Cebolesizwe School Sports Field: 18 December 2011
I am delighted to visit Mpofana today to celebrate the partnership between this community
and the Inkatha Freedom Party. This is a unique time of year,
one week before Christmas, when family and friends gather in a
spirit of festivity. It is also the time of year when we tend to
look back and consider the ups and downs of another year, and
look ahead to what we would like to achieve in the coming year.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to be with you at this
Looking back over 2011, it is clear that South
Africa has experienced a shift in its political landscape. The
Local Government Elections of 18 May changed the balance of power in KwaZulu
Natal. This does not necessarily reflect a change in the mandate
and will of our people, but a change in the way politics is run.
On 18 May, many of you went to the polling station and cast your
vote for the party you felt most confident in. You considered
the track record of each party and, hopefully, saw through the
election propaganda. Many of you chose a party of integrity that
you knew you could trust; you chose the IFP.
I have come here today to thank you for
casting your vote for my Party. My Party is after all your
Party. Throughout the election campaign I told communities that
local governance is about you. It's about your future and your
aspirations, it's about your roads, your houses, your children's
education, your security. It's about empowering you to govern.
That is the essence of democracy. Thus when you chose the IFP,
you entered a partnership. You strengthened our hand, so that we
could empower you.
I take this partnership very seriously, and I
continually warn our councillors that I expect them to uphold the
commitment they made during the local government elections. IFP
councillors took a pledge earlier this year, and I encourage you
to hold them accountable for it. In terms of that pledge, you
can 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.
I know that Councillor Mhlongo will do her
utmost to uphold this commitment. I am pleased that she lives
right here, next door to Cebolesizwe School. That means she is
someone you know and someone you can talk to freely. It also
means she is someone you can partner with and support.
Councillor Mhlongo's job is not going to be easy. On your
behalf, she is going to try to increase service delivery in a
municipality that is dominated by our opponents. She is going to
have to be the voice of reason and the voice of integrity in the
Municipal Council of Mpofana, for you have given her a seat in
When you voted for Ms Mhlongo, a neighbour and
a valued member of this community, you joined your voice to
others in the various wards of Mpofana who were calling for an
IFP leadership. All these votes enabled the IFP to get a seat on
the Municipal Council. I hope that you will now support
Councillor Mhlongo so that she can work for you in Mpofana. We
may only have one seat on the Council, but we can use that seat
to demonstrate the strength of a partnership between the IFP and
the people of Mpofana.
In the next five years, I challenge you to
hold other councillors from other parties to the same high
standard of the IFP. I will be surprised if you do not see
shortcomings and failure. I do not want Mpofana's councillors to
fail, for if they do, they will be failing this community. But I
am worried by the amount of corruption and self-serving ambition
that has flooded into politics, so that everywhere we turn we
see people in high positions abusing the power that has been
entrusted to them. Don't allow that kind of corruption in your
municipality. Watch for it vigilantly. Hold your councillors
The results of the Local Government Elections
have certainly changed the political landscape of our country.
The IFP has been restored to its position as the third largest
political party in South Africa. When you voted IFP on the 18th of May, you
were in good company. Across South Africa more than a million votes
of support were cast for the IFP in the Local Government
Elections, 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.
We appreciate your vote of confidence and we
take seriously the mandate you have given us to serve you. We
also recognise that the Local Government Elections somehow
changed the mandate which the electorate gave the IFP in KwaZulu
Natal. Through the ballot box you asked the IFP to take up the
mantle of opposition politics. Rather than running
municipalities in this Province, the IFP has shed most of the
responsibilities of governance. This has enabled us to engage a
no-holds barred opposition role.
Our political opponents and the media pundits
were quick to jump to the conclusion that the IFP was finished.
Somehow they assumed that governance was the soul of the IFP;
that if we were not in government, we would lose our purpose.
But the truth is that the soul of the IFP is in the service of
our nation, whatever form that might take. At this juncture, the
needs of South Africa demand that the IFP take up the challenge
of opposition politics. As South Africa grows closer and closer
to the ANC's final goal of political hegemony and domination, a
powerful voice of opposition is needed; a voice that speaks with
integrity and fearlessness, with honesty and insight.
There is no reason why we should be
discouraged by the strength of our opposition. Remember that the Apartheid Regime was very powerful and
that they appeared formidable. But we never faltered in opposing them and we achieved
our objective which was the liberation of our country from the
shackles of oppression. We are still shackled by extreme poverty. We are shackled by joblessness, we are shackled by
incurable diseases such as HIV/Aids and by a weaker system of
education. We are in
this Party because we believe that we are able to break out from
all the suffering which our people have endured for so long.
That is the voice of the IFP. We have spent
years navigating the waters of governance, from the rapids of
social need to the brackish streams of bureaucracy. We know what
can be done and how to do it. We know what cannot be done and
how to be honest about it. The IFP has not lost sight of its
mandate. In fact, if anything, the Local Government Elections
have cleared the waters and clarified the mandate of the IFP. We
must once again focus on providing moral leadership and a voice
of reason, to redirect South Africa's moral compass to true
This we must do for the sake of the many who
cast their vote for the IFP on May the 18th, and the many who
will suffer deteriorating leadership because they did not. There
is no question that South Africa is in the midst of a leadership
crisis. Never before have we seen the depth and extent of
corruption that we are seeing now. It has infected high ranking
government officials, and civil servants who aspire to become
tenderpreneurs. There is a growing sense in politics that it is
about the enrichment of the few, not the upliftment of all.
As we enter 2012, democracy is facing its
greatest test. Already we saw in the Local Government Elections
that democracy can be subverted for the sake of power. The
coalition between the NFP and the ANC immediately after the May
18 election told us everything we needed to know about the NFP's
motives, and confirmed everything we knew about the ANC's role
in the creation of the NFP. KwaZulu Natal emerged from the
elections with 19 hung municipalities. None of these
municipalities could operate because there was no clear majority
for any party.
