Umlazi: 21 August 2011
I thank you for inviting me to visit you, post
the 2011 Local Government Elections. I welcome the opportunity
to come to Umlazi to thank you for your support in the
elections, and for your ongoing commitment to the IFP.
The 18 May elections saw the governance of
Umlazi shift from the IFP into the hands of a coalition. It was
not a painless shift, and it was not born of a change of heart
in Umlazi. Rather, it came on the back of a split vote
engineered by the NFP, and brought a leadership that you never
asked for. It has changed the mandate of the IFP, but it has not
changed our commitment to work in Umlazi, with Umlazi, for
Umlazi. After all, we still have thousands of members and supporters in
On the 18th of May, South Africa spoke through
the ballot box and asked the IFP to take up a new mantle of
opposition politics. We were shed of most of the
responsibilities of governance, freeing us up to engage a
no-holds barred opposition to the mounting deficiencies and
wrongs in our country's government. The IFP is no longer pulled
between governing and being a watchdog over governance. We have
one goal and one focus. We are intent on holding your leadership
South Africa has asked the IFP to become its
champion of opposition politics because of our strength. This is
no second fiddle role. In fact, the Local Government Election
results saw the IFP regaining our position as the third largest
political party in the country. 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.
The idea that our role is diminishing, as all
doomsayers are suggesting, is therefore ridiculous. We are
changing our mandate, but we are not changing our ideals. Our
principles remain unchanged. Our values are uncompromised. The
IFP remains the party of integrity; a leadership that you can
trust. I am pleased that our relationship continues in Umlazi. I
know there are those who feel disenchanted with what happened
here and the way in which the ANC was brought in through a
coalition partnership. For your sake, the IFP will keep vigilant
watch over this coalition. We will not allow all we have
accomplished together to be damaged by any corruption or
I am also aware that, like in all other
parties, there was some dissatisfaction with the choice of
candidate here. I am not trying to deny responsibility as the
leader of this Party. But it was decided not to involve me in
the Candidate Selection Committee. So I had no idea whatsoever
of what happened in this case. But I learnt that the Candidate
Selection Committee was advised by the local leadership as much
It really pains me when I hear all sorts of
stories in some of our constituencies where the choice of the
members was ignored and allegations that some individual leaders
manipulated the process and misguided the Candidate Selection
Committee in some instances. If this is true, it is regrettable.
And I wish to apologise to our members, even though I was not
personally involved. This has compounded our problems. I wish to
appeal to you; please, let us be more vigilant next time. We
should not cry over spilt milk. Let us look at how we can avoid
these pitfalls during the forthcoming 2014 general election.
I know that many families in Umlazi are
struggling. Just last month more than a dozen homes were flooded
because of poor construction. These RDP houses were built under a tender
contract worth R328 million. The company that won the tender is
under investigation for its shoddy work. Some houses are in
danger of falling apart and are hardly safe for habitation.
Shortly before the Local Government Elections, the Department of
Human Settlements revealed that many of the RDP houses that had
been built across South Africa were so poorly constructed that
it would cost approximately R58 billion to make them habitable.
This is unacceptable. We are far from having
reached our constitutional target of providing adequate housing
for all. But instead of building more houses, we have to fix the
ones already built. This is the fruit of corrupt tender
practices and maladministration. 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.
We intend to hold government in Umlazi to
account for what it does and does not do for you. Umlazi was one
of 19 hung municipalities after the Local Government Elections.
The ANC did not win a clear majority, and neither did the NFP.
But the NFP and ANC went into coalition to run the 19
municipalities, giving Umlazi an ANC-NFP government. The NFP
declared this was 'the will of the people', yet it is not what
you asked for on the 18th of May.
In fact, even NFP Councillors were disenchanted
with the coalition that their leadership had formed. In
Umlalazi, the NFP's representatives rejected the ANC-NFP
coalition and voted for an IFP municipal leadership. The IFP won
a mayoral seat because NFP Councillors voted for the IFP instead
of the ANC. But they were quickly brought into line. In a show
of strength, the ANC sent some of its big names to Umlalazi to
promote the ANC-NFP coalition. That meeting deteriorated into a
mudslinging exercise, as ANC events are wont to do.
You will recall how the Premier of Gauteng,
the Honourable Ms Nomvula Nonkonyana, came to Umlazi T-Section
last month for the ANC's Siyabonga Rally and called the IFP 'a
dead snake'. Tensions were already running high, and such
comments were grossly irresponsible. I am amazed that the NFP is
now blaming me for violence, claiming that I launched an attack
on the ANC-NFP coalition two weekends ago.
Two weekends ago, I was speaking at the
national elective conference of SADESMO, here in Umlazi, and I
said the same things I have been saying for months; things that
I said in the national House of Parliament on the 15th of
February. I gave a detailed account of the collusion between the
ANC and the NFP in Parliament and produced sworn statements. The
leader of the ANC did not deny the facts I put to him in
Parliament. It is therefore ridiculous that the NFP leadership
wants me to unsay what I said in Parliament when the leadership
of the ANC did not refute a single one of the facts that I put
before Parliament in February.
I have challenged the NFP to read the official
transcript of my remarks in Parliament and point out one single
sentence in which I instructed or encouraged our supporters to
violence. They will not find it, because it isn't there. I abhor
violence. I believe in engaging problems through negotiation,
not through the barrel of the gun. My entire legacy stands as
testimony to this truth.
