George Goch Stadium: 24 July 2011
I thank you members of the IFP in Gauteng for the
good decision that I should come up so that we can together look at
the post local election's scene. That we should look at what
happened to us as a Party, and at why it happened.
The political landscape has shifted since the 18th
of May and there has been much speculation over what the electoral
result means for our country's future. A clear message was sent to
the ruling Party that the electorate is no longer enamoured with the
way the ANC is governing. The role of opposition politics gained
support as votes for the DA increased across the board. Cope was
replaced as the third largest political party by the IFP, as we
regained our position as number 3 nationally according to election
results. These were all positive developments which bode well for
democracy. But not all the news was good.
We cannot pretend that we do not feel the pain of
losing so much ground in the 2011 Local Government Elections. In the
past five years, the IFP has run 32 municipalities in KwaZulu Natal
and we did so with all the dedication, integrity and experience that
the IFP is known for. Yet we emerged from the elections with only 2
municipalities. This has changed the course of the IFP. The
electoral result shed us of most of our responsibilities of
governance, freeing us to pursue a more powerful opposition role,
both in KwaZulu Natal and nationally.
Looking at what happened against the background of
the predictions of all the pundits, amongst whom I mention the
so-called political analysts, the hostile media, the amount of money
that bankrolled the NFP, and the predominance of brown envelope
journalism, we still survived.
We as a Party are still alive and kicking.
This in spite of the fact that there were concerted efforts
to destroy our Party by some amongst the most powerful people in
this country. And in
spite of the fact that we did not have even a fraction of the
resources that were used by all the combined forces, to counter the
agenda to split our Party.
The obituary of our Party was a prominent feature, of all
that was said by the doomsayers who wrote about our imminent demise,
as a factor in South African politics.
Today's gathering is evidence of the fact that we are still
players in spite of all the losses that we sustained in the May 18th
election. We may be
battered but we are not yet dead as was predicted.
I came to the City of Johannesburg before the
election campaign got underway to speak to you frankly about what
was happening in the IFP. We discussed the difficulties caused by the
"Friends of VZ" and the divisions engineered by our former National
Chairperson, with the support of some leaders in the ANC. We
considered the then recent formation of the NFP and voiced our
concern over the potential for a split vote, which we had seen
happen in Estcourt and Eshowe during by-elections, when the NFP put
forward its independent candidates, and handed those municipalities
to the ANC. Exactly what
we saw coming happened.
Our municipalities were handed on a platter to the ANC by the NFP.
Now the writing is on the wall. There is no longer
a need for speculation or suspicions. May 18th told us everything we
needed to know, proving that the NFP and the ANC were indeed
co-conspirators in the attempted destruction of the IFP. In the end,
they did split the vote and created 19 hung municipalities in
KwaZulu Natal. The message from the electorate was that the IFP was
still needed and trusted, but the NFP had brought an element of
uncertainty. What the electorate did not ask for was an ANC
If the people had wanted the ANC, 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,
who prided themselves on being named the "kingmaker" after the May
18th elections. The ANC-NFP coalition was inevitable. It was payback
for the ANC's support, and brought Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi closer to the
kind of power she seeks. So although the electorate did not ask for
an ANC local government in many of the municipalities that were
hung, in which we had most votes, they got it. And although people
who voted for the NFP did not ask to get into bed with the ANC,
that's where they were taken. To my mind, that is not democracy.
When the will of the people is disregarded for political expediency, democracy
is perverted. There were ructions when members of the NFP
approached the IFP, stating their revulsion against the idea of
operating with the ANC in a coalition.
A lot of pressure had to be exerted on them and they were
threatened with expulsions, if they voted with the IFP as they
intended to do.
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,
even more strongly than has been the case in the 17 years of our
democratic era. 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.
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 north.
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. As I speak to the
City of Johannesburg District, I am cognisant of the fact that we
maintained support in Ward 65 and that many IFP supporters went to
the polls to vote for the IFP. 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.