The ructions in the IFP caused by the
so-called "Friends of VZ", who then became the NFP, brought an
element of uncertainty into these elections. Some people were
fooled by the propaganda. Some were led astray with promises of
positions and money. In the end, the NFP split the vote,
weakening the IFP in KwaZulu Natal. We had warned that this
would happen, and we had warned what the consequences would be.
The motive behind splitting the vote was not to strengthen the
NFP, but to strengthen the ANC. And that is what happened.
In theory, the NFP could have chosen to enter
a coalition with the IFP to co-govern the 19 hung
municipalities. But in reality, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi could not
choose the IFP over the ANC, for she owed the ANC a profound
debt for its part in establishing the NFP. We know that the NFP
was birthed with money from some ANC leaders, who sought to
weaken the IFP in the hope of finally destroying us. The money
and propaganda they employed to assist the so-called "Friends of
VZ" first, and then the NFP, meant that when it
came to choosing a coalition partner, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi was
obliged to choose the ANC.
She therefore created, through the media, an
insurmountable obstacle to an IFP-NFP coalition, stating that
she would only consider it if I first apologised for saying that
the NFP was a creation of some ANC leaders. How could I retract
a truth I had spoken even in the National Assembly, before the
nation and in the presence of the President of the country?
Obviously I could not deny saying it. It was on the official
record. What she wanted, was for me to deny the truth of the
statement. I cannot deny the truth. She knows that. And it gave
her an easy out to run to the ANC.
She and her party are not even satisfied with
the power that she and the NFP are wielding through the
coalition with the ANC. Just now the NFP is busy trying to persuade IFP Councillors
to defect to the NFP. Last week two IFP Councillors in Nongoma have
defected to the NFP.
It is obvious that they are creating by-elections in the hope of
further weakening the IFP and taking over the Ulundi
But people are not fools. Many people
recognized the shadow of treachery when Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi
handed municipalities to the ANC through the NFP-ANC coalition.
The NFP-ANC coalition enabled the ANC to take control of
formerly IFP-led municipalities, not because the electorate
asked them to lead, but because a clever political strategy
enabled them to seize control. To me, that is not democracy.
Democracy is the electorate being led by the
people they elected. If the people had wanted an ANC leadership,
the ANC would have won an outright majority. They did not. But
one municipality after the next was handed to them on a silver
platter by the NFP.
The IFP suffered a setback because of this
calculated political strategy. But it is the people who will
really suffer. The people of this Province will bear the brunt
of a shaky coalition that is built on payback and threatened by
Already some NFP councillors have made it clear
that they do not agree to an NFP-ANC coalition. Some NFP
councillors resent being forced to work with the ANC. It was not
their choice. It was not the choice of NFP supporters. It was a
decision taken unilaterally, at the top. That is why NFP
councillors in Umlalazi and Umtshezi, Mtubatuba and Hlabisa, have
voted against their coalition and in favour of the IFP in their
But the ructions within the NFP are not unique
to the NFP. There are ructions emerging in every political
party, from the Democratic Alliance to the ANC. The DA handles
its internal problems with more grace than the ANC, but there
has been backbiting within the DA that threatens to divide its
leadership. Within the ruling Party, there is division on every
single issue and, as the ANC draws closer to its 2012 conference in Mangaung, the battle for
its leadership is pulling the leadership apart.
All of these ructions within the various
political parties create an opportunity for the IFP. That is the
opportunity to regain the political space which is rightfully ours. But all this will depend on whether the IFP members are prepared to
work hard. The goal of regaining control of KwaZulu Natal is not
unrealistic. Politics is, after all, the art of the possible. We
have not been unaffected by the internal wars that are plaguing
politics in South Africa, but the difference is that our war is
almost over. We got through it. The IFP has gone through the
most dramatic process of change, but we can surely now say that
it is almost behind us. What lies ahead, is the opportunity to
But we can see that we are not yet through
with the culture which "the friends of VZ" created in the IFP. There are vestiges of this sordid culture within the IFP. We therefore need to be awake and vigilant before our
Elective National Conference. There is unfortunately no substitute for hard work. As long as members of the IFP continue to be laid back
instead of working hard, we will suffer more and more loss of support. Our branches are not serviced by us as we should. Even branches that have been inaugurated need
visiting before our National Conference next year.
I thank God that the IFP survived the ructions
caused by our long-standing opponents. And I thank God that many
of our people refused to abandon the IFP. We have weathered a
terrible storm. The storm brewing between the ANC and the NFP
over their forced coalition is just getting started. And the
storm within the ANC is gathering pace. But for us, the storm is
almost over. While everywhere we look political leaders are
scrambling for positions, the IFP has its shoulder to the wheel
in serving the mandate given to us by the electorate.
As the President of this Party, I thank you
for your support. I thank you for remaining faithful to the
ideals of the IFP; ideals that we share with the people of
goodwill. I thank you for remaining steadfast even under the
onslaught of lies and deception created by our political opponents. I thank you for casting
your vote for the IFP. But be warned, there are many people just now
who are posturing as leaders of the IFP, who have double
agendas. One such
agenda is packing the National Council with disloyal and
As we forge ahead with our partnership, I ask
that you support Councillor Mhlongo. She is your voice in
Mpofana Municipal Council. She is the voice of the IFP, and the IFP is
the voice of integrity and reason. Our voice is needed now more
than ever to create a future in which corruption and poor
service delivery no longer exist. South Africa is on a very
worrying path. If we do not speak up now and act now, the future
will be bleak indeed. The IFP is determined to speak. With your help, we will speak with the voice
of the people.