IFP Rally In Amajuba
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

Amajuba District: 27 February 2011 

 

When I visited Amajuba in April last year, the cloud of discontent hung over our Party. We were locked in a battle against a group of rabble-rousers calling themselves "the Friends of VZ", and we were still uncertain whether our National Chairperson was being honest with us when she protested her innocence and pretended to support us. It was an extremely dark moment in our Party's history.

 

But in the midst of it all, when I spoke in Amajuba last year, I declared that my hope was rising. I didn't expect it or anticipate it.  But somehow, even at our lowest point, I sensed the tide of true supporters rising. The ructions in the IFP had awoken a giant and the people of goodwill were stirring.

 

I thank God that I was right to have hope. I come here today buoyed on the victory of the IFP, for we have overcome our difficulties and our Party is rising again. I have come to Amajuba to thank those of you who had the guts to weather the storms in our Party. We in the IFP are survivors. We have great tenacity. I am proud to stand among men and women who stood by the IFP. And I thank you.

 

Since 2009, we as a party have had a most trying time. We performed poorly in the general election of 2009. And sadly, instead of rising up to regain our lost ground, we were assailed by some of our members whose ambition had been cut short. Some of our members were on the election lists to be members in the Provincial Legislature in KwaZulu Natal and in the National Parliament in Cape Town. But, because we did not receive sufficient votes as a party, they never made it to the Legislature or to Parliament.

 

This is where it all started. Initially, I heard a rumour that was whispered in the corridors that those who failed to make it expected me, as President of the IFP, to remove those who had made it to the KwaZulu Natal Legislature and to Parliament, and replace them with themselves. In the first place, I could not do such a thing. The IEC Rules do not provide for leaders of parties to do that and I had no powers to do it.

 

Soon thereafter a group of young people emerged in our Youth Brigade who clamoured for "transformation" in the Party. Although I myself had been speaking about the need for renewal in the IFP for several years, this group now demanded "transformation". To this day they have not unpacked what they were after. Of course, there was nothing wrong in their coming up with this demand. But they made the mistake of voicing their demands in the media, rather than within the Party's fora. This was a contravention of the provisions of the IFP's Constitution.

 

The disgruntled bunch of malcontents who did not make it to the KwaZulu Natal Legislature or to Parliament in Cape Town then seized on this demand for "transformation". They hi-jacked the youths' poorly enunciated demand to cover their own bitterness at not having their ambitions realised.

 

The IFP's National Council found itself without any alternative but to apply sanctions against those who contravened the provisions of our Constitution. The National Council and the National Executive Committee of the Party had no choice but to charge the young people who were hosting a media circus at the IFP's expense.

 

The group of malcontents used this opportunity to rally around our then National Chairperson, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi. They preyed on her own ambitions and used her to lash out at the IFP. Those who were expelled from the Party began calling themselves "the Friends of VZ". Our National Council was surprised by the emergence of this group. And our National Chairperson, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi, pretended that she was equally surprised by the emergence of this group who called themselves "the Friends of VZ".

 

She made various statements in both the print and electronic media disowning her so-called "Friends". She stated that she so resented their use of her initials, VZ, which stood for her name, Veronica Zanele, that she threatened to sue them for using her name. She stated that, at the Elective General Conference, she would ask us as members of the National Council to support her for the position of Chairperson of the Party; a position that she held at the time.

 

The strange thing is that the "Friends of VZ" continued with their divisive activities and even produced T-shirts on which slogans like "100% VZ" were inscribed. Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi continued to deny that there was any connection between her and the "Friends of VZ" and averred that she had nothing to do with the production of the T-shirts.

 

But she never carried out her threat to take this group to court. The National Council therefore decided, on the recommendation of the National Executive Committee, to compile a report on the National Chairperson, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi, to establish whether there was any connection between her and the "Friends of VZ".

 

Once this report was compiled, it was clear that there was enough evidence and some to spare confirming that she had a lot to do with the "Friends of VZ". Thus National Council asked her to appear before it to clear her name. But instead of appearing before National Council, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi decided to take the Party - the Inkatha Freedom Party - to the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

 

There had been a High Court application by some of the malcontents in which they sued us, as leaders of the IFP, accusing us of not holding the elective conference and asking the High Court to declare our positions as members of the National Council defunct. They argued that our positions lapsed in 2009, when the elective conference should have been held. That case was heard by Madam Justice Pillay in the High Court, and it was dismissed with costs. Then there was another case before the High Court brought by messrs Wiseman Mcoyi, Nhlanhla Khawula and others, who also sought an order of the High Court to the effect that we had no locus standi in judicio to hear the cases of the people who contravened the provisions of our Constitution since, they argued, our term of office had expired in 2009.

 

The interesting thing is that those who took the matter to court were the leaders of the "Friends of VZ". Our then Chairperson decided to combine her case against us with that brought by the "Friends of VZ", when all along she had denied having anything to do with them. The cases were heard as one case on the 12th of November 2010 by Mr Justice Patel. Judgment was delivered on behalf of Mr Justice Patel on the 17th of January. It is now a matter on record that their case was also dismissed by the High Court, with costs.

