IFP Local Government Election Campaign In Hlabisa - Campaign Roadshow
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party

 

Hlabisa: 16 April 2011

 

 

It is wonderful to be in Hlabisa this afternoon to meet with the community and speak to you about the coming local government elections. I have just returned from a prayer meeting organized by the Umkhanyakude District Municipality, where we sought God's intervention over the next five weeks before May the 18th to ensure that these elections will be free, fair and peaceful. We also prayed for rain, for although we have been blessed with some rain, we need much more to see us through the coming season.

 

It is such comfort to know that we can pray about these issues. We are facing a serious problem with water shortages, and although there is a great deal we can do to save water and use it wisely, we are not able to make it rain. Some things are just beyond our control. Because of this, when it comes to things that are within our control, things that we can influence and change, we have a responsibility to get involved and do something. The coming local government elections are just such an opportunity.

 

I have been travelling throughout the Umkhanyakude District yesterday and today, and wherever I spoke to our people I have carried the message that this election is all about you. This is the message of the IFP, because we know that local government is where service delivery actually happens. It is where you have the power to directly affect how many houses will be built, whether small businesses will be supported, which roads need resurfacing, how accessible healthcare will be and how efficiently your municipality will be run.

 

On the 18th of May, the power to decide the future of Hlabisa will be placed squarely where it belongs; in your hands. I urge you to vote in these elections. Make the effort. Go to your polling station. Stand in the queue. Make a day of it, for it will be a public holiday. Bring your family and friends. Make your mark. Have your say. This is the opportunity for you to judge the IFP on its performance over the past five years. It is the moment for you to say "I support my Party"; for without you, the IFP cannot serve Hlabisa.

 

The IFP has been working in this community for 35 years. You know us well and we know you, for we have lived and struggled and worked together to bring development and hope to Hlabisa. Together we have identified the challenges and together we have forged solutions. 

 

Because the IFP is a party with a long-term vision, much of what we have put in place will only bear fruit tomorrow. Our emphasis on food security, for instance, means that we all need to work hard today, planting and tending food rather than buying it or waiting for handouts. But it also means that tomorrow, when food prices keep rising to levels beyond what we can afford, our poorest communities will still have food on the table.

 

The IFP has always operated with this long-term vision. When I was the Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, my administration advocated self-help and self-reliance. Many of our people were impoverished and there was a great ocean of need. We therefore educated our people on cooperatives and started community development projects. We introduced the Rand for Rand system of raising money so that together we could build schools. We also established the KwaZulu Finance Corporation to promote development in KwaZulu.  Through KFC I created the Ithala Bank.

 

Because of what the IFP did during apartheid, many of our people experienced a better quality of life than they otherwise would have.  Impoverished communities were fed and enjoyed the dignity of self-sufficiency. Children who were subjected to Bantu education were taught by teachers who arrived on time, committed themselves to teaching and poured their passion into empowering the next generation. We were oppressed by the apartheid regime, but we were never crushed by despair, for we had a vision and a leadership of integrity.

 

The IFP still offers a vision and a leadership of integrity 35 years later, in our new democratic dispensation. Some of the challenges in South Africa have changed. We no longer struggle against the arrogance of minority rule. But some challenges have merely changed names; for today we struggle against the arrogance of corrupt officials and disreputable politicians. We struggle against well connected fat cats and tenderpreneurs. We struggle against dodgy tender practices and a lack of accountability.

 

The IFP remains at the forefront of this struggle, working alongside the people of goodwill, people like the community of Hlabisa. We are working to ensure a local government that is open, efficient and works for you. The IFP is declaring 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.

 

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.

 

The IFP's election campaign is all about you, because - to us - you deserve honest leaders, truthful representatives and real solutions.  For this reason, we work to promote openness in our municipalities.  Tenders are public so that you will know precisely who gets what, for what service. We believe you have a right to receive any information you require concerning your municipality and your council.

 

We also believe that every Rand must be spent in a way that improves your community and your municipality. The IFP acts against mismanagement, corruption and waste. We are not shy to fire councillors who are not working and not delivering. No one in the IFP gets a free ride. For that reason, we block bonuses for managers which are not earned through real performance.

 

We are committed to bringing municipal governance closer to you, empowering you to participate in decisions that are made. Our councillors are mandated to work closely with you every day, so that local government by the IFP works with you and for you in all that it does. We set a very high standard for our councillors, for we know that they not only represent the IFP to the people, but the people to their Government.

