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

 

Mtubatuba: 16 April 2011

 

 

It gives me great pleasure to visit Mtubatuba this morning. Yesterday I visited Mkuze, Hluhluwe and Mbazwana, and I heard the same message from the people again and again. Our people are seeking a leadership of integrity that is committed to genuine service delivery. Our communities are ready to strengthen the hand that serves, by voting for the IFP in the coming local government elections. The IFP's track record speaks for itself and our reputation precedes us.

 

But people are concerned about service delivery issues. They are worried about the economy and about the state of our country. But they are concerned first and foremost with the immediate needs that confront us every day; like water, electricity, housing, food security and unemployment. The IFP understands these needs. We have worked in government for 35 years. We serve in the national Parliament and we serve in the local community. I myself have been appointed Acting President of South Africa on more than 20 occasions. But I haven't moved away from Mahlabathini and I haven't lost touch with real people.

 

The Umkhanyakude District Municipality has invited me to come to Mtubatuba to speak to you about the importance of voting, and the importance of voting for the IFP. I am not going to mince my words, because I believe that you deserve straight talk. In some ways, local government elections carry greater consequences than even national elections. For here, at local level, service delivery actually takes place. It is here that you speak to your government through your chosen representative, and it is here that your municipality must empower your voice.

 

On the 18th of May, the power to decide the future of Mtubatuba will be placed squarely where it belongs; in your hands. The IFP intends to continue its partnership with you in the coming five years, but we cannot serve without your mandate. We cannot win without your vote. 

 

The IFP knows, it's all about you.

 

The IFP has served the community of Mtubatuba for more than three decades. We have stood with you hand in hand through the struggles of our past, and the challenges of our country's transition. You know the IFP and the IFP knows you. I thank God that I can stand here today knowing that we have a strong and sound working relationship.

 

But because we know each other and because we have worked together for so many years, I will not skirt around the issues or the problems facing Mtubatuba. Unlike the ANC, the IFP does not pretend everything is rosy. And unlike the ANC, we do not cover up problems with empty promises. We confront problems and offer real solutions. This is why the IFP insists on a local government that is open, efficient and works with you.

 

Local government is central to the development of communities. In KwaZulu Natal, the IFP has had the opportunity to prove that IFP led municipalities are better run than ANC led municipalities. We still govern 32 municipalities in KwaZulu Natal, which is more than the ANC. This is quite remarkable when one considers that the ANC has almost unfettered power at the national level and has been pursuing political hegemony since the seventies.

 

But at the coalface of governance, where services are actually delivered, the people still want an IFP government, because the IFP has a proven track record of delivery, integrity and community partnership. We have not been corrupted by power. We do not consider ourselves above the law. We don't bend the rules to suit our agenda. 

 

The IFP is still the party of integrity. We are still working alongside our people in the everyday battles of putting food on the table, educating our children, fighting crime, finding employment and combating disease.

 

As the campaign for the local government elections heats up, leaders of other parties may come to Mtubatuba and ask for your vote. None of them will be able to point to their track record of service delivery; they expect to get your vote just for doing nothing. It is the IFP that has fought to empower local government. It is the IFP that has stood up for traditional leadership. It is the IFP that set up development projects and started community gardens. It is the IFP that has worked for food security and advocated subsistence farming.

 

The KwaZulu Finance Cooperation was established by myself as Minister of Economic Affairs to promote development in KwaZulu.  The KFC established the Ithala Bank under my leadership as the line-function Minister.  We established it in order to enable our poorest people to access loans, to access businesses and to develop the subsistence economy which then existed.  The formal banking sector refused our people loans because they had nothing to offer as security. But the IFP believes in self-help and self-reliance, and we sought to empower our people to help themselves.

 

When the ANC took over this Province, they shut down many of the beneficial projects we had established over the years, simply because they were initiated by the IFP. Many training colleges were shut down and development programmes were interrupted. Corruption has crept in, to the extent that institutions like Ithala Bank, which are supposed to empower the poorest of the poor, only line the pockets of a few well-connected fat cats. The ANC also took the focus off of food security.

 

When I travel throughout KwaZulu Natal today, I worry about the fallow land I see and the families who are struggling to buy food instead of growing it. Food prices are skyrocketing and poverty is increasing. While I support the businesses that operate in Mtubatuba, I feel I must encourage our people to return to a degree of self-sufficiency.  Indeed, I would like to see local businesses selling produce produced locally. I think that partnerships for Mtubatuba's development should include local government, the community and business.

 

A strong local government knows how to work with the private sector, without overburdening it. I do not believe in asking one level of society to finance another. When we attained democracy in 1994 I warned that the economic pie had not suddenly become bigger. We needed to learn how to redistribute South Africa's resources while simultaneously growing our economy and acknowledging that there is still not enough to satisfy every need. This is why the IFP does not make empty promises.

 

We know that promising to create jobs and build houses is meaningless if there is not enough money, competence or political will to make it happen. The ANC President promised half a million jobs in 2009, but by 2010 we had actually shed more than a million jobs. The RDP houses that the ANC led government built are falling apart because dodgy tenders were given to incompetent contractors. Now more taxpayers'  money is needed to fix houses that cannot be used, rather than build more houses for the many who are still waiting.

