Johannesburg - A revolution is sorely needed in the South Africa of 2014, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi
said on Tuesday evening.
"It starts on university campuses, with thinkers and doers, with people of passion and action. It starts with your vote," he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the University of Zululand.
"The power is yours. Don't let anyone tell you that the power belongs in the hands of politicians. It doesn't. It belongs in your hands, and you are the ones who decide who should lead our country."
The Inkatha Freedom Party leader suggested that while the African National Congress may be the ruling party, they were not leaders.
"Leaders don't allow the police to fire on striking mineworkers. Leaders don't promise half a million jobs, then lose a million instead. They don't give tenders to their cousins," he said.
"They don't build RDP houses that fall down within a year. They don't accuse you of stealing from the state if you draw a social grant, but don't vote the way they want you to. Leaders don't bribe you to vote for them."
Rather, real leaders worked to earn others support, earned others trust and kept serving them even after elections.
"We struggled for generations to secure the right to choose our own leaders. Now that we have that right, we must use it to choose leaders worthy of our support," Buthelezi said.‘Grossly irresponsible’
He then moved onto the Sidikiwe Vukani! Vote No" campaign, initiated by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils
and former health deputy minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge
The campaign aimed at getting struggle activists and others not to vote for the ANC, or at least spoil their vote.
"These stalwarts of the ruling party have recognised that something has fundamentally changed in the ruling party," Buthelezi said.
"Something has gone rotten. They are asking South Africans to withhold their vote for the ruling party, as a protest against the depth of corruption that has infected it at every level."
However, Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge were making a mistake by asking others to spoil their ballot, which effectively meant they were saying do not vote.
"That is a grossly irresponsible message. We would be shooting ourselves in the foot if we didn't give South Africa a better alternative. We must vote," said Buthelezi.
"We have the right to vote, hard-won, through a struggle that cost many lives. It is an insult to the sacrifice of leaders like Bishop Alphaeus Zulu, Mr Walter Sisulu and Inkosi Albert Luthuli if we fail to choose our leaders through the ballot box."
Buthelezi said out of the 200 municipalities in South Africa, only nine had received a stamp of approval from the auditor general for well managed finances.
"Why are the finances in almost every single municipality in our country in such a parlous state?
"Undoubtedly, we need to fire some people from government. But a spoilt ballot won't do that. More importantly, a spoilt ballot won't put in place the right people for the job. It won't change anything. It is just a lost vote."
He urged those in attendance to vote for the IFP, as the party understood that it existed to serve the needs of the public.
"We listen when you speak and we act on your behalf, in partnership with you, to bring solutions. We are a strong opposition, holding a failing government to account."
The general elections will take place on 7 May.