IN FULL: Velenkosini Hlabisa's IFP manifesto speech

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Velenkosini Hlabisa delivered the keynote speech at the party's manifesto launch for the 1 November local government elections.

The IFP leadership at the launch of the party's election manifesto on 30 September 2021. Picture: @IFPinParliament/Twitter

Patriots and all who seek the good governance of South Africa, good evening. I recognise the protocol and all our guests but in particular the President Emeritus of the IFP, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

It is the IFP’s historic mission from inception 46 years ago to pursue the liberation of the oppressed, dispossessed and vulnerable of our country. We exist to serve.

Tonight, as we present our manifesto for the 2021 Local Government Elections, we recommit ourselves as the IFP to ensure that political freedom translates into social and economic justice.

We will take South Africa forward through service delivery, dignity, self-help and self-reliance the collective dreams, hopes and aspirations of those we serve; the People!

Our beautiful country has the people and the potential to be the country of our dreams.

We have proven that we are resilient and capable. We are a people of vast creativity and we boast a wealth of natural resources. South Africa should, by all accounts, have a strong economy, a thriving workforce and a leadership that truly serves.

Tragically, this is not the case. For millions of families across our country, the dream is an absolute nightmare. And at the root of every problem we face is the reality of corruption, mismanagement and dishonesty among those who hold political power. Our country is suffering because of its government. There is no way around this simple fact.

Without intervention from patriots and people of integrity, South Africa is not going to survive. Our greatest hope as we stand on the precipice is in a leadership strong enough to take on the ruling party and place South Africa back on a path of growth, stability and peace. We need a leadership that is trustworthy; a leadership that represents all of South Africa’s people; a leadership that has already proven its ability to govern, not rule.

That leadership is the leadership of the IFP.

I am proud today to present the IFP’s Manifesto for the 2021 Local Government Elections. The IFP is a powerful voice in South Africa. Not only do we serve in the national Parliament, as a voice of reason; we are also the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal and we govern municipalities. We are, therefore, the strongest alternative to the ruling party for true service delivery.

In terms of numbers, the IFP is the fourth largest political party in South Africa. But we are effectively the third largest, because we are one of only three parties that actually governs.

The IFP governs at municipal level, where we administer both local and district municipalities. It is here that our fresh track record of good governance makes the IFP the best possible option in 2021. The IFP not only offers solutions; the IFP is the solution.

As I go through the IFP’s election manifesto, you will hear something different to what you have heard from the other major parties. Unlike those who tell you what they will do if you give them your vote, the IFP is here to tell you what we have done, as a demonstration of what we can, and will do. Our manifesto is a record of what we already do and what we have done, because we believe that a party’s track record is the truest indication of its character.

When other parties tell you, “We will do this” or “We will do that”, there is often no reason to believe them, because for years and years they haven’t done what they constantly promise to do. It is this string of broken promises that has placed our country on a downward spiral.

In 1994 you heard them say, “We will create jobs.” In 1999 they said, “We will create jobs.” In 2004, in 2009, in 2011, in 2014, in 2016, 2019 and now again in 2021, they are promising you, “We will create jobs.” But what have they delivered? The highest unemployment rate ever.

With every election we hear promises of renewal, of rooting out corruption, of turning the tide and creating safer communities. But what they have created is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, particularly for women and children.

Our communities are terrorised by criminals. Young women are fearful of walking alone. Our children cannot safely play in the streets. Small businesses are targeted. Each quarter, we see the crime statistics creeping upwards, and we hear endless excuses from those in charge. It seems they have forgotten that each percentage point represents real people. How many more must lose their lives or suffer severe trauma?

We disagree with Police Minister, Bheki Cele’s stance that the lockdown regulations have had a significant impact on our police and crime trends. Crime Statistics have for many years, before Covid-19, shown a substantial rise in key priority crimes and Government’s response has lacked focus, strategy and implementation.

It pains me to know that South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries for women and children to live in. This is our country. These are our people. And they are being hurt and slaughtered. This must be stopped.

When faced by the silent and invisible enemy of Covid-19, the ruling party mobilised South Africa’s resources. Why then, do they struggle to mobilise resources and protect South Africans against very real and visible criminals?

That being said – the Covid-19 mobilisation presented another window of opportunity for unscrupulous officials and ruling party politicians to line their pockets. The PPE procurement corruption was so widespread that the Special Investigating Unit was tasked to step in. Thousands of PPE contracts - worth R14.2 billion – were flagged for investigation.

Patriots, the IFP is always of the first to call out the ruling party when officials are found to have flouted regulations – whether it be at a national, provincial, or municipal level. In February this year, when residents in all 10 wards of Umhlatuze Local Municipality went on strike due to service delivery failures, it was the IFP that stepped up. We called for an urgent investigation into corruption at the Municipality. It was also the IFP who called for calm, and for residents to protest within the boundaries imposed by the law.