 

What the IFP does promise, it delivers. We promise to bring municipal governance closer to you. We promise to empower you to participate in decisions that are made, and to closely link your councillors to you in their daily work. We don't dictate to Mtubatuba from Pretoria. We live and work alongside you, tackling the real problems together. The IFP believes you have the right to receive any information you require about your municipality and your council.

 

IFP led municipalities promote openness in all they do. We believe that tenders should be public so that you know precisely who gets how much for what service. We feel that any potential conflict of interest between employees and councillors should be made public. Every Rand must be spent in a way that improves your community and municipality.  The IFP is therefore intent on stopping waste, mismanagement and corruption. We prioritise spending on infrastructure and basic services, like water and electricity.

 

The people of Mtubatuba know that the IFP put some people here to lead your municipality because we put our trust in them in 2006.  You know what shenanigans they got themselves involved in.  And when they defected to an unknown quantity such as the National Freedom Party, it was clear that they had betrayed us and had betrayed our trust.  This vindicated the Party in removing them from leading our IFP Municipality.  We were of course aware for a long time of Mayor Swartz's connivance with our former National Chairperson Mrs KaMagwaza-Msibi, who also lied to us for a long time, that she had nothing to do with 'the friends of VZ', when she knew deep down in her heart, that these were her 'storm troopers' whom she was financing with money from the ANC.

 

These are the important issues. These are the issues that the IFP is talking about. The ANC, on the other hand, is talking about party lists and who should be exalted to what position. The ANC's election campaign has been riddled with disputes over whether their candidates were chosen by the voters or by the top brass of the Party. The community of Zandspruit has actually had to resort to violent protest over an ANC councillor whom they believe is not delivering. They have rejected her as their representative, but she refuses to step down, because she has the backing of the ANC leadership.

 

This squabbling within the ANC over positions is not just happening at local level. Right now there is an ongoing debacle over an alleged takeover plot at the highest levels of the ANC. Certain ANC leaders are being accused of plotting to oust President Zuma. We saw how the Polokwane takeover in 2007 was orchestrated from the start, ending in a split in the ANC. It seems there is another takeover waiting in the wings, involving Minister Tokyo Sexwale, who was the very ANC leader who fomented ructions in the IFP last year.

 

When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. The ANC's infighting has taken its focus away from serving our people. COPE, which was born from their infighting a few years ago, has failed to take up the role it could have played in opposition politics, for it too turned on itself in a dispute over who should get to lead.

 

When the NFP was formed earlier this year, many likened it to COPE and political analysts warned that its members were likely to turn on each other as well, as they scrambled for positions. Being launched so close to a municipal election, the NFP is likely to see a fierce contest for positions, particularly because many who have defected to the NFP from other parties have done so on the basis of promises of positions, money and power. Where people are power hungry, there are never enough positions to satisfy every appetite.

 

Indeed the split in the IFP was created by people who put power ahead of service, and forgot why they were in politics to begin with. Some of our candidates did not make it into the national parliament or provincial legislatures in 2009 and they became disgruntled, feeling as though we owed them something. But they didn't get in because they didn't work hard enough to bring the IFP the support we needed. There are no free rides in the IFP. Our councillors are made to work, and work hard.

 

These disgruntled, power-hungry people eventually left to form the NFP, and I thank God they did. Unlike the ANC that is turning on itself, and unlike the NFP that is untested and on shaky ground, the IFP has regained its strength and unity and is ready to stand on May 18th as the champion of the people. We are not sidetracked by internal issues and we are not fighting to make a name for ourselves. Our track record is known. Our reputation precedes us. The IFP is focused on delivering good governance. We are focused on you.

 

The similarities between the ANC and the NFP are not coincidental.  From the start some leaders in the ANC bankrolled the split in our Party and supported the formation of the NFP. They did this to gain power for the ANC, because splitting the vote between the NFP and the IFP will result in the ANC taking over our municipalities. We saw this during by-elections when the NFP sent its independent candidates to Eshowe and Umtshezi. They didn't win any support; but they gave our municipalities to the ANC on a silver platter.

 

I therefore urge you not to split the vote. A vote for the NFP is effectively a vote for the ANC. The only way to keep this municipality in the hands of a leadership that is focused on serving, is to vote for the Inkatha Freedom Party. Don't let yourself be cheated out of the leadership you choose. If you vote NFP, you're going to get ANC. The ANC knows this, while the NFP pretends it isn't true.

 

As the IFP President, I come to you ready to give you a reason to vote for the IFP. Our councillors have taken a pledge of ethical behaviour, responsiveness to the community and adherence to the highest standards of good governance. 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.

 

I encourage you to hold your councillor accountable for fulfilling this pledge. The IFP intends to strictly enforce the commitment our councillors have made, and we will fire those who fail to comply. If you are unhappy about your councillor's behaviour, I ask you to please call us on 031 365 1300 or write to the IFP. 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.

 

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, as of today, at their polling station. Registration closes on May the 3rd.

 

I encourage you to use this vote to ensure that Mtubatuba 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 Mtubatuba prosper. I thank you.