied, disenchanted and distressed citizens, who look to the excesses, corruption and incompetence prevailing in our government, and cry out for a voice of integrity to speak on their behalf.

 

Our detractors are surprised by your continued support. But we are not. I am not surprised that this community still agrees with the values and principles of the IFP. I am not surprised that you remember the legacy of our Party and all that we worked for together in KwaMashu, and in other areas of our country. No, I am not surprised. 

But I am grateful. I have come here today to thank you for your support. The IFP relies on your commitment. Without you, we have no mandate. But with you, we have the potential to become South Africa's boldest opposition yet.

 

As I was preparing to come here, some concerns were raised about my visit here, following the murder of Mr Mfaniseni Mtshali, the NFP branch leader in KwaMashu, on Wednesday night. This murder followed two others last Sunday.  The NFP's Spokesperson, Dr Cedric Xulu, told Ukhozi FM in the programme of 'ABASIKI BEBUNDA' , when asked about the death of one of the NFP leaders who was murdered, that it was speeches such as my address in Parliament and at the SADESMO Conference which precipitated these killings.  Mr Sphamandla Goge, the presenter tried to make him to speak about the death of the leader as he realized that he was off the issue he had put to him.

 

I was shocked by Dr Xulu's accusation, for I said nothing to SADESMO that I have not said repeatedly since the beginning of the year. In fact, I said the same things in Parliament on the 15th of February and my statements are on record in Hansard. I challenge Dr Xulu to read the transcript and to show me a single sentence in which I incite our supporters to violence. He will not find it, because it isn't there. 

As I listened to Dr Xulu, when he dragged my name into the tragic deaths that have taken place, I wondered whether he was sober or in all his senses.  The mischievous habit of always trying to drag my name into these tragic deaths compounds the problem of the violence.

 

After Wednesday's killing, NFP Spokesperson Ms Zanele Cele accused leaders of "a certain political party" of "talk of violence". The following day, eTV carried the headline, "NFP slams IFP for reckless comments about its ANC alliance". The NFP keeps blaming us for violence and murders, yet we have repeatedly called for peace, calm and no retaliation. You know that I abhor violence. I believe in engaging problems through negotiation, not the barrel of the gun. My entire legacy stands as testimony to this truth.

 

I have been devastated by the murder of many IFP members and councillors over the years. None of these murders has been solved. Here in KwaMashu, Mr Michael Makathini was killed and up to now no one knows what happened to him. A couple of weeks ago, two more of our Councillors were murdered, and we are waiting to hear of arrests or leads in the investigation.

 

Many of the politically motivated attacks on IFP members remain a mystery. You will recall the incident in Enseleni, where Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi was visiting in her former capacity as our National Chairperson. Our members were shot at in broad daylight. One had his leg amputated. Later Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi complained that they had invaded her meeting, thereby justifying the use of violence. The Police were present at that meeting. But no one has been brought to account.  Rumours were that the person who shot our members at eNseleni is a well known personality here in KwaMashu, who was present at eNseleni that day.

 

This is not a new phenomenon. The whole issue of politically motivated violence has never been adequately addressed, especially when it comes to members of the IFP. Like every other party, we made a comprehensive submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, detailing the unsolved murders of some 400 IFP members. To date, none of those deaths has been solved.

 

I speak of these things because I cannot avoid making a strong statement, as I come to KwaMashu, that the violence has to end. The bloodshed must stop. The IFP was founded on the principle of non-violence and we endured years of vilification for refusing to support the armed struggle. The NFP should know better than to keep accusing me of violence. It is a dirty old lie that does nothing to foster peace. I feel it is time for the leaders of the IFP and the NFP to meet, to sort this issue out face to face. We are equally distressed by the assassination of the Secretary of the ANC in eThekwini, Mr Sbu Sibiya.  And we hope that the perpetrators will be arrested and be able to face the music.  If South Africa must go forward, these assassinations must stop.

 

I have always done everything in my power to promote peace and end violence. This is part of the legacy of the IFP. It is part of what draws the people of goodwill to support our Party. Now, after the Local Government Elections, we need your continued support.

 

I say this with confidence, because South Africans spoke through the ballot box in the Local Government Elections and called on the IFP to engage opposition politics. The electoral result shed us of most of the responsibilities of governance and we are now free to adopt a no-holds barred opposition stance. This is a role the IFP is well-equipped to perform, for we have a history of speaking truth to power and taking a stand for what is right, as opposed to what is popular. South Africa is desperate for a voice of integrity to speak on its behalf. The IFP is that voice.