I remember some of our leaders who paid the price for being
members of this Party with their lives, when they were assassinated
here in Gauteng and in KwaZulu Natal, just before the elections.
You are in good company, for 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 1.2 million times the people
chose the IFP. I challenge anyone to claim that the IFP is
irrelevant or that our time is up. Such a claim is laughable in view
of the facts. We are again the third largest political party in
South Africa. Clearly the IFP has a crucial role to play.
It does not matter that our percentage was lower than it was
in previous elections, whether we like it or not, the more than 1.3
million votes put us where we were before as the second
predominantly black Party after the ANC.
What all of this means if that a great deal of
work lies ahead for our Party. We must accept the responsibility
which the electoral result has cast upon us and take up the
challenge of opposition politics. We must look to our new role and
allow ourselves to become inspired by the possibilities. We are
entering radical, no holds barred opposition, where every fight
belongs to the IFP. We are not going to wait until 2014 to regain
our position. We have already taken up our position and it is from
here that we must fight.
Our fight is not against the ANC or against the
NFP. It is against the tide of wrongs that threaten South Africa. As
such, in this fight, the IFP is the champion of South Africa's
democracy, Constitution, liberty and values. I am here to ask you to
take up this fight with the IFP, so that together we can turn the
tide on the mounting corruption, ineptitude, greed and deceitfulness
within our country's leadership.
We do not rejoice at the ructions that are taking
place in the ANC-run municipalities.
We do not rejoice at the rift that is gaping within the ANC
leadership in the Mabhida Region in Pietermaritzburg.
But the main thing about it all is that all of these things
have exploded over the extent of corruption in the highest echelons
of the leadership of the ANC.
The Tenderpreneurship disease has become an epidemic.
Sadly fratricidal deaths are now taking place.
But all these sad happenings revolve around CORRUPTION.
Money it has been proved beyond any shadow of doubt is the
ROOT OF ALL EVIL!
Whether we speak in the local shebeen or in the
House of Parliament, IFP people speak about bread and butter issues.
We know about everyday problems like single parenthood, being
jobless, HIV/Aids, the burden of electricity tariff increases, fear
for the future and despair over criminality. We have not risen above
the common plight of South Africans. We do not see ourselves as
above the law or untouchable Leaders in the IFP still stand hand in hand with
the people we serve, working and struggling together.
It was insulting, therefore, that the Premier of
Gauteng, the Honourable Ms Nomvula Nonkonyana, could call the IFP "a
dead snake". In fact, she travelled all the way to KwaZulu
Natal from Gauteng to hurl this insult. She was speaking at a
gathering in Umlazi, where, just weeks before, the NFP's
representatives in the municipality had rejected the ANC-NFP
coalition and voted for an IFP municipal leadership. They were
quickly brought into line and, in a show of strength, the ANC sent
some of its big names to Umlazi to promote the ANC-NFP coalition.
The meeting deteriorated into a mudslinging exercise, as ANC events
are wont to do.
Still, it is surprising that the Premier of
Gauteng would go out of her way to insult the IFP when she has so
much trouble to occupy her in her own backyard. Service delivery
protests continue even after the elections and people are clearly
unhappy with their ANC councillors. This is a consequence of the list debacle prior to
the elections, when the ANC top brass unceremoniously removed from
its election lists candidates who were chosen by the people, and
simply replaced them.
This caused such a furore that President Zuma had
to step in with promises that the ANC would sort out the candidates
lists after the elections.
On Mandela day, the Honourable Premier Ms Nomvula
Nonkonyana had demonstrations staged against her by ANC members
in her own backyard. My advice to her is that it pays sometimes to mind
one's own business. The
people are not fools. If the ANC was intent on doing the right
thing, it would not hesitate to do it. It would not say, "Give me
your vote first, and I'll prove my worth later." The IFP has never
condoned violence and we do not advocate intimidation or the
destruction of property. We see the burning of two ANC councillors'
homes in Soweto as evidence that communities are desperate to be
taken seriously by the ANC. But the ANC has become impervious to the
cries of the unemployed, the poverty stricken, the hungry, the angry
and the desperate. There is a sense in the ruling Party that
anything is permissible because (a) they might not get caught, and
(b) if they are caught, they can deal with the fallout until the
fuss dies down.
