The democracy that South Africa enjoys today was not easily won, so let’s do justice to this vote and recognise its democratic significance.
That was the appeal from Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa in an exclusive interview with Polity ahead of the May 8 National Election.
“I encourage every South African to take seriously the need to vote because if we do not vote we give advantage to those who will be elected to run amok. The winner of not voting is not the citizens but it’s the government,” he warned.
Hlengwa said the IFP was ready to govern the country based on its manifesto and the track record of the party’s service delivery.
He said the party has presented a practical and pragmatic intervention manifesto and