LED Projects Handover
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
Inkosi Of The Buthelezi Clan
Chairman: Zululand District House Of Traditional Leaders And
Traditional Prime Minister Of The Zulu Nation

 

Ntambanana Municipal Hall: 29 April 2011

 

The Honourable Mayor of Uthungulu District Municipality, Councillor Stan Larkan; the Honourable Mayor of Ntambanana Local Municipality, Councillor Biyela; Honourable Councillors; valued sponsors; and distinguished guests.

 

As we gather here at Ntambanana Hall, we are in the company of leaders and public figures. But there is none more important in this room today than those who have come to receive the uniforms and umbrellas, the soccer kits and garden equipment, the walking sticks and furniture, which is being handed over by Uthungulu District Municipality. Our gathering here today is all about you.

 

We are here to say thank you for helping us to perform our responsibilities as leaders, for we know that we cannot deliver services without your support and we cannot lead without your mandate. I am here today in my capacity as a traditional leader and a leader of the Zulu nation. I am also here as a patriotic citizen who cares that the needs of the people are met by government. Although I am not speaking as the President of the IFP, I am nevertheless the leader of the Party that leads the municipality in Ntambanana and in the district of Uthungulu. As such, I am here to hold Mayor Larkan accountable, to see to it that he delivers on the mandate the IFP has given him to serve this community.

 

I am grateful to have an established relationship with this community, which has been built over some 35 years. You know me and you know my values. You will therefore know that we share a vision of development and upliftment that has more to do with a hand-up, than a hand out. I believe in self-help and self-reliance; which means empowering people to rise above their circumstances through their own efforts. Everyone needs help at some point, and at some point every one of us has a responsibility to help others.

 

That is why I don't believe in offering food parcels for votes, or even making empty promises to get the vote. The goods that are donated to you today come with no strings attached. My Party doesn't expect your unquestioning allegiance. We believe in earning your support every day, whether it's an election year or not. We believe in partnerships that put the needs of our people first. And we believe in working hard to keep your trust and deserve your support.

 

I wish to thank everyone who has partnered with the Uthungulu District Municipality to make these donations available. They are needed and useful, and are therefore welcomed. I know that the Municipality is not giving out of the overflow of its coffers; it has worked hard to gather the resources to make today possible. We are grateful to everyone who has made a contribution, and we thank you. Once again, we cannot do what we do by ourselves.

 

In South Africa's economy, the fiscus is unequally divided between the national, provincial and local government, and local government receives by far less than any other sphere. Yet it is expected to do somehow more with less, because it is here that services are actually delivered. Not only are our municipalities poorly funded by the fiscus, but they also do not benefit from rates and service charges. So they have very little to work with to perform their constitutional mandate.

 

Fortunately the Uthungulu District Municipality, like 31 other municipalities across KwaZulu Natal, has a 35 year track record of service in governance to guide them when it comes to sound financial management and making every Rand count. IFP led municipalities stand strong on the IFP's legacy of delivery, accountability, integrity and service. Councillors and Mayors who are elected on an IFP ticket are expected to serve with integrity and dedication. They are expected to serve everyone, regardless of their political affiliation, and they are expected to work hard.

 

I know that this community has been approached by the newly formed NFP, and all sorts of promises have been made to try to persuade you to surrender your vote to an untested party. Your vote is valuable. That is why it is being pursued. I have no intention of telling you what to do, but I feel I must warn you so that you will not be tricked out of the leadership you ask for at the coming local government elections. In less than three weeks we will all be going to the polls to decide the future of our communities.

 

When the NFP was formed, the political analysts and even the media questioned how long it would last. It is not expected to survive much past the local government elections, in part because it was formed out of discontent, instead of any original ideology, and in part because those who defected to the NFP are expecting to be rewarded with high positions, and there just aren't enough positions to go around in political parties. A party that is all leaders and no followers always ends up imploding.

 

It would therefore not be wise for the electorate to empower the NFP through the vote, because it is highly doubtful whether they will last five years to the next local government elections. And as they fight their internal battles, it is service delivery that will be compromised. As we say, when the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. I worry about where our people will be left if the leadership they choose disintegrates before their term of office has even expired. The NFP is untested and likely to fail. Their policies are vague and they have nothing new to offer.

 

But there is another danger in the electorate giving their vote to the NFP, and that is the problem of the NFP splitting the vote and handing our municipalities to the ANC on a silver platter. This happened during by-elections in Eshowe and Estcourt, where the NFP sent their leaders to stand as independent candidates. They wanted to test the waters to see how much support a new party could garner. The communities rejected them and they failed to win the vote. But because a few people were fooled by the NFP's glitz and glamour, a few took their vote from the IFP and gave it to the NFP. The result was disastrous. The IFP won too few votes against the real opponent; the ANC, and the ANC took over Eshowe and Estcourt.