 

At last the truth was revealed. Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi had lied to us about her ambitions to stand as a candidate for the Presidency of the Party. And she lied to us when she proclaimed she had nothing to do with the "Friends of VZ". In her affidavit before the High Court, she declared that she is prepared to stand for any position in the Party, including that of President of the Party. The IFP argued in the High Court that we no longer trusted Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi after she had lied to us.

 

The truth is that Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi was lying all along. The National Freedom Party, which she has now launched, was registered with the IEC in October last year. This shows what a dishonest leader she is. She was drawing a salary as an IFP Member of the Legislature for several months knowing that she no longer supported the IFP; knowing, in fact, that she intended to launch the National Freedom Party. From October 2010 when the NFP was registered, up until the point that she openly declared herself the leader of the NFP, she was content to take the IFP's money.

 

Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi set a terrible example, for the councillors that the IFP has now expelled were equally content to draw a salary from the IFP, even while doing their utmost to destroy the Party. These are the type of people, devoid of any integrity, that now lead the NFP.  They all masqueraded as leaders and members of the IFP, when they knew deep in their hearts that they were no longer part of the IFP.

 

These are the type of people who are now going to present themselves to the people of Amajuba and elsewhere, pretending to be worthy of your vote. What possible reason could anyone have to trust these tricksters who deceived us for so long in the IFP? Why trust someone who has proven they have no integrity? Very few of them can even point to anything they have done while they were councillors to assist the people of Amajuba in terms of service delivery.

 

The media has made a meal out of the defection of so many councillors.  But the media does not know that many of them have been receiving salaries as IFP councillors without delivering anything to the people who elected them. In most cases, their departure from the IFP has been good riddance. I am certain that most of them would have liked to return in May, after the Local Government Elections, as your councillors. But, as the hymn goes, God works in mysterious ways; He has provided a way of ridding the IFP of people who were doing nothing for the IFP or the people.

 

Unfortunately, none of this makes our task as a Party any easier. We have lost a lot of time during the saga of Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi and her "Friends of VZ", who now comprise the National Freedom Party. This means that each one of us must gird our loins, as the task before us is enormous. We need to find the people who can serve us better. It is good that we now know who is who, in that those who have joined the NFP are now well-known amongst us. But we are preparing for the Local Government Elections under terrible time constraints.

 

I have come here to warn each one of you not to make the mistake of underestimating the amount of work we have to do within the next few weeks. We need to work hard to regain the hearts and minds of our people, because propaganda is being peddled by these NFP traitors that the NFP is the same as the IFP. It disgusts me that they are taking advantage of the ignorance of some of our people and are deliberately confusing them so that they will unwittingly join the NFP.

 

After losing so much time as a result of all the ructions that Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi created in our Party, we have only a few weeks left to get the IFP's message across.

 

I appreciate your coming here in such large numbers to hear my message. I am encouraged by your numbers at this rally. But you know what? - even if we come to these rallies in such large numbers, it will not win us votes in the forthcoming Local Government Elections. An election, as I always emphasize, is a numbers game. We can rush around for a few weeks before the day of the election, but that will not be sufficient to win us votes if we have not registered enough people now at their polling stations.

 

We have only a few days before the 5th and 6th of March which are the last IEC registration dates. I have come here to ask you to register people today, tomorrow and every day until the registration dates are upon us. Do not wait until the weekend of the 5th and 6th of March.  Register people now, and keep registering people. Let us go all out to ensure that our children who will be 18 years old in May have IDs and are registered at the right polling stations where they should exercise their voting rights.

 

There is a serious challenge concerning what is called a Special Vote.  There are parties that have abused the Special Vote in the past to commit fraud. Until now, the Special Vote was limited to national and provincial elections. But due mainly to POPCRU who were agitating to be allowed to vote on a different day, the law has been changed to make the Special Vote applicable in Local Government Elections as well. Various categories of people can use the Special Vote; those who are seriously ill, the disabled, expectant women, and any other person who, for good reason, would not be able to cast their vote on the actual day of elections.

 

I urge you to go all out to look for people who fall into these categories. Identify them now, and arrange with them now that a day before the election you will assist them to cast their votes. As I have already warned, the Special Vote is fraught with danger and poses a risk of fraudulent activity. This is not just imagined. It has happened in the past. In 2006 people from Mpumalanga Province were transported to Ulundi and Nongoma to register as residents in order to enable them to come and vote on the day of the election.

 

So the weekend of the 5th and 6th of March is crucial. A lot of shenanigans can be committed on that weekend. I say, "Watch Out!" Be vigilant. It is pointless to wait until these things happen in the hope of wailing about them after they have occurred. The saying that it is no use crying over spilt milk sums it all up.

 

There is an enormous amount of work before us. But we are now running unencumbered by the challenges we faced last year. We are leaner, faster and wiser. We are stronger, more focused and more committed. We are united in purpose, united in vision and united as one IFP seeking the best for South Africa's future. I urge the people of Amajuba not to be fooled by leaders with no integrity who will come here to try and talk you into throwing your vote away. Your vote counts. Make it a vote for the IFP.

 

I thank you.