 

The Local Government Election results saw the IFP regaining our position as the third largest political party in South Africa. Across South Africa more than a million votes of support were cast for the IFP, whether they were for an IFP councillor, an IFP-run municipality or an IFP-led district. Voters were given two or three ballot papers on which to make their choice, and some 1.3 million times the people chose the IFP. Our support did not come from the wealthiest segments of society. It did not come from tenderpreneurs. Our support came from grassroots communities, like KwaMashu, where people are all too familiar with the daily struggles of life in South Africa. These are the people who recognize the voice of the IFP as the voice of hope, for the destitute and the despised of this society.

 

For 36 years the IFP has lived and worked alongside South African communities like KwaMashu. You know us and we know you. Together we struggled to liberate our country from oppression and discrimination. 

Together we fought for the vote and struggled to improve the quality of life for our poorest people. We worked hand in hand to build schools, clinics and houses. We started community upliftment projects, programmes of development and cooperatives. We pursued food security in our rural communities, as well as health care, education, employment opportunities and the freedom to be a part of decision making in all the spheres of government.

 

Our support was in the main always grassroots support. All the things that we did together in the dark days of apartheid, we did with ordinary citizens. When the gospel was 'LIBERATION NOW, EDUCATION LATER;' we responded with; 'EDUCATION FOR LIBERATION'.  Pretoria gave KwaZulu prior to 1994 a pittance.  We received less for education per capita than any other self-governing region of South Africa.  I then appealed to Amakhosi to appeal to their people to donate a Rand in order that we should combine their contributions with the pittance from Pretoria.  Most of the more than 6 000 schools that we built in this Province were built with such contributions.  We did not just talk about Self-help and Self-Reliance.  We were inspired daily by our belief in these twin pillars of our philosophy in the IFP.  We joined hands and worked together for the good of our people.  We built clinics for our people and even built the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital.  We renovated and expanded hospitals that were built by missionaries in many regions of our country.  We do not need to lure people to vote for us with figments of our imagination.  We have tangible things and our record in doing these things has not been yet surpassed in this Province even though there are more resources available to those who now govern our country.  We did all these things within 18 years.  We have had new governance under our democratic era for 17 years.  It would be difficult to make comparisons because even during the years our Party ran the provincial government, which was achieved without any fan-fare, we never spent one cent advertising what wonderful guys we were at every opportunity.  

All one is confronted with when you pick up a newspaper or listen to our electronic media are stories on corruption, where the names of those who should be serving the interests of the public are conspicuous.  One sees only conspicuous consumption which sickens one to the bottom of one's stomach.

 

Working together, we achieved a great deal of good and today we have a legacy to be proud of. Yet our struggle is far from complete. With the advent of democracy in 1994, the ruling party began the impossible task of fulfilling the litany of promises it made in the run up to elections. Many of these promises remain unfulfilled seventeen years later and too many of our people still live in abject poverty, rather than in the utopia they were told would appear. This is not to say 

that government has accomplished nothing.  I am not suggesting that.  

But too much was promised than that which has been delivered so far.

 

The IFP worked hard during the first ten years of democracy within the Government of National Unity first and then at the invitation of President Mbeki. We were part of government and we demanded integrity, proper financial management, accountability and delivery. The IFP knew what it was doing, because we came into democracy with experience of governance. Although we were a liberation organization, we did not have to change our identity completely and regroup like the ANC had to do when it suddenly found itself in power.

 

Inkatha administered the government of KwaZulu for almost twenty years. Through experience we had gained an understanding of public administration, sound financial management and the principles of service delivery. In those two decades, never once was a single allegation of corruption ever levelled at my administration. Thus, when we entered a democratic government, the learning curve for the IFP was nothing more than figuring out how to get and keep the ruling Party on board with good administration.

 

The size of the national budget did not impress the IFP. We were not overwhelmed by the responsibility of administering South Africa's budget. Indeed, we knew that it was not nearly enough to meet the vast needs of all our people and we warned time and time again that South Africa needed to grow its economic bases and speed up economic growth. 

Inkatha had administered the shoestring budget of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, so we knew how to make the most out of very little, how to use funds effectively and avoid unnecessary waste. The ruling Party had yet to learn these lessons. When I look at the wastage and growing corruption in government today, I am convinced that they have still not learned these lessons.

 

Nevertheless, within that first decade of democracy, the IFP contributed its wisdom, integrity and work ethic to government. We never stopped working, day and night, to meet the expectations of our people. Thus Government could boast several achievements. Many houses were built. Many homes were electrified. We opened training colleges and we adopted the economic programme of Growth, Employment and Redistribution.

 

But the IFP is no longer in government and the ANC has had free reign in South Africa for seven years. What has happened? Shortly before the Local Government Elections, the Department of Human Settlements revealed that many of the RDP houses that had been built were so poorly constructed that it would cost approximately R58 billion to make them habitable. Questions were raised over how much money had been spent employing unfit contractors in the first place. We have not reached our constitutional target of providing adequate housing for all. But instead of building more houses, we have to fix the ones we already built. This is the fruit of corrupt tender practices and maladministration.