 

You can therefore expect an IFP councillor to be a person of integrity, who will be open and fair in their dealings, include you in decision making and be accountable for all they do. Our councillors are required to be available to you at all times, to take your concerns seriously, and treat you with dignity and respect.

 

We are so committed to accountability, that we ask anyone who is unhappy with their councillor, for whatever reason, to call us so that we can sort out the problem. If you have any complaints or suggestions about your municipality or your representative, please write to us or call us. We want to hear from you and we will take your thoughts on board. Moreover, we will regularly report back to you at community meetings. With the IFP, you will never have to shout to be heard. Your voice is our voice and we know it is all about you.

 

The IFP is committed to service. Our councillors are, first and foremost, servants of the people. Although they are elected on a party ticket, we require them to work for everyone in a community. With the IFP, there is no such thing as favouring our supporters or punishing people who choose to vote for a different party. We don't give out food parcels in exchange for votes. Instead, we meet needs wherever they arise because our commitment is to service first, before politics.

 

The IFP believes it is grossly immoral to make promises to our people that cannot be kept. Within the IFP-led municipalities, we are aware of the poverty of our people and we share your everyday struggles. Our municipalities are not awash with money. In fact, the budget is so tight that many needed development projects are hindered. But we are experienced in doing a lot with a little, and in IFP-led municipalities we make every cent count.

 

Our councillors have taken a pledge of ethical behaviour, responsiveness to the community and adherence to the highest standards of good governance. We have also signed the Code of Conduct under the auspices of the Independent Electoral Commission, committing ourselves as a Party to pursuing a free and fair election. I signed this Code on Wednesday in my capacity as the President of the IFP. As I did so, I urged the leaders of all political parties to ensure that their pledge to run this electoral race with integrity would move from a signature to a genuine commitment.

 

I am concerned that there have been incidents of fraud in this campaign already. During the voter registration weekends, the ANC bussed people into areas in which they do not live to register and vote for the ANC. In this way, our strongholds have been swayed in the past, away from the people's choice of an IFP leadership and towards a leadership that was foisted on us through fraud, deceit and trickery. I do not want to see the community of Hlabisa cheated out of the leadership you choose.

 

I must therefore sound a warning about the NFP. I do not like to talk about this untested new party, because I know it has nothing to offer South Africa. Its policies are vague and present nothing new. Its ideologies are not clearly defined, and its very reason for existing has nothing to do with service, but everything to do with a grudge its members have against me and the IFP. This community does not need a disgruntled bunch of defectors in bright orange T-shirts. It needs a strong IFP to stand in the way of the ANC's pursuit of political hegemony.

 

The NFP was birthed with ANC money, because some leaders in the ANC saw the opportunity to split the vote by splitting the IFP. They sought to weaken their old stumbling block, the Inkatha Freedom Party, so that they could finally take control of the municipalities of KwaZulu Natal. Nowhere in South Africa does the ANC have such a strong opposition as they do in KwaZulu Natal. The IFP poses a formidable threat to the ANC. We still control more municipalities here than they do; and that irks them to no end.

 

I urge you not to be cheated out of a leadership that can challenge the ANC's dominance, by choosing a party that exists to hate the IFP.  A vote for the NFP is a vote for the ANC, because voting for the NFP will decrease the number of votes we receive and put the ANC into power in Hlabisa. The NFP does not offer a credible alternative, and they are not strong enough, big enough or relevant enough to win control of local government. This election is about the IFP and the ANC. If you vote IFP, you will get a leadership of integrity that is committed to serving. If you vote for anyone else, you are going to get the ANC.

 

I sound this warning to prevent Hlabisa from being cheated on May the 18th. We know that the ANC will do almost anything to gain control of our municipalities. I urge you to prevent their power-play, by coming out in numbers on the 18th of May and voting for the IFP. Yesterday the Independent Electoral Commission opened another opportunity for you to make your voice heard. During this election there will be a Special Vote, which allows anyone who cannot vote on the 18th of May to cast their ballot on the 16th and 17th of May. The IEC will visit you at home if necessary, so that you can cast your vote.

 

This is for the elderly and ailing who cannot stand in long queues. It is for heavily pregnant women and people who will be working or travelling on election day. Anyone who wants to make use of the Special Vote must register now, at their polling station. Registration closes on May the 3rd.

 

I encourage you to use your vote to ensure that Hlabisa will be served by a party that is willing and able to deliver for the next five years. The IFP has served you for 35 years. We are not new to politics. We have experience in governance and a track record that speaks of our integrity, competence and vision. I ask you to partner with the IFP on the 18th of May just as we have partnered with you.

 

Together, let us make Hlabisa prosper. I thank you.