I was vilified throughout the world for not embracing the
I felt it important that I address this issue
as I come here today, for I am deeply concerned by the bloodshed
that continues in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng. Lives are still
being lost to violence, and tensions must be addressed. I have
called for a meeting between the leadership of the IFP and the
NFP to talk seriously about this issue and ensure that it is
resolved. The violence must stop. The accusations and slanders
and mudslinging have to end. It is wrong of the NFP to keep
dragging my name into the violence. They know me. They know I am
not involved. I
uphold the ideals of non-violence and negotiations which the
founding fathers of the ANC upheld when the ANC was founded in
I have come here today with a challenge to
Umlazi. There is a great deal of energy and passion in this
community. Your political allegiance runs deep. Some feel angry
about the coalition, some feel frustrated at the IFP's loss.
Most of you are worried about the future. I challenge you to
channel all of this into mobilizing support for a strong
opposition. The IFP has become the champion of opposition
politics. As you strengthen the IFP, you strengthen your own
voice in governance.
Let us stop the violence in our communities
and turn it into a political revolution. Not the kind of
revolution that the ANC Youth League spouts, that will see our
economy destroyed through nationalization, and national unity
decimated through land grabs. But the kind of revolution that
the IFP has been preaching for decades; a revolution of the
people of goodwill. There are too many social evils plaguing
South Africa. Corruption has become endemic.
When Inkatha led the erstwhile KwaZulu
Government, not one single allegation of corruption was ever
leveled against our administration. And we did not spend one cent on
self-promotion. The same was the case when the province was run
by the IFP after 1994. We didn't spend taxpayers' money on media
communications and PR exercises. It was never about looking
good. It was about being good; at governance, at leadership and
development. It was about building houses, clinics and schools;
about providing healthcare and banking services. It was about
protecting citizens, empowering small businesses, assisting
farmers, feeding families, creating jobs and seeking peace.
I find it interesting that the ANC wants a
state-sponsored newspaper entirely dedicated to promoting the
achievements of our ANC-led Government. Every day we open the
papers and see stories of corrupt officials, corrupt tender
practices, maladministration, service delivery protests, price
hikes and strikes. Reality cannot be changed by hiding it under
the carpet, and it cannot be overshadowed by flooding us with
feel-good stories. Reality can only be changed by people of
goodwill strengthening those with the courage and integrity to
call for change.
The IFP has always spoken truth to power. We
have no fear of pointing out corruption or exposing the
inefficiencies of Government. Our courage comes from our
integrity. Our sense of responsibility to what is true and right
and just, will not allow us to keep silent when we witness
corruption. For seventeen years the IFP has pointed out
weaknesses in leadership and poor policy directions. We have not
done this to embarrass anyone or to make ourselves look good. We
do it because of our commitment to making South Africa work. We
believe you deserve more and better. It makes no sense to
emphasize our people's poverty in one breath, and at the same
time steal from the poor through corruption that involves even
Thus the IFP will keep working for you. 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 will keep working and serving and leading. I ask you to
strengthen us on the road ahead. There is a tendency in African
culture to support leaders just because they are leaders. That
is not the way of true democracy. Democracy demands that you
choose the leaders you believe will best serve your needs and
represent your interests, and that you then hold them
accountable for doing it. If they fail, you switch your vote.
I therefore encourage you to watch the ANC-NFP
coalition carefully. You may not have given them your vote, but
they now carry the responsibility of serving you. That does not
automatically grant them a right to your allegiance. Don't
become despondent and think that you are stuck with these
leaders forever. It is up to you to hold them accountable. It is
up to you to strengthen the opposition. And it is up to you to
vote them out if they fail to serve Umlazi.
That is your responsibility. Our
responsibility is to keep making your voice heard. The IFP will
be a vocal opposition. We will be loud, direct and honest. We
will absorb all the passion and energy in Umlazi, and channel it
into strengthening the voice of the people within government.
You should not be told what you need. Your government should be
asking you. The IFP believes in governance from the bottom up;
not dictatorship, centralization or a one-party state.
We are entering a new era of the IFP. In two
months time we will convene at our national elective conference
and concretize our plans for the future. There is still a great
deal of work ahead of us before conference. We must ensure that
our structures are functioning well and our branches have been
audited. Even though the Local Government Elections are over,
and even though the NFP has broken away and formed a coalition
with the ANC, there are still plans afoot to destroy our Party.
I say this with a heavy heart and I measure my
words carefully. I am aware of clandestine meetings and
subterfuge aimed at dividing the IFP. We are not a spent
political force, as our detractors like to pretend. We are a
serious threat to political hegemony in South Africa. We stand
as an obstacle to anyone who wants to weaken democracy, tinker
with the Constitution or subvert the rule of law. We were the
voice of conscience in the Government of National Unity. We were
the voice of reason in the government of President Mbeki. We
have been the voice of integrity under President Zuma. Now the
IFP is the voice of opposition.
Ours is the voice of the people of South
Africa who feel they have been ignored when they cried out for
jobs, homes, education, security and moral leadership. We are
the voice of the people who have not been fooled; the people who
know that our government could have and should have done better
by now. The IFP speaks on your behalf. We do it with your
mandate and your support. Thank you for keeping faith with the
IFP. Thank you for supporting me and my Party.
Things may have changed in Umlazi this year.
But the IFP's commitment to serving you will never change.
Together, we can secure the future.
I thank you.