It is good to be in Pietermaritzburg at this crucial moment in the history of South Africa. This is a destiny-determining time for our country which offers the opportunity for every community, city and province to push forward its individual vision and agenda for our collective future. I believe that Pietermaritzburg has a unique place in the vision for KwaZulu Natal which must be fulfilled through the local government established after December 5. In just 14 days, this city will have the opportunity of voting for a future which expresses the true heart of Pietermaritzburg. It is time for this city to shine. It is time for us to get development underway to transform Pietermaritzburg into a thriving nodal point of KwaZulu Natal. It is time to empower in Pietermaritzburg the party which stands for development, the IFP. It is time for the IFP to forge a new vision for Pietermaritzburg.

I know that the potential is here. Pietermaritzburg is overflowing with possibilities which have hardly begun to be tapped. The IFP intends to open the faucet of prosperity through development, development, and development. We are serious about winning local government elections because we are serious about making this Province a prosperous hive of productivity. The IFP is the party which stands for productivity. In this hive, Pietermaritzburg must become the hub of distribution. This city is perfectly placed to become an economic leader. More and more, industry is recognising the competitive advantage of locating in Pietermaritzburg. This city is finally carving a niche for itself which must be widened and expanded for the benefit of its people.

There is clear evidence that Pietermaritzburg is opening up its potentials. This morning, I had the honour of attending the opening of the Tongaat Hullett Aluminium Factory, together with the Premier of KwaZulu Natal and the President of our country. Pietermaritzburg secured this R2billion investment because its network of transport infrastructure brings the industry closer to Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape. Pietermaritzburg is in fact a nodal point for trade and commerce, ranging from Mocambique to the Eastern Cape, from Durban to Johannesburg.

My interest in the development of this region is not just an election gimmick. My interest in developing this region resulted in me asking the firm of Thorrington, McCrystal and Rosenberg to plan the development of the Thukela Basin. In fact, Mr Eric Thorrington is one of the sons of Pietermaritzburg with whom I was involved together with Dr Lawrence McCrystal. They produced a very exciting regional plan of the Thukela Basin which we as the erstwhile KwaZulu Government could not implement because we did not have the finance to do so.

The IFP recognises not only what this city is today, but we look into the future at what it can become and are inspired to push Pietermaritzburg closer to its destiny through a local government that works. The IFP is the only party which has long realised that the many problems of poverty, crime and unemployment which are affecting all South Africa’s cities, including Pietermaritzburg, can only be solved through development, development, development.

Local government is the vehicle through which Pietermaritzburg may at last drive development, development and more development. The IFP is planning victory on December 5 because we have a vision which demands to be fulfilled to bring South Africa closer to genuine liberation. For too long this city has been cast in the narrow mould of administration. For the past 100 years, some people have sought to limit Pietermaritzburg in restrictive administrative confines which have made this city the Cinderella city, lagging behind Durban and Richards Bay. But Pietermaritzburg has tremendous potentials for commercial and industrial development which must now be captured. The time has come for Pietermaritzburg to take its place as an economic leader in industry, commerce and distribution. The time for development has come.

The IFP is the party of development. We have placed this project high on the agenda of local government and we are determined to see it fulfilled in this place. We have always been a party to go into a challenge with our eyes on the goal, our foot on the fuel and our hearts in the prospect of success. This is the foundation underlying all that we have achieved together with even the poorest communities in South Africa since the IFP’s inception in 1975. We are a party of long-term vision, sustained effort and tenacity of spirit. We have what it takes to promote and boost the potential of Pietermaritzburg to transform it into the most productive city of this Province, because we work in the present with our focus firmly on the years ahead.

Since its inception, the IFP has looked to the future. Twenty five years ago, we firmly believed that the cause for liberation would one day meet with success. We knew that South Africa would achieve full political franchise long before the liberation struggle brought victory. We planned our strategy accordingly and prepared continuously to ensure that South Africans would be able to operate in a social and economic environment in which we would have the opportunity to govern our own lives, make our own decisions, meet our own needs, fulfill our aspirations, and choose the right leaders to serve us. As we struggled for political liberation, we worked hard to prepare South Africans to be full rights citizens of a thriving democracy, for this has always been the destiny of South Africa. The destiny of this country now hinges on strengthening the IFP.

For 25 years, throughout the struggle, the IFP has been preparing for December 5, 2000 and for the years to come. It is because of this long-term vision that we are able to see quite clearly that genuine liberation is not yet achieved, even while other political leaders sit back and say ‘we have arrived’. This is not the time for the few at the top to forget those who still falter under the heavy burden of poverty, unemployment, criminality, a lack of basic services and poor prospects for development. This is the time for those who have power to work hard to move that power lower down the ladder of governance and into the hands of the people in need. Governance of the people must begin to come from the bottom, up.

