IFP Rally In Nquthu
Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party


 

 

Nquthu: 30 October 2011

 

It is good to be in Nquthu, with people who love South Africa. I thank you for welcoming the IFP here today and for coming to share a time of reflection on matters that affect you and me. We have come to Nquthu to talk about the election results earlier this year, what they meant for our future and what they are delivering right now. I have also come to thank you for your support for the IFP, both at the polls and throughout the storms of treachery the IFP faced since 2009.

 

There are many people in Nquthu who were not swayed by the lies, propaganda and chaos sown by the "Friends of VZ" as they sought to elevate Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi to the helm of our Party. Even as their plans began to unravel and Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi was forced to show her hand, you did not lose direction. When she left the IFP and became the self-appointed leader of the new National Freedom Party, the community of Nquthu was not fooled into following.

 

Now you can say, as I say, thank God for cool-headedness in the midst of the fire. For there are many people who followed the "Friends of VZ" cohorts into the NFP, only to discover that the NFP was nothing new. It was not a fresh start. It was not a better deal. It was not a viable alternative. In fact, it was nothing more than what I warned it would be. Its formation was fuelled with ANC money and its future was tied to the ANC.

 

I warned that there was collusion between Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi and the leaders of the ANC in this Province, led by the ANC leader of the Province Dr Zweli Mkhize and National Minister Tokyo Sexwale.  When a suggestion was made by the IFP that the NFP must talk to the IFP concerning so many hung municipalities after the local government elections, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi and the leaders of the NFP demanded that we should as a precondition for talking to us withdraw the statements that I made before and during local government elections that the NFP was in cahoots with the ANC. And yet in the presence of Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi and leaders of the ANC there was a dramatization of the political marriage between the NFP and the ANC in Ulundi when a couple in wedding attire was paraded in Ulundi.  That was to stress that their political marriage was sealed. And the ructions that have now taken place almost in all municipalities where the NFP and the ANC are in a coalition have been caused by the reluctance of former members of the IFP to work with the ANC Councillors.

 

Many of those who left us and went to the NFP have come back home. Even people within the NFP support the IFP. But I am grateful that here, in Nquthu, political allegiance is more stable. You were not tricked. You were not fooled. You never left the party of integrity to chase the fleeting dream of the NFP. Sadly, those who did, woke up to the cold reality of an NFP/ANC alliance.

 

The May 18 Local Government Elections left KwaZulu Natal with 19 hung municipalities. 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, however, was an ANC takeover. 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.

 

Of course, 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, 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.

 

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. 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 also 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.

 

There are rumblings of change to come wherever I go in South Africa. Where once the ANC seemed to be a rock that could not be moved, it is now showing cracks and fissures that could shatter the ruling party. There are points of vulnerability that could cost the ANC dearly as it faces its conference and its centennial. The cracks in the ANC-NFP alliance began to show the moment the alliance was formed, but they continue to grow. So too does the discontent of our citizens, who have been promised much, but given too little.

 

Something has to give. We are sitting on a powder keg of social and political upheaval. This much is clear from the march on Thursday that split the ANC and its alliance partners, COSATU and the SACP, on the issue of nationalization and land expropriation. These issues may very well be the hammer and chisel that finally shatter the cracked ANC. It is obvious that investor confidence means little to the ANC Youth League. A message like that, emanating from within the ruling Party's structures, is damaging to South Africa's economic prospects.

 

I have taken a firm stand against the nationalization of our mines since this debate opened. There is no reason to believe that government could do a better job at running the mining industry than private organizations. In fact, every industry run by government has suffered losses and continues to operate at a loss, including Denel and South African Airways. There is no reason to believe that nationalizing mines will bring any benefit to ordinary South Africans.

 

This has just not been thought through. It is an easy-to-sell slogan that the ANC Youth League is feeding impoverished, unemployed, disillusioned people. They are taking advantage of vulnerable South Africans. That is why so much is said about "economic freedom in our lifetime", while nothing is said about how this harebrained plan of nationalization would work.

 

Where would the money come from to buy out the current shareholders? Or is Mr Julius Malema suggesting that mines be expropriated without compensation the same way he believes land should be taken without permission? These are dangerous ideas that can not only spark disinvestment, but social divisions and political splits.

