The African National Congress has never been weaker or more divided than now and its prospects of electoral success on August 3 have never been worse, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on Saturday.
Addressing an IFP municipal election rally in President Jacob Zuma’s hometown, Nkandla, which is governed by the IFP, the veteran leader said the IFP knew the kind of competition it faced.
“We know how desperate our opponents are to take Nkandla away from the IFP, but we also know the strength of the partnership between the IFP and Nkandla. It’s a partnership build on trust, and it won’t easily be shaken. We are not prepared to hand the reins to people who care more about power than service,” he said.
“Losing Nkandla had been a blow to the ANC. Losing their president’s hometown to the IFP chaffed at their pride and they set their sights on taking back power. The campaign for 2016 had thus been fierce, not only there, but across South Africa. “Because the governing party has never been weaker or more divided, and its prospects of electoral success have never been worse,” Buthelezi said.
“Of course we know that a desperate animal fights the hardest, so we have not been complacent. The IFP has been vigilant in every by-election, and we will be vigilant on August 3, because we know that our opponents are not above using dirty tricks to manipulate the electoral outcome.
“I am not just slating the ANC for the sake of it. I am telling you what has happened in every election since 1994. There have consistently been incidents of electoral fraud, vote buying, abuse of state resources, brown envelope journalism, intimidation, and violence. This campaign, in particular, has been characterised by violence within the ANC against their own councillors and councillor candidates.
“So we need to be aware that this election is going to be tough. I urge you to be vigilant next Wednesday. When you go to your voting station, keep your eyes open for anything that seems amiss. If you see people voting who don’t live in your ward, report it. If you see posters being vandalised, tell our party agents. If you see people being intimidated, speak to the police. Don’t keep silent if you know that something is wrong. We need to protect the integrity of this election and ensure that it is free and fair, because only then will your voice be heard and respected,” he said.
“There is, unfortunately, mounting evidence that the ANC no longer respects the voice of the people. Everywhere we look there are protests against an ANC-led government, because people are frustrated and angry at not being heard. People who have voted for the ANC for years are taking to the streets and burning tyres. They’re burning schools and factories. They’re protesting on university campuses and marching to the steps of Parliament. They’re shutting down cities, looting shops and destroying property. Why? Because they’ve been disrespected, ignored and forgotten.
“These protests are not just about poor service delivery. Many have been about the ANC’s candidates’ lists for next Wednesday’s election, because communities have rejected the leaders foisted on them by the ruling party. The IFP does things differently. When we choose candidates for elections, we go to our branches. We ask our members who they trust, who listens and works to meet their needs. We get names of good leaders from our communities, and then choose the best candidate from among them.
“Thus, when you vote for an IFP candidate, you are voting for people you already know and trust. You are voting for leaders who live by the IFP’s values of servant leadership, integrity and people first. We hold all our councillors accountable, every day, for the full five years of their service. We continually check that they are meeting your needs, that they are responsive, available and working hard. And we give them our full support, so that you get the benefit,” Buthelezi said.
– African News Agency (ANA)