2014/03/02 DURBAN. IFP President Mangosuthu Buthelezi. PICTURE: SIYANDA MAYEZA

Durban - President Jacob Zuma was the worst leader since 1994, but the IFP could still save the country from crime, a lack of services and violent protests, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said in Durban on Sunday.

The veteran politician, who was speaking at the launch of his party’s election manifesto, also reflected on his time in government.

The former KwaZulu homeland ruler made 50 promises – all on how he would change the country for the better.

Buthelezi, 85, sat on a tall chair in the sun as he addressed the cheering crowd, which filled more than half of the King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi.

His supporters arrived armed with sticks and some carried spears.

A security officer said one man allegedly stabbed a woman in the back by accident with a spear as he was doing a traditional dance. He escaped into the crowd before he could be caught.

“Shots were also fired as a group of warriors entered the stadium,” he said.

Buthelezi’s promises focused on improving services, education, health, justice and creating employment.

To appease rural voters, he said, if given a chance, he would take good care of the traditional leaders and train them appropriately.

“Protests across the country prove that people don’t believe (the) government can perform even the most basic function. Incompetence, financial mismanagement and dishonestly are compromising service delivery,” said Buthelezi.

He said he was shocked by Zuma’s State of the Nation address when the president played down the causes of service protests.

During apartheid, Buthelezi was the prime minister of KwaZulu and, after 1994, was the democratic government’s minister of home affairs for 10 years.

“I sought Inkosi (Albert) Luthuli’s guidance on servant leadership, faith and the art of creating social cohesion.

“Throughout 60 years in politics and public life I have learnt from men and women of integrity, from patriots and honest leaders. And I have taught these same values and lessons to young leaders in the IFP,” he said.

On the economy, Buthelezi promised to:

* Make labour laws flexible to boost employment.

* Prevent labour unions from holding the economy to ransom.

* Create tax incentives for companies opening business in rural areas.

* Ensure raw materials were processed and not exported.

He said he would train police to have respect for human rights and also decentralise the police management.

Buthelezi said that, as a result of cadre deployment, two police commissioners, Jackie Selebi and Bheki Cele, had been fired for corruption.

He said an IFP government would depoliticise the provision of services, take harsh action against incompetent public servants, give harsh sentences for corruption and constantly monitor municipal managers’ performance.

Voting for any other opposition party, Buthelezi said, would be a waste of a “precious vote”.

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The Mercury