 

I regret that this is what will happen wherever the NFP succeeds in splitting the vote. And the ANC knew it all along. That is why some leaders of the ANC bankrolled the split in our Party and supported the formation of the NFP. Because the IFP is still the ANC's strongest opposition and we are still a threat to them in KwaZulu Natal. They figured that a weakened IFP would give them the space to take your municipalities away from the leadership you prefer. It is a dirty trick, and one that I hope will not befall Ntambanana.

 

I do not want to see you cheated out of the leadership you know and the leadership you choose. If you do vote IFP, you will get IFP. But if you vote NFP, you are going to get ANC. It is therefore crucial that you come out and vote on the 18th of May to make your voice heard. Your vote is your voice, and your vote will make all the difference for the future of Ntambanana. I ask those of you who have recently turned 18 and are voting for the first time to speak to your elders and to get involved in politics. Don't be fooled by the sexy campaign promises of untested parties. Find out who has served your community over the past decades and who has done it well.

 

As I have said, we cannot serve without your support and we cannot lead without your mandate. We need you to speak through the ballot box, to strengthen your municipality. I appeal to the elderly to register to use the Special Vote, if you have not yet done so. Registration will close on Tuesday, so there is not much time left to make sure that your vote is counted during this election. The Special Vote applies to anyone who is unable, for any reason, to visit their polling station on the 18th of May. The IEC will then assist you to vote on the 16th or 17th of May.

 

Voting is not all about empowering a political party. It is about securing the next five years of governance and service delivery for you, for your family and your community. Local government is all about you. It is about bringing you closer to the decision-making process, so that you can decide where roads are constructed, where homes are electrified, where water is reticulated, where clinics are built and where schools are established. It is also about maintaining the infrastructure that you already have.

 

I am therefore pleased that the donation we hand over today includes such things as gardening equipment, for I have always been a staunch advocate of community vegetable gardens. I feel that flowers are beautiful; but a garden full of vegetable feeds hungry mouths. When I led the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, we sent some of our women leaders to study community development projects and cooperatives at international level, so that they could return and assist our poorest people to begin producing enough food. Food security has always been a concern for my Party, and more so now that food prices are skyrocketing across South Africa.

 

I know that times are tough, and getting tougher. Here in Ntambanana, we are trying to do as much as we can with the little we have to alleviate the burden of daily living. We recognize that the community is not able pay for services like refuse removal, and this function is therefore performed at no cost. We are not going to say that if you can't pay, you can't receive the service. What we do say is that governance is a partnership and as we work together we will be able to uplift Ntambanana beyond its present circumstances.

 

There is tremendous need in this community, but there is also a tremendous spirit of goodwill. It is wonderful to be among people who still have hope because of the love you have for South Africa. We share that hope for the future because we are convinced that our people deserve more and can have more.

 

As a leadership, we need more support so that we can lobby government even at a national level to pay more attention to municipal governance. There is no point in the ruling Party flaunting the work it is doing at national level to try to prove its success. What is it doing here, at local level, where services are actually delivered? What is it achieving here with the little bit of money it deigns to allocate to local government?

 

Empowering local government with greater resources goes against the ideals of the ANC, because they believe in centralising power at the top. But the IFP believes in creating strong, open, efficient municipalities that work for you. The candidates who are asking for your vote on the 18th of May have all taken a pledge of integrity and responsiveness to this community. I want to tell you what they have promised, so that you can hold them accountable.

 

In terms of their pledge, you can expect your IFP councillor to be a person of integrity, to be open with you, to be fair and include you in decision-making, to be accountable to you and available at all times. Our councillors take your concerns seriously. We will treat you with dignity and respect, because we are working for you and with you.

 

We believe in bringing municipal governance closer to you. We will empower you to participate in decisions that are made, by closely linking your councillors to you in their daily work. We will never dictate to our people from Pretoria. We live and work alongside you, tackling the real problems together. The IFP believes you have the right to receive any information you require about your municipality and your council.

 

IFP led municipalities promote openness in all they do. We believe that tenders should be public so that you know precisely who gets how much for what service. We feel that any potential conflict of interest between employees and councillors should be made public. Every Rand must be spent in a way that improves your community and municipality. The IFP is therefore intent on stopping waste, mismanagement and corruption. We prioritise spending on infrastructure and basic services, like water and electricity.

 

These are the promises our candidates have made. They are not pie in the sky promises of positions, tenders, jobs and money. They are practical statements of partnership and service that we are well equipped to fulfil, because they are already part of our identity. We have proven over 35 years that we are capable of fulfilling our promises, and we intend to keep doing it for the community of Ntambanana.

 

It gives me great pleasure to see the tangible results of all our hard work as we hand over these few goods to the community. Once again I thank all those who have made this possible, and I thank the community of Ntambanana for welcoming us here today. It really is all about you.