It's not a two-horse election - IFP's Buthelezi

2016-06-24 15:33
(Jenni Evans, News24)

Cape Town - August's municipal election is not a two horse-race between the ANC and the DA, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said at the launch of the party's manifesto in the Western Cape.

"Many people feel trapped between a rock and a hard place, as though there is no alternative to voting for one or the other of the major players," he told about 300 people gathered at the historic Community Hall in Salt River, Cape Town.

He said democracy was not power for the loudest voice, but to empower a party a voter could trust.

The IFP is usually associated with KwaZulu-Natal but has decided to contest the forthcoming local government elections in the province. It has established six branches in the province.

Buthelezi said historical voting patterns have kept the IFP on the periphery in the province, but a committed group of local organisers had worked to grow support there.

Candidates from Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Langa, Nyanga and Strand were presented to those gathered and took a pledge to forward the ideals of the party, which Buthelezi said included non-violence, anti-corruption and service to the people.

Rousing welcome

"The thing is, if you want change you can't keep doing the same thing over and over. If you want a different kind of leadership in your community, you need to break out of the old mould and create new patterns of voting."

He received a rousing welcome when he arrived with MPs Narend Singh, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who also leads the youth brigade, and Liezl van der Merwe. He had to be helped up the steps, and swayed his arms from side to side as the gathering sang in welcome.

He preceded his speech with an introduction into his own political history.

He traced his background as a former ANC Youth League member who was expelled while at the University of Fort Hare, and said that although former ANC president Oliver Tambo was reluctant to admit it in public, the two got on well. He said Tambo had helped him make contacts on the sidelines while he was seeking financial support to establish the IFP.

He said he took up the post of chief minister of KwaZulu-Natal during the apartheid era while still a cadre of the ANC and on the instruction of his leaders.

"Even our [IFP and ANC] colours are the same colours, but we added two colours - the blood of the marchers who died during our liberation and the white of peace because we are non-violent," he said.

'Giant slayers'

"I thought I should give the young people some background... of where we come from as an organisation," he said.

Buthelezi lauded the spirit of goodwill and resilience of the people of the Western Cape.

"Our people have endured so much and we thought that in 1994 that was the end of our tribulations," he said.

"And I must remind myself that we have already overcome a giant, apartheid. That makes us giant slayers. And if we can do that, surely we can slay the giants of unemployment, poverty."

He said he would not promise the earth.

He blamed the ANC for recent protests, such as the prolonged protests in Tshwane.

'Faeces won't solve tik problem'

"All the fires that are burning are caused by members of the ANC who are dissatisfied with the ANC. We are in a serious crisis."

He added that drastic measures like throwing faeces, "will not get our children off tik".

Changing society took committed work between councillors, MPs and communities, continued Buthelezi.

He criticised ANC supporters who allegedly prevented at least 120 IFP supporters from getting to the meeting "in a most undemocratic fashion".

"I think it must be investigated and stopped. I thank God no one was hurt, but make no mistake damage was done to our democracy.

"No one will keep us from spreading the message of hope."

Read more on: ifp  |  mangosutho buthelezi  |  cape town  |  local elections 2016