Like most of you, I grew up in this province. On the 4th of January 1965, I was born in Hlabisa. I spent my formative years surrounded by the mountains and hills of KwaZulu Natal. I grew up at Hlabisa and went to school there, and in Mtubatuba. After my studies at the University of Zululand and Unisa, I worked as a high school teacher for five years at Ngebeza High School and then as Principal of Somfula High School for twenty years.
I entered politics in 1978 when I joined the youth structure of Inkatha, which would become the IFP. I rose through the ranks of the IFP, learning to be led and to lead. I learned to be humble and to be a servant of each one of you, as I grew up with most of you and in front of you.
I know what poverty is and what it feels like. I know the heavy responsibility most of us have gone through when one has to carry and look after the family from an early age. My father passed on in 1990 when I was doing my third year. I resisted the temptation to leave University and go and work, although I was the first born in a family of ten children. I completed my junior degree in 1991 and on the 15th of January 1992, on the day schools opened, I began work as a teacher.
Sadly those days are gone when a graduate knew that the day they received their last examination results, was the beginning of the new era of being employed, able to support their family, and follow their dreams. Today, in the free South Africa, graduates and breadwinners are sitting at homes with no hope of finding work, and day by day their dreams fade away. The Government of the day does not have money to create more jobs. But that same Government watched a lot of money going out through the wrong door of State capture and corruption.
Corruption has ruined our country and it has ruined KwaZulu Natal. It has severely robbed us as citizens. This rot must stop now, and it is the people of our country and of the province of KwaZulu-Natal who must stand up and say enough is enough.
Because I grew up here in KZN, I know KZN, both then and now. I have served as a Local Government Councillor with a no break in service since 1995. Throughout these 24 years as a Councillor, I have been hands-on in the fight to change the lives of millions of our people and their hard daily reality. I remember KZN as a working Province, under the governance of the IFP, free of corruption and delivering efficient services. But I am also familiar with KZN under the ruling party, where moral decay, poor leadership, rising unemployment, crime and the failing education and health services have rendered our people desperate.
Now is the time for a change of Government in KwaZulu Natal. Now is the time for a government that can be trusted by the people of KZN, a government that will restore confidence and dignity to the people of this Province. Only the IFP can offer that government.
The Ten Point Plan To Turn Things Around In KZN
The IFP in KwaZulu Natal has a ten point plan to turn things around in this Province. We are sounding a clarion call to the people of KwaZulu Natal to join us in a partnership and collaborative effort to rescue this Province and “TO MAKE KZN WORK AGAIN”.
1. Creating a Crime Free Society: Violence and the fear of violence is having a devastating effect on our communities’ quality of life. The young, the elderly and the vulnerable remain at great risk. Thus the provision of public safety, security and access to justice is essential in ensuring a crime-free KwaZulu Natal.
No society can achieve its full potential while its people live in fear. Development is only possible when individual rights and liberties are secured. Thus safety and security, and access to justice, must be guaranteed. You must feel safe and be safe.
The IFP has therefore put together a workable plan which will address the safety and security of all our people. Professionalising the SAPS and reprioritising its budget in areas such as public order and visible policing is essential. This will improve accessibility to the Police and ensure that the SAPS is capacitated and better trained to do their work and assist vulnerable communities.
The IFP believes that the decentralisation of policing powers from national to provincial and local authorities will aid Provincial and Local governments to dispatch police in areas which are well known as crime hot-spots.
The creation of specialised courts and specialised police units to deal with corruption, sexual and gender-based violence, gangs and drugs will be one of the first orders of business. Government officials involved in corrupt activities will be blacklisted, prosecuted, and given severe sentences. The Assets Forfeiture Unit will be sent to recover stolen goods and stolen money. The Private Security Industry will be regulated. In order to fight crime, over and above being smart and building partnerships with communities, you must be TOUGH ON CRIME AND TOUGH ON CRIMINALS.
2. A Growing Economy: Poverty and inequality remain a key concern in KwaZulu Natal. We want to open up employment opportunities, reduce poverty, redress inequality and empower all families to enjoy the benefits of being able to create an income. It is shocking that this Province is the second largest contributor to the National GDP, and yet has the highest level of unemployment under the current government. KwaZulu Natal had two economic drivers which were Agriculture and Mining. Both have been neglected by the current government.
The IFP will champion SMME development and Local Economic Development, introduce tax incentives to encourage and attract foreign direct investments, invest in agriculture and tourism, remove unnecessary red-tape to allow and fast-track the opening of small businesses, create a Department of Youth and Job creation, introduce a Social Assistance Programme for unemployed graduates and job seekers, invest more in training Artisans and skilled youth such as welders, boiler makers, plumbers, mechanics, and electricians, and empower them with capital to start small business, and invest in innovation, research and development to stimulate new economic opportunities.
3. Access to Land: Our political democracy cannot thrive if the masses of our people remain without land or any perceptible prospects for a better life. The IFP champions the distribution of all unused land currently held by the State which will obviously need no one to be compensated. We want a land audit to identify all the land owned by people living abroad and to begin the process and negotiations for such land re-allocation. We believe in orderly acceleration of access to land and security of tenure, introducing agricultural training programmes in schools and re-opening colleges of agriculture to train our Youth, Women and Disabled people in agriculture and farming, in creating a partnership between prospective farmers and established Commercial Farmers for mentoring and induction, buying tractors, seeds and manure to support individual families, co-operatives, widows, female headed families and subsistence farmers to ensure food security
4. Free and Quality Education: Education is a necessary key for sustainable and effective development. The IFP demands a world-class education system in this Province. The IFP will implement a high quality e-learning education system to equip our learners for the fourth industrial revolution. We champion free education for all in public schools up to the 1st degree at a tertiary institution, and with no registration fee at tertiary level as is the case now. We will build more schools, repair aging infrastructure and replace pit toilets. We will provide scholar transport to all public schools, ensuring that local co-operatives receive first priority in providing to the School Nutrition Programme and doing away with the monopoly of the feeding scheme provided to one Service Provider for many different schools at the same time. We will provide better pay, accommodation and incentives for all teachers including Grade R teachers.