 

There is no clear policy for the allocation of newly built houses. The IFP believes 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. 

Thus we will not relent in applying pressure on Government to improve the subhuman conditions of many hostels. 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.

 

Of the many homes that received electricity for the first time after 1994, most can no longer afford electricity. The tariff hikes we have been subjected to, to fund Eskom's build programme, should have been part of the ordinary budgetary planning of government, not part of the ever-increasing burden placed on our most vulnerable communities. The extra money our people now pay towards electricity decreases the amount that can be spent on education, healthcare and food. When you have no extra money to spend, what do you cut in order to afford electricity? This problem is not going to get better. Government has already agreed to allow Eskom to raise its tariffs again next year.

 

I find it quite extraordinary that the ruling Party is involved in ESKOM through Chancellor House.  It is extraordinary when one thinks of the fact that ESKOM is continually bailed out by government.  That is through Tax-Payers' money.

 

So what about the training colleges we opened? Have they equipped our people with the skills to find employment and benefit our economy? 

Unfortunately not; the ANC-led government closed down many of South Africa's training colleges, effectively arresting skills development in several communities. And the laudable programme of GEAR was abandoned because the ANC's tripartite alliance partners refused to accept an economic policy that was not steeped in communist ideals. We saw COSATU and the South African Communist Party jumping up and down on national television, shouting, "We do not want GEAR! We do not want GEAR! Asifuni GEAR!"

 

So GEAR gave way to ASGISA. But COSATU then developed its own economic policy, as did the ANC Youth League, so that today we have a Tower of Babel situation on a matter of critical importance. Today we do not know where the country is going as far as economic policy is concerned. The policy of nationalization of mines has been endorsed by both the ANC Youth League and COSATU, and now the ANC in Limpopo has endorsed it too. President Zuma has assured the world that nationalization of mines is not ANC policy. But he has also said that it is open for debate. Ambiguity has never created investor confidence.

 

I speak of all these things to point out what we already know; that when the ANC is left to its own devices, it fails the standard of good governance and the standard of integrity. This is why the ANC should not be left to its own devices. Clearly the ruling Party needs a watchdog to shadow its every move, point out its deficiencies and check that they get fixed. This is the role of the opposition, and it is a role that the IFP knows how to perform. Because we know how things should work, and how to make them work, we are the right people to shadow the ANC. Because we have championed opposition politics for so many years, we are the right party to lead a strong opposition.

 

The IFP has accepted the mandate you have given us. We have been the voice of the disenchanted and distressed for decades. We are your voice; the voice that is calling on government to change its failing policies, fix its broken promises and act on the mission statements that promise better education, better healthcare, better policing, a better justice system and better jobs. We are the voice of the opposition.

 

The IFP is relying on its supporters to grow our opposition role by growing the IFP. We are relying on you to work harder than ever before to rally South Africans behind the IFP. A strong opposition is the only thing standing in the way of the ANC's one party state. A strong IFP is the only obstacle to a failed democracy. I cannot help but recall how quickly Inkatha grew when we first began in 1975. Within a few years we boasted a card-carrying membership of some two million South Africans. We did it because we represented everyone who sought liberty, without compromising the principles of unity, cooperation and non-violence.

 

I believe that today the IFP still represents everyone who seeks liberty. The liberty this generation pursues is liberty from the bonds of poverty, lack of opportunity and a form of democracy that does not offer the benefits of true democracy. I have no qualms about saying that South Africa's democracy is not rock-solid and unshakable. 

Indeed, even the Local Government Elections saw a perversion of democracy when the NFP and ANC formed a coalition to take over the 19 hung municipalities.

 

If the people in those municipalities had wanted an ANC government, they would have voted for the ANC. But they did not. Those who voted for the NFP were asking the NFP to make good on its promise of being a better alternative. But in the end they were not an alternative to the ANC. They became the ANC's bedfellow. We warned before the elections that a vote for the NFP was a vote for the ANC. I take no pleasure in having been proven right, for voters will suffer the consequences of their mistake. What joy can be found in suffering?

 

For the sake of the many who voted for the IFP, and for the sake of those who will suffer poor leadership because they did not, the IFP must continue. We must keep working and serving and leading. We must continue to champion opposition politics and the strengthening of independent institutions that watch over our government. We must keep speaking truth to power and keep demanding real solutions to the problems that plague South Africa. We must remain the voice of integrity. We must carry hope high.

 

But we cannot do it without you. You are the lifeblood of our Party. 

We need the people of KwaMashu to mobilize support for the IFP, to grow our membership and promote our legacy. I am so grateful for your support over 36 years and for your vote on the 18th of May. I thank those who knew the IFP was right, and I welcome back those who were led into deception. Together, let us strengthen the voice of the opposition. Together, let us strengthen the IFP.

 

I thank you.