This is the IFP way of governing. We have always advocated bottom up governance as the best way to fulfill the democratic ideal. In pursuit of this ideal, we have worked hard at the central level of government while keeping our focus on the communities on the ground. The IFP has always led the struggle against poverty, social malaise, unemployment and poor service delivery along parallel lines to those who are also fighting, but are fighting with a different agenda. There are those who are engaging this election campaign to win votes and get more power. They want to keep their place at the top by covering the bases. If these people win, Pietermaritzburg is going to get more of what it has had for 100 years, a slow sluggish struggle to be more than a Cinderella city. The stronger the IFP in Pietermaritzburg, the more development will come to this city. Each vote counts and each vote for the IFP will strengthen the cause for development.

Only an IFP victory on December 5 can ensure that something new and something better comes to Pietermaritzburg. The IFP is a dynamic party, always on the look-out for new opportunities for growth, development and prosperity. We are not harnessed to a fixed way of doing things, nor are we bound in the straitjacket of a centralised philosophy of governance. We will never send prepackaged policies down the conveyor belt from Pretoria or Cape Town to try to uplift Pietermaritzburg. This city can stand on its own feet. It is strong and already revving its engines to run the race of development, development, development. This is a race Pietermaritzburg must run with those who know how to empower rather than subjugate. This is an IFP led race. It must be won with an IFP victory.

On December 5, people across South Africa will be casting their votes for specific local government candidates. Those who will be voted into local government positions of leadership must be those who understand bottom up governance. If local government leaders are chosen because they are marionettes of a big party higher up the ladder of governance, they will act on the instruction and impulse of central government. If these people go into leadership positions with their eyes turned upwards to receive a mandate from central government, development will suffer. We need local government leaders who meet the people on the ground eye to eye to receive a mandate from those they govern. Only IFP leaders are trained to serve. Only the IFP looks to the people for a mandate. Only the IFP operates firmly on the ground.

As I have already mentioned, for 25 years, the IFP has kept its focus on the long-term goal of development, prosperity and stability. We have never traded long-term benefits for short-term, short-lived, quick fix solutions. We have always looked at what South Africa needs to achieve tomorrow and planned today accordingly. There are others who simply look at today and roll forward with the slow, unthinking, destructive force of a political steamroller. During the liberation struggle, some political leaders laid the focus on achieving political liberation at all costs, and today we are paying the price. The IFP always wanted to arrive at the destination with our integrity intact, with our strength undiminished, with our morality untarnished, and with our vision complete.

It was for this reason that the IFP refused to become involved in the armed struggle. We did not want to watch the country which would be ours being torn apart and razed down into a war zone of bloodshed and anarchy. With the same encompassing and long-term vision, we refused to advocate international disinvestment and foreign sanctions against South Africa, as these would weaken the economy we were going to inherit. We wanted to arrive at the destination of liberation with our country’s potentials intact. We wanted to see a new generation of politically free South Africans who maintained a respect for human life, a will to prosper through their own efforts, and the determination to uplift those who remained behind locked in the chains of poverty, lack of education, unemployment, lack of skills, ignorance, disease and wrong social perceptions.

Above all, the IFP wanted to see an army of builders, innovators, teachers, and leaders of development rise up to take further the struggle for liberation after we achieved the first step of full political franchise. We knew that it mattered how we pursued liberation. Therefore, we held fast to the vision of a liberated South Africa in which all South Africans were able to keep up with the fast pace of transformation. We knew that by neglecting education according to the ill-conceived slogan of "liberation first, education later", a nation of politically free South Africans would be born who would be unable to rise above the economic distress, the social difficulties, the high levels of criminality and the vast unemployment we were to face after 1994 as a direct result of the ill-conceived liberation strategies employed by some segments of the liberation struggle.

The IFP knows that knowledge does not merely give one the tools to overthrow political oppression. It opens the door to freedom from ignorance, impotence and inactivity. With this foundational wisdom, we struggled forward and taught our people self-help and self-reliance when others were teaching destruction and mayhem. We educated our children and raised the banner of "Education for liberation" when others were giving children guns. Today I can say with conviction that had the IFP accepted joining the armed struggle, this country would have been reduced to ashes. Had the IFP welcomed economic sanctions, South Africa would be far further away from rebuilding an economy which can secure genuine liberation for all our people. Had the IFP embraced violence over education, the tide of criminality we face today would never be turned.

The IFP held fast to the vision of a genuinely free and rapidly developing South Africa, struggling through whatever apartheid conceived, determined to see this vision become reality. We suffered greatly, not merely at the hands of an unjust system of government, but under the cruel vilification of those who wanted to achieve liberation at all costs. They could not understand why we held fast to integrity when lives were being lost. They perceived our refusal to take up arms as a lukewarm response to oppression and degradation. Yet I can say with conviction and with the evidence of history supporting my words, that the IFP was more passionate in winning the struggle for liberation than any other liberation movement, because the IFP fought for a whole, a prosperous, a healthy and a developing South Africa.

