We will not enter coalitions with the ANC - IFP

Velenkosini Hlabisa says it will also not enter into agreement with parties that support racism, or which are tainted by corruption

On the Results of the 2021 Local Government Elections

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the media, for joining us today as we unpack the results of the 2021 Local Government Elections and what these results mean for the IFP.

As you can imagine, we are pleased and humbled by the exceptional performance of the IFP, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal. It confirms the strong partnership of trust that we have built with the people. While we have good reason to celebrate our electoral success, the time for celebrating must be short-lived. Because we know how much needs to be done, we will waste no time in getting to work.

From the onset, I want to thank the people of South Africa, the voters, who heard the IFP’s message and responded to it on November 1st by giving us their support and their vote. I want to make it clear that we do not take these votes lightly. We understand that South Africa has hit rock bottom and that every vote for the IFP was an appeal for change; an appeal for a leadership that our people can trust.

As the President of the IFP, I would like to express our deep appreciation to the IFP’s Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP, for allowing us to honour his legacy in this campaign.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was not a mere figurehead in this election. He worked incredibly hard, taking our message of hope to the electorate. We are humbled by the energy and time that he gave to this campaign. It was an inspiration to many of our leaders and structures, urging us to keep going and to do more. I therefore want to thank Prince Buthelezi, on behalf of the IFP, because the good results are in large part due not only to his contribution, but to the brand that he built over so many years.

It is a brand that we, as the leadership of the IFP, are proudly taking forward. Many of our leaders, at all levels, worked tremendously hard, and we are sincerely grateful. I know that many of our staff, organisers, officials and councillor candidates saw very little of their families during the past month. I thank them all, not just for their commitment, but for doing it with such obvious belief in the IFP’s importance to the future of good governance.

Above all we thank God for a peaceful election that took place in the midst of the threat of the Covid-19. We will render our service both to God and His people of South Africa.

I therefore make a commitment today that the IFP will honour every vote, providing ethical leadership and servant leadership, to secure good governance, wherever we have been asked to govern. To ensure that we do this, within 14 days after the inauguration of all new Municipal Councils, we will be entering into performance agreements with all our Mayors which will focus on the implementation of the ten point plan contained in the IFP’s 2021 Local Government Manifesto.

After the first 100 days in office, the performance of every Mayor will be monitored and reviewed against this Agreement. If any one of them has failed to perform, the IFP will not hesitate to withdraw him or her. We have no intention of coming to you in 2024 to apologise for our poor performance and to ask you for another chance. Complacency and mediocre services will not be tolerated. Good and competent governance is what people need. We will give the electorate every reason to believe in the IFP’s solid record of integrity and good governance.

We will honour every vote as a way of saying thank you for putting your trust in us.

Having received such strong support, the IFP will now be expanding our work of improved service delivery. Particularly here in KwaZulu-Natal, where we serve as the strongest opposition to the ruling Party, the IFP intends making a powerful impact on the way things are done.

We are serious about running clean municipalities. In all the Municipalities where we will take over to govern, the IFP will be doing an audit of current contracts and appointments, to ensure that they meet with all regulatory standards. Where necessary, we will recruit efficient Municipal Managers and CFOs who will assist our Political Office Bearers to run clean governance. Jobs for pals is out. Tender fraud is out. Mismanagement and wasteful expenditure are definitely out. Consequence management will be the order of the day. We will not tolerate a hint of corruption.

Because this is a fundamental principle of the IFP, we will not compromise when it comes to cooperation with other parties. There is an unavoidable need for coalitions and cooperation, necessitated by hung municipalities. There is no way for these municipalities to begin working unless parties form coalitions. We will not get into coalitions for the sake of coalitions.

Accordingly, the IFP’s National Council met yesterday and established a team to begin coalition talks. This team is led by our Chairperson of the National Campaign Committee, the Hon. Mr Narend Singh MP, who is joined by the Chairperson of the Daily Management Committee and KZN Provincial Chairperson, Hon. Councillor Thami Ntuli, our National Spokesperson, the Hon. Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP, and our Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, the Hon. Mr Bonginkosi Dlamini MPL.

This team will be engaging all parties who have reached out to us to discuss coalitions. Let me be upfront, where we will govern as a leading party we will not enter into a coalition with the ANC, because they have not been honest with us in the past. They have let down the people of South Africa and the voters expressed themselves clearly against the ANC.

In due course, once all negotiations are complete – as many parties are approaching us – we will provide feedback so that everyone will be clear on the IFP’s position. I can already tell you, however, that we have two firm non-negotiables. We will not enter any cooperation agreement with a party that advocates or supports racism. Neither will we enter any cooperation agreement with a party clouded by controversies of corruption and municipal mismanagement.

Our aim is to provide the best level of service possible and to do so with absolute integrity.

The next few years will be the building blocks on which the IFP establishes our position in 2024. We intend taking back the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in the next national and provincial elections. And we believe that the electorate is ready to walk this path with us, to restore integrity to governance.

As this is a path forged by the IFP’s Founder, we thank all South African compatriots for partnering with the IFP in its mission of re-building our communities. We are sober and understand the huge responsibility the voters placed on our shoulders. We will not disappoint the voters. We will make our municipalities centres of excellence and deliver quality services to our people. This is the promise and commitment we make.

I thank you.

Statement by the Hon. Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL, President of the Inkatha Freedom Party and Leader of the Official Oppositon in KwaZulu-Natal, 7 November 2021