Last year, it was the IFP who flagged the procurement of 48 000 blankets by the ruling party-led KZN Department of Social Development, at a total cost of R22 million. Based on our constant pressure in the Legislature, an investigation was set up. When the forensic report was released and criminal charges were laid, it was impossible for the Department to avoid suspending officials. Nevertheless, the money was lost and the blankets never reached people in need.

It is tragic that under the ruling party reports of corruption scandals have become so commonplace that they no longer shock South Africa. It is also tragic – and unacceptable – that there is no consequence management. Officials get placed on paid “special leave”, or are recycled from one department to another. Few pay back the money, or face jail time.

For years, the IFP has been calling for a specialised corruption court, to deal with transgressions of the Public Finance Management Act, the Municipal Finance Management Act and other National Treasury Regulations, as well as with transgressions identified by the Auditor General. We will keep pushing for this so that in the end South Africa will see convictions, instead of endless commissions of enquiry and recommendation reports that are left to gather dust.

We could talk endlessly about the many, many failures and shortcomings of the ruling party. But in the end we need to talk solutions, because that is what our country deserves.

Let me therefore share with you the IFP’s 10-point manifesto plan that can change municipal governance throughout South Africa.

POINT 1 - THE IFP WILL LEAD WITH INTEGRITY

For 46 years, the IFP has served the people of South Africa. We have provided accountable and responsive governance. To ensure that all our councillors understand and abide by the IFP’s principle of servant leadership, we require of every candidate to sign a Contract of Good Governance.

Each one of our 2 570 candidates will be making the following pledge to you, the People of South Africa, before the November 1st elections –

      “I commit myself, as your Local Government representative,

to provide excellence in my service to the community.

      I commit –
To remain faithful to this contract;
To implement the promises we make in our manifesto;
To be free of corruption and to prevent corruption;
To ensure open, inclusive and participatory governance;
To serve my community to the best of my ability, utilising all the resources at our disposal;
To behave - both professionally and personally - in a manner that is always above reproach;
To be a person of integrity;
To be accountable;
To take your concerns seriously;
To treat you with dignity and respect;
To regularly consult with you and to report back;
To be the voice of the community in all Council meetings; and
To always work for and with you.
I hereby pledge to always honour, uphold, defend and protect the Constitution and all rights enshrined therein for all South Africans, and to maintain the Rule of Law in Local Government.
I commit myself to honour, uphold and defend the vision, mission and values of my party, the IFP.
I pledge to serve my community with the utmost integrity, to honour my duty, and to honour my promise to God and my country.”

By taking this pledge, our Candidates are committing to carry forward the legacy of our Party’s Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. He is a true servant leader. The IFP and the World is grateful to have the guidance of such an exemplary patriot.

POINT 2 - WE WILL EMPOWER PEOPLE

Across South Africa, 7.8 million people are unemployed. Under the ruling party, unemployment has reached a record high of 34.4%. Among the worst-hit, are our youth.

The IFP believes in the power of the youth to make a difference in their communities. We believe in creating opportunities for young people, and we don’t just pay lip-service to this commitment. We empower the youth in all our structures, not only to contribute as Members of the IFP Youth Brigade, but by giving them seats at all our tables.

The late Hon. Mthokozisi Nxumalo MP, our National Chairperson of the IFP Youth Brigade, was a great example and champion of IFP youth leading the way. Not only was he our Youth Brigade leader, but he represented the IFP as a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly. He was just one of the many young leaders that the IFP has nurtured and afforded the opportunity to serve our country. We still mourn his tragic passing.

The IFP is a party that believes in giving people a hand up. We believe in self-help and self-reliance, and equipping people to stand on their own feet. In communities where we govern, the IFP prioritises skills development and training. We provide bursaries to learners and students, to assist them in furthering their education.

Opportunities in each community must be developed to serve the people of that community. This includes women, the youth and persons with disabilities. Where we govern, the IFP prioritises South Africans for job and trade opportunities. Our belief is that South Africans must come first at all times.

Patriots, in this regard, local economic development is our key focus, through infrastructure development and maintenance, provision of water, electricity, roads and fibre; all these are key elements to create a conducive local environment for business and investment to create jobs where people are.

The IFP will prioritise localisation, industrialisation and beneficiation as key tools of creating jobs, and enhancing skills and expertise of young people to respond directly to needs of their respective local economies.

We believe in creating jobs where people are, to ease the pressure on cities that are bursting at their seams because of poor governance and lack of service delivery on one hand, and the revolving door of the rural-urban migration phenomenon on the other.

The IFP commits to keep empowering the people wherever we govern.