Today, we are working towards the same goal, but we are closer to achieving it because we have never digressed to seek another agenda. We have never pursued power at the expense of the people. We have never engaged in petty political bickering while our people languished in poverty, unemployment and despair. The IFP is totally committed to serving South Africa. Today, we are still pursuing education as the most effective tool for liberation. The IFP is tabling education and training as a top priority for the development of our people and the increasing prosperity and productivity of our country. This city can only reach its true potential when all its people are freed from ignorance, a lack of skills and experience.

Adult education, skills training and vocational training are the only means to combat unemployment. We need to open up new opportunities for people to work by teaching new skills, rather than seeing them limited to a certain area where there are no jobs available. Pietermaritzburg can become a thriving city, but we need to invest in the development of its human resources. Investing in people has the greatest returns. It is only through the impulse of ordinary people that we will conquer many of the social evils afflicting South Africa. HIV/AIDS is a battle of the people, to be won by the people. Criminality must be opposed with goodwill. Poverty must be eradicated with education.

Only the IFP understands that efficient service delivery, sound policies and hard work at leadership level are not enough. We are committed to these goals, but we also know that one cannot take people out of the mix of any system of governance. For this reason, the IFP is in direct communication with the people, all the time, every day, for every project. Hand in hand with the people, the IFP is committed to bringing social stability, law and order, productivity, human development and increased opportunities into every community of South Africa. In Pietermaritzburg, we are expanding this commitment to include our passion to see this city prosper as a nodal point of distribution, trade and commerce in the province of KwaZulu Natal.

Now, in the next 14 days, we are determined to get the IFP message of development and vision into every corner of this city. Our candidates will be going to sports games, music concerts, community events, shopping centres, taxi ranks, churches, schools and social venues to carry the IFP message into every heart and mind throughout this city. Everywhere we go people will soon be talking about breaking the chains of poverty, developing potentials, winning genuine liberation and bottom up governance. Wherever we have been there will be a sense of empowerment, for we carry a message of self-help, self-reliance, prosperity, development and strength.

The opportunity to fulfill the destiny of Pietermaritzburg by voting IFP must not be lost. There is a climate of indolence and disinterest about the coming local government elections. It is essential that we motivate people to vote and to go to the voting stations on election day. It is essential that, at this stage, our election campaign focuses its resources on reaching out for people to motivate them to become part of the solution and support the IFP on election day. We need to reach out for people wherever they are. We cannot wait for them to come to us. We must now do as we have always done, which is bring them the IFP. We must meet people at their work places, and wherever they play, live, worship or otherwise aggregate. We need to bring them the message of the IFP with a visible presence which shows the strength of our commitment to making politics a living reality of community life.

A vote for the IFP on December 5 is a vote for development, victory and hope. The more votes the IFP wins, the more Pietermaritzburg wins. The struggle for development is the struggle for economic growth, productivity and employment. The pursuit of victory is the will to conquer poverty, HIV/AIDS, criminality and ignorance. The standard of hope is one which may only be raised when we finally see houses being built, infrastructure maintained, hospitals being equipped, electricity being provided, fresh water become accessible, health care improve and all our people being properly educated. These have always been part of the IFP’s agenda. For 25 years we have pursued them. Had the IFP not been a powerful force of goodwill and courageous leadership during South Africa’s history, there would perhaps be no future worth pursuing today.

The IFP does not just get the job done at any cost. The IFP gets the job done with greater efficiency, added benefit and increased opportunity. We know how to build in one place without breaking down in another. We do not merely reshuffle the cards, but we build a better hand by playing the right cards in the right positions at the right time for the greater prosperity, development and genuine liberation of all South Africans. Let’s get the right people into local government. This is the time for the IFP. Local government is what we do best, because together the IFP and the communities of Pietermaritzburg can build a powerful force for good which can finally bring this city closer to its God-given destiny.

I believe that with the help of God, with the enthusiasm of Pietermaritzburg and with the vision of the IFP, we can bring development off the blueprints and into reality. Let us do it together, because we can. Let us not rest until the hope of the IFP is celebrated in every corner of this city. Let us bring this campaign to life with the spirit of goodwill that drives us onward and upward in the face of challenge. We have 14 days to do it. Let us let everyone in Pietermaritzburg know that the IFP means business to complete the vision of prosperity, hand in hand with the builders, the workers and the innovators of development. Together we can turn this city and this region into a hub of productivity.

Let us vote to do it together.
Let us win an IFP victory.
Let us get the job done.