Not everyone is fooled by the ANC's bravado. It is clear to any thinking South African that all is not well in South Africa, and shouting a few controversial slogans is not going to change anything for the better. Change demands political will and courage. It demands integrity and a commitment to right action. These things are lacking in the ruling party. But they are the hallmark of the IFP. Our supporters know this. The community of Nquthu knows it. Even the NFP knows it is true.

 

Perhaps that is why we saw the municipality of Mtubatuba being taken away from the ANC and given to the IFP last week, by none other than the ANC's alliance partner, the NFP. NFP councillors voted to install an IFP Mayor and an IFP Deputy Mayor in Mtubatuba, and they claimed it was the will of the people. On 20 October the Daily News reported one NFP councillor as complaining that the ANC continually undermined them in their alliance and even called them "puppets". That is a name the NFP particularly detests.

 

But it speaks volumes about where the NFP stands on the political landscape. Its presence is tolerated by the ANC because it serves their purposes. The leader of the NFP knows that she cannot afford a repeat of Mtubatuba, or of Umlalazi, where NFP councillors also defied their alliance and voted IFP. I have no doubt she will rein in her councillors. But there will always be a question mark over where their hearts really lie. The same happened at Mtshezi. It does seem as if there is no love lost between the NFP Councillors and their chosen partner the ANC.  The complaint is that the leader of the NFP sealed this political marriage of convenience without consulting members of her Party. Whatever the leadership of the NFP do in cracking the whip to those NFP Councillors who are so disillusioned with the so-called coalition between them and the ANC, all these storms tell us that the political marriage of convenience is unstable.

 

We cannot gloat over these circuses in the NFP. We should not waste our time ridiculing them.  As I have said while they have a message of instability for us in the ANC/NFP coalition, the leadership is doing all they can to rein in the revolting NFP Councillors. We have the challenge of working flat out for a successful National Conference. We need everyone of you to ensure that you have renewed your membership fees and that we get credible delegates to our National Conference.

 

There is no such question mark over Nquthu. On May 18th many of you went to the polls to vote for the IFP. Against the odds, the IFP maintained support in several places, because - even through the valley - the legacy of the IFP was enough to sustain hope. We weathered this storm, as we have weathered many storms before it. And we emerged stronger.

 

As the President of the IFP, 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.

 

You were not alone. 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.

 

What all of this means is 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.

 

We suffered a setback in May this year, but we were not defeated. And now our fighting spirit is back. There is no question that South Africa still needs the IFP. There is no question that our people want us to keep going, gain ground and become stronger. With that groundswell of support, we will engage our upcoming elective conference as a watershed moment. It will be the moment to determine where we go from here.

 

There is no option to stand still. The only way is forward. I urge you to find your fighting spirit and join us again as we push forward. The IFP is the voice of opposition; opposition to corruption, opposition to empty politics, opposition to greed. We are the voice calling for integrity among our country's leaders, stricter financial controls in our municipalities, and the opening of opportunity for all South Africans to become self-reliant.

 

I support social grants, and was the first to extend them as the Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government. But I know there is more dignity in work. People fare better both psychologically and physically when they are able to meet their own needs. For this reason, I have always advocated self-help and self-reliance. I have championed education as a means to liberation, and subsistence farming as a means to achieve food security. For all the talk about development, South Africa remains a welfare state. That is not a sustainable situation.  Today we have more than 13 million people who receive social grants. This is unfortunately unsustainable.

 

There are steps we need to take as a country to move from the path of greater debt, greater poverty and greater sorrow, onto the path of social and economic freedom. Slogans won't get us there. It is going to take a leadership of principle and experience. The IFP can bring that leadership to the table. We will not wait to be invited. The electorate has already demanded our presence.  Many in the electorate, particularly here in this Province, have not forgotten what the IFP government achieved with so little in the erstwhile KwaZulu Government.  We did not spend time crying over the shoe-string budget that the KwaZulu Government was given by Pretoria; we implemented our belief in self-help and self-reliance.

 

As we become the voice of opposition, may South Africa triumph. I thank you for supporting the IFP.