The IFP gets South Africa to work.

POINT 3 - WE WILL CREATE FOOD SECURITY

We know that every night millions of South Africans go to bed hungry. The ruling party has failed to prioritise food security, instead, making our people dependent on social grants that are far from sufficient to provide proper nutrition.

Where the IFP governs we support subsistence farmers by providing materials and equipment to promote local economic development. We develop cooperatives and assist emerging farmers, in particular projects led by women and youth.

Farm workers are a key component of food security, and the IFP prioritises their rights and needs. We support and promote the sustainable use of land; and ensure the necessary access to land.

The green economy in all its multiple facets is an apex priority for the IFP in ensuring food and job security. Moreover, the IFP intends to reposition agriculture in South Africa to compete favourably, and supply, regionally and internationally.

The IFP commits to keep ploughing into agriculture and land development wherever we govern.

POINT 4 - WE PARTNER WITH TRADITIONAL LEADERS

Traditional leaders across South Africa speak on behalf of millions of South Africans, yet the ruling party often ignores or muffles their voices.

The IFP recognises the role and importance of AmaKhosi in securing good governance. We therefore support and resource AmaKhosi, so that they can ensure that communities' needs are met.

It is common cause that with South Africa being a wall-to-wall, ward-based, municipal country, there are bound to be overlaps with traditional communities and leaders. This is an opportunity and strength wherein the interface of these two constitutional institutions of governance must work together, towards the betterment of the people. Traditional leaders and traditional institutions of governance must not play second fiddle in the developmental agenda.

The IFP commits to keep partnering with traditional leaders wherever we govern.

POINT 5 - WE MAKE COMMUNITIES SAFER

Patriots, gender-based violence is as much a pandemic as Covid-19. Yet there is no urgency or political will from the ruling party to fund or prioritise the fight against GBV.

The IFP Women’s Brigade and the IFP raise their voices in defence and support of the voiceless. We fight to strengthen law enforcement and to protect the survivors of GBV. We believe all should benefit from the support of social workers. Every community must have places of safety, and access to treatment centres and drug rehabilitation programmes.

We believe in the importance of well-resourced community policing forums, and are working to see the roll out of additional specialised law enforcement units to boost capacity. Gangs and syndicates cannot be allowed to terrorise our communities. Stricter border controls are also needed where our communities share borders with neighbouring countries. Cross-border crimes, and the movement of undocumented persons must be stopped.

IFP-led municipalities will prioritise the safety and plight of women, children and LGBTQIA+ persons through dedicated funding for provision of the required resources for crime prevention and victim support where the need arises.

The IFP believes South Africa’s justice system must be overhauled and restructured for the purposes of establishing Municipal Courts to deal with transgressions of a non-civil or criminal nature, to ease the burden on magistrates courts and other courts. This will ease the burden on our justice system and also allow municipalities to assert local justice consistent with the Constitution.

The establishment of municipal police services is a key priority for the IFP.

The IFP commits to keep making communities safer wherever we govern.

POINT 6 – WE WILL BUILD HOMES

Almost three decades after our first democratic elections, the promise of dignified housing for all has never been fulfilled. Yet the Constitution clearly states that “Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing.”

Where the IFP governs, we provide good quality, dignified housing to those in need, ensuring that houses are efficiently and fairly allocated. We also deliver – and will continue to deliver – roads and transport systems to connect communities.

Patriots, housing spatial planning will be refocused on ensuring citizen proximity and easy access to places of work, travel, road and rail, and other socio-economic amenities.

We also deliver – and will continue to deliver – roads, fix potholes, and upgrade gravel roads into blacktop roads, thereby connecting communities through the transport systems.

Human settlements run in tandem with access to land and economic activity.

POINT 7 - WE LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the glaring fault-lines in our health system. There are not enough clinics to serve communities. Our sick and elderly are often forced to travel long distances, and when they arrive at a clinic, they face long queues and shortages of essential medication.

The IFP is committed to providing well-equipped and professionally staffed clinics that are accessible to all. We champion proper training and investment in medical staff, especially in the nursing profession. In this way communities will be served, and much-needed employment opportunities created.

Basic access to primary healthcare will be enhanced by the provision of mobile municipal clinics, particularly in rural localities; this will also include the employing municipal nurses and health practitioners.

IFP-led municipalities will also invest in the provision of municipal ambulance services.

POINT 8 - WE PROVIDE CLEAN WATER

Again, the pandemic and 27 years of mismanagement exposed the daily water challenges faced by many communities. The ruling party made plans to provide water trucks and other quick-fixes, but these are merely short-term solutions, and we know that the delivery of water is riddled with corruption.

The IFP’s focus is on investing in infrastructure, ensuring infrastructure maintenance, and connecting households. We believe in long-term, sustainable solutions.

