Polokwane - Corruption, maladministration, and incompetence are bringing South Africa to its knees, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on Saturday.
South Africans were worried about the future, the rising cost of living, the failing economy, the pervasiveness of crime, the scarcity of jobs, and about the leadership that was supposed to serve them, Buthelezi told an IFP elections rally at the Polokwane Civic Centre in Limpopo.
"We are worried that our country is headed for disaster, because every time we turn on the radio or read a newspaper there is another scandal of corruption," he said.
The present culture of corruption had created disrespect for the rule of law. No wonder society was becoming more violent and more dangerous. No society could achieve its full potential while its people lived in fear. Development was only possible when individual rights and liberties were secured. Thus safety and security, and access to justice, had to be guaranteed. South Africans had to feel safe and be safe.
For years people believed that South Africa was different; that the country was immune to the culture of corruption that seemed to pervade other countries. "When we talked about government corruption, people tended to talk about Zimbabwe, Somalia, or Sudan," he said.
"But now, when we look at the global corruption Index, we are confronted with the terrible truth that South Africa is firmly in the clutches of the monster of corruption. Just last month the former minister of finance in Zimbabwe Mr Tendai Biti, said this: 'Zimbabwe invented state capture. But South Africa perfected it'.
"We are confronted not only with commissions of inquiry, but with investigative journalism that exposes the depth of the rot in the ruling party – the party that administers governance in our country. Books like 'Gangster State' which focusses on the ruling party’s secretary general, are exposing the web of corruption that has entangled their leaders," Buthelezi said.
Corruption, maladministration, and incompetence were bringing South Africa to its knees. The question was, what was to be done? To change the daily experience of hardship and injustice, it was necessary to restore integrity to the governance of the country. Only when leader who could be trusted were administering honest governance, things would begin to change in schools, on the streets, in the economy, and in the newspapers.
"Fortunately, this is not impossible to achieve. In fact, it is within our reach, because a national and provincial election gives us all the chance to change our country’s leadership. We need to think wisely about the coming election. There is no point in complaining and protesting against government failures, and then voting for the very party that failed you. It is time for change.
"On the 8th of May the electorate will be faced with an extraordinarily long ballot paper. When you go to the polls that day, you will have a choice of 48 parties, all of which are eager to gain your vote. But among the many choices, there is only one that can say what the IFP is saying. Trust Us. This is the IFP’s message for 2019. It is simple and it is clear. We are the party you can trust. You can trust us to restore integrity to governance, because the IFP’s leadership is honest. Our message is backed by a track record of clean governance, service excellence, and established partnerships," Buthelezi said.
There were, unfortunately, demagogues in the political arena who were capitalising on the biggest fears, anger, and frustration of the people to drive a campaign of hatred.
This could not heal the country. It could not save South Africa. There was only one path out of the crisis. "Restore integrity to governance. Empower leaders you can trust. Vote for those who build and grow and unite. This will bring change to our country; the kind of change that we all long to see. It is time to build social justice and economic justice through the ballot box," Buthelezi said.