The IFP will monitor the intake of new teachers at tertiary levels while dealing with the already unemployed teachers by placing them as Teaching Assistants until they are fully absorbed, over a period not more than two years. We will enforce discipline and safety in schools, capacitate and improve technical schools, TVET and FET colleges, re-align the current unfair and biased PPN system, champion the supply and demand of relevant skills to cater for the job market and concentrate more on skilling of youth with artisans’ skills. We will review the 30% pass mark at high school as it has cost our country and youth a great deal, accelerating the drop-out rate at tertiary institutions.
5. The Social Care Package – Health & welfare: Healthcare services in KZN have deteriorated in the public health care sector depriving our people of their right to quality basic healthcare. The IFP will invest more funds to train and retrain medical specialists such as Oncologists, implement a turn-around plan to increase access to health care by reducing waiting times and extended operating hours, procure more ambulances, renovate and expand health care facilities in the Province, improve working conditions for healthcare workers, fill vacancies on time, enforce programmes that help prevent unwanted and teenage pregnancies, and improve training, morale and protection of healthcare professionals.
The IFP will champion the absorption and deployment of the 4000 unemployed Social workers to Local Municipalities and Schools to assist our youth to deal with drugs, substance abuse and depression. Disabled people will receive the top priority. We will ensure that all public officials learn sign language to accommodate the disabled and promote the inclusion of all people of this Province and ensure that disabled people are no longer marginalised and excluded from full economic participation.
6. Gender equality: Government has not done enough to deliver on its mandates when it comes to gender equality. As a result, the most vulnerable have been robbed of opportunities for development and growth. Levels of abuse and violence against women and children are staggering. The IFP will champion the increase of financial support for Chapter 9 institutions such as the Commission on Gender Equality, champion the equal pay for equal job, enact Special Courts to deal with Gender Based Violence, implement gender equality module as part of the school’s curriculum and specially – trained SAPS officers in Gender Based Violence support centres at all police stations.
7. Human Settlement: Millions of our people are currently living in extreme poverty under unacceptable and dangerous informal settlements in this province. There is also a dire need to redress apartheid-spatial planning. The IFP will champion: The building of integrated-community housing development especially in informal settlements, the building of quality, dignified single and family units, the release of unused state land for housing development projects, increasing access to affordable housing for the missing middle, better management of the housing waiting-list to ensure transparency and eradicate corruption, ensure that Contractors build high standard houses and blacklist Companies that produce below standard houses.
8. Environment: Environmentally unstainable practices are a threat to life. The IFP led government aspires to pursue economic development while keeping waste, pollution and resource consumption within acceptable levels. The IFP will champion: The opening of recycling hubs for community recycling initiatives, enforcing the use of environmentally friendly re-usable shopping bags, enacting strict by-laws against littering in all municipalities, protecting the marine and wildlife in KZN and promotion of environment awareness and education with a view to protecting climate change.
9. Powers and Functions of Traditional Leaders: Since the advent of our democracy in 1994, Traditional Leadership in South Africa has never been given due recognition through effective legislation. The current scenario whereby Amakhosi continue to grace meetings of municipalities where they are merely statutory observers of the proceedings is totally not acceptable.
The IFP will continue to press for amendment of the constitution to give effect to the actual recognition of the powers and functions of Traditional Leaders in the country and in KwaZulu-Natal. The IFP will further champion the continuous improvement and empowerment of the Provincial and Local houses of the Traditional Leadership through provision of research support, advisory support and other professional support to make the houses more effective.
10. Transport: KwaZulu-Natal road carnage is the worst in South Africa and the IFP has for years been advocating for drastic changes on the country’s transport system.
The IFP will champion: The strict implementation of rules of the road to drastically decrease road fatalities, the roll-out of road safety education strategy starting from primary school level, rehabilitate rail infrastructure and procurement of new trains, intervene, subsidize and regulate the taxi industry, implement the points demerit system to harshly penalise law breakers, eradicate and blacklist the corrupt traffic unit employees, improvement of road infrastructure especially in rural areas and better enforcement of compulsory seatbelt legislation especially in public transport.
As I conclude, the people of South Africa and KwaZulu Natal have been promised this and that over many years. The truth is, we are not getting any closer to the promised destination. Those who were fighting for free education this time last year, are still fighting. Those who were devastated by load shedding then, are still suffering now. The hiking petrol price appears to have come to stay.
As our country gears up for citizens to give a fresh mandate to a new government, the IFP reiterates its call for integrity, respect and honour for the Oath of Office.
We appeal to the people of goodwill to entrust their mandate to those who can be trusted: The IFP.
We all have a role to play as individuals, proud South Africans, faith-based organisations, sports organisations, NGOs, trade unions, business, students, academics and citizens. Get behind the IFP, as the voice of reason in our political landscape. It is the only party you can truly trust.
I am Velenkosini Hlabisa your IFP candidate for Premier of KwaZulu Natal. Trust Us. Vote IFP.
I thank you.