We will also make a concerted effort to prioritise fixing water leaks and drains, and ensuring functional sewage systems. This will also create jobs and maintain infrastructure.

This is why we support renewable energy projects. The IFP is a champion of conservation and a strong advocate for the protection of our natural resources. It was under the leadership of our Founder that South Africa’s first Department of Nature Conservation was established, even before democracy. Our fight on behalf of wildlife, particularly rhinos and elephants, is just one aspect of our fight for the environment.

The IFP commits to keep providing clean water and to keep working for the protection of the environment wherever we govern.

POINT 9 - WE LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE

Without electricity, families are left in the cold and in the dark, unable to prepare food. Businesses struggle to keep their doors open. Streets are not safe, and the benefits of technology cannot be accessed. Under the ruling party, since 2008, load-shedding has become a familiar facet of everyday life in South Africa. But this is unacceptable and can be fixed.

Patriots, the IFP prioritises getting electricity to homes and businesses, so that local economies can thrive. Our track record in the municipalities where we govern speaks of a leadership that knows how to manage resources well, and how to see projects through to completion.

Our next mission is to create free public wi-fi hubs in all our communities, to get everyone connected.

We are proud to announce the IFP led municipalities of AbaQulusi and Mthonjaneni have paid up their Eskom debt, which is a challenge in many municipalities that provide electricity directly to our people. Where the IFP governs, the IFP makes things happen.

The IFP commits to keep providing electricity to homes and businesses wherever we govern.

POINT 10 - WE BUILD THE NEXT GENERATION

Our children need safe spaces to grow, to learn and to thrive. This should be a priority for every South African. The IFP understands the importance of registered Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres. The children benefit, and parents can confidently go to work, pursue their studies or seek work. Sports fields are equally important to the welfare of older children, and give youth real hope for the future. This is why the IFP prioritises this infrastructure where we govern.

We also provide bursaries to poor learners, and prioritise sanitary dignity for indigent school girls. The IFP believes that each child must be given an opportunity to realise their full potential. It makes no sense, when our learners have lost so much class-time to Covid-19 lockdowns, that Government is now retrenching thousands of teachers.

We need a leadership that will do the right thing and make good decisions for our country.

The ten points I have outlined tonight encapsulate the IFP’s character and track record. There is every good reason to strengthen the IFP and to empower us in the 109 municipalities we will be contesting on November 1st.

Our track record of good governance speaks for itself. You can trust the IFP to deliver.

I ask you, therefore, to save South Africa by voting for a strong and trusted leadership.

VOTE IFP.

_Kubobonke abantu baseNingizimu ne-Afrika Iqembu le-IFP linikeza isiqiniseko sokuthi uma nivotele i-IFP nizobe nivotele uhulumeni wasekhaya ozobusa ngobuqotho, onobuholi ongabethemba. Uhulumeni ozoletha intuthuko ozoyithinta ngezandla uyibone ngamehlo: ugesi, amanzi ahlanzekile, imigwaqo, izindlu, ukuthuthwa kukadoti. Siqhubeka sisekele osomabhizinisi abancane, sakhe umnotho lapho abantu bakithi behlala khona ( Local Economic Development). Sizoqqubeka sithuthukise the informal traders sitshale imali kubo ukwenza umsebenzi wabo usimame. _

Sizothuthukisa ngamakhono intsha, abantu besifazane kanye nabantu abaphila nokukhubazeka. Sizoqhubeka nokweseka intsha yakithi kwezemfundo ngoba imfundo yisona sikhali senkululeko. Sizoqhubeka nokusebenzisana namakhosi. Sisebenzela wena. Sizotshala imali eningi kwezolimo ukuze abantu babe nokudla. Kuwo onke amathuba omsebenzi lapho siphethe khona siyoqasha abantu baseNingizimu ne-Afrika kuqala. Sinolwazi olunzulu ekuphatheni uHulumeni. Sethembe. Lapho esiphethe khona senza izinto zenzeke.

As I conclude, we will soon be distributing our provincial and district manifestos. In those documents you will see your own voice reflected, because you are a valued part of this family. On the 1st of November, let’s strengthen our partnership of trust. Vote IFP because the IFP works for you.

Today we stand, just 31 days from elections, and you have heard from all the major political parties. From our opponents, you have heard promises that will never be fulfilled. We know this because they have failed to deliver time and time again.

The IFP is not making empty promises. We are committing to continue our track record of service delivery and good governance. The IFP has been building this country for 46 years, and we intend to keep building. I invite you to join us. Let’s get South Africa to work!

Patriots, as I said in 2019, the letters “IFP” must individually and collectively mean I’m For People, I’m For Progress and I’m For Purpose. This is the brand we give the people of South Africa.

God bless you!