We have seen this again with the maladministration
scandal over the police headquarters lease. The Public Protector has
called for remedial action to be taken against National Police
Commissioner General Bheki Cele and the Minister of Public Works, Ms
Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, over the dodgy procurement of leases valued
at R1.78 billion for buildings in Pretoria and
Durban. We wait with bated breath to see what Cabinet will do with
the Public Protector's recommendation.
Already the ANC Treasurer-General has tried to
shift the responsibility onto Parliament. But the Executive has
never asked Parliament to engage on any of the thousands of reports
the Public Protector releases annually. This is really just an
effort to shirk the responsibility of dealing decisively with guilty
senior government officials. The IFP has praised the Public
Protector for pursuing this investigation without fear or favour,
and for bringing the findings into the public domain before anything
could be covered up. There is a critical need for watchdogs over
government that are invested with both bark and bite.
The IFP has played the role of watchdog over the
ruling Party for many years. We disagreed with the ANC-in-exile when
they diverged from the original path mapped by the ANC's founding
fathers in 1912 that our struggle should be waged through
non-violence. We have been more faithful to the legacy of 1912 than
even the ANC. Ironically, next year will see the celebration of the
centenary of the ANC and, although much has been planned by way of
presenting the ANC as the sole liberator of South Africa, no role
has yet been assigned to the IFP.
I will say more about this later.
Our own part in securing the demise of apartheid,
which has been acknowledged by former President FW de Klerk before
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and applauded by Presidents
Mandela, Mbeki and Motlanthe, is now being sidelined once again. I
attended the media launch of the centenary on the 15th of July and
we heard the ANC National Executive Committee member, Ms Jessie
Duarte announcing that the role of former PAC leader Mr Robert
Mangaliso Sobukwe would be commemorated as part of the centenary. That was good. As one Independent Online journalist put it, anyone being
allowed to share the ANC's limelight is "a rare feat".
I have spoken to the ANC National Chairperson, and
the IFP National Council has directed a letter to her, emphasizing
the importance of the centenary as an opportunity to finalise
reconciliation between the ANC and the IFP. It would amaze me, but
sadly not surprise me, if the IFP were intentionally sidelined from
the centenary celebration. There have been efforts over many decades
to expunge from the record of history the truth about the IFP's role
in the liberation of South Africa. As former President Nelson
Mandela admitted in April of 2002, "We have used every ammunition to
destroy (Buthelezi), but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable
survivor. We cannot ignore him."
The ANC has invited political leaders of other
parties to be part of the celebration of the centenary of the
founding of the ANC in January 1912.
At a meeting that we had with the Chairperson of the ANC, HE
Ms Baleka Mbete on the 21st of June as members of different
political parties, I had the following to say by way of response to
the ANC's invitation to us to participate in the forthcoming
"The centennial of the founding of the African
National Congress is a matter of no minor importance. It affects not
only the ANC, but the whole of the country. Therefore, I welcome
this opportunity to begin a dialogue on how this centennial could be
best celebrated as an event which does not belong exclusively to the
ANC, but of which the entire Republic and all its political parties
may take ownership, if they so wish.
This centennial is also too important an occasion
to deal only with the past, and not also with the future. If the
centennial fails to address outstanding issues amongst our parties
and within our society, a great opportunity will be missed. There
will never be such a first centennial again. We must use this
centennial as a cathartic moment to draw on the lessons of the past
and bring together a final resolution of all the outstanding issues
within our society. The centennial should be the moment in which the
promise of liberation can be coagulated.
As you all know, the founding of the ANC was
somehow a family event for me. My uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme,
was the founder of the ANC. I was very close to the Reverend Dr Langalibalele
Dube, the first President of the ANC. The Inkosi of Abasemakholweni
in Groutville, Inkosi Albert Mvumbi Luthuli, was my mentor, and
there are many people who credit me with his election as the
provincial President of the ANC when I came to the meeting with a
number of state employees to support his candidacy. Canon James
Calata and Dr Wilson Zamindlela Conco were also close friends and
mentors, and I had the privilege of delivering their respective
(Inkosi Luthuli and Dr Conco)
I knew Dr Alfred B Xuma, the President General of
the ANC, and was entertained by him at his home in Toby Street in
Sophiatown. We even exchanged correspondence. President Nelson
Mandela and President Oliver Tambo and several other leaders of the
ANC were my comrades and colleagues in the ANC before 1979. Even
when I launched Inkatha, I consulted with Mr Oliver Tambo, and he
I do not think there is anyone alive in South
Africa today who can more rightly than me claim roots in the
extraordinary events of 1912. Yet, there have been many attempts to sever the
link between myself and the events which gave rise to both my
political action and the existence of my Party. This has created a
rift fuelled by lies and misrepresentation. On many occasions, all
the Presidents of the ANC both publically and privately undertook to
rectify the record and to heal the rift.
Mr Cleopas Nsibande was the first to publically
attest to the fact that Mr Oliver Tambo, Inkosi Luthuli and other
ANC leaders requested that I not decline if Amakhosi of the Zulu
Kingdom decided to elect me within the framework of the
self-government structures that the Apartheid regime imposed on us.
They stated that it would be in the interests of our liberation
struggle to prevent the balkanization of the country into so-called
Mr Nsibande called for reconciliation between the
IFP and the ANC. Deputy President Motlanthe echoed this statement
at the funeral of Mr Nsibande, adding that he and President Zuma
were duty-bound to honour Mr Nsibande's repeated requests that they
meet with me "with a view to normalize relations between the IFP and
ANC". Nothing has come of this."
I must say what stands out is that in 1984,
Inkatha Yenkululeko YeSizwe, as it was then known, built a tombstone
on the grave of Dr Pixley Seme at Croesus cemetery, here in
unveiled it on the 14th of September 1984 and I was the main speaker
at that historic unveiling.
How can anyone hope to obliterate all this history?
It is impossible to undo what happened.
The National Council decided on the 24th of June that the IFP
should accept the invitation to be part of these celebrations.
As I have already said, our National Chairperson is awaiting
a response from the National Chairperson of the ANC Ms Baleka Mbete
as to whether we will and how we are expected to do so.
As the founder of this Party, my legacy is
intertwined with the legacy of the IFP. Efforts to destroy me and
efforts to destroy this Party have gone hand in hand. Some of our
opponents think they have won. Some think that the May 18th electoral result has
devastated the IFP. But others are wise enough to know that the IFP
remains for as long as our ideals and our legacy continue in the
hearts and minds of South Africans. You have proven through the
ballot box that the IFP still lives. You have proven that we are
still a force to be reckoned with. I challenge you to take up the fight of the IFP as
we enter a new era of opposition politics.
We have now to double up our efforts to re-unite
our members in the IFP, who have been confused by the drama of the
emergence of the NFP, from within the IFP.
We are the Party that cannot afford to sit back until 2014.
We need to gird our loins now, and mobilise our membership.
Reset up our branches.
Expand our membership to what it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
It was membership that was spread out almost throughout the
territory of the Republic.
Because of money as a dominant factor, people tend to want
the Party to do something for them.
They see the Party as a ladder to positions of influence and
affluence. They ask all
the time what can the IFP do for them, and not what they can do for
the IFP. As we leave
this meeting, I want each one of us to ask ourselves individually
and collectively, what is it that we can do for the IFP to return it
to what it was in all these years.
We are masters of our own fate, as one Poet put it.
No one will do these things for us.
We can only do these things for ourselves.
We are far from done. The best is yet to come.
With your support, the IFP can turn the tide in South Africa. We are
doing it for you, and with you. Let us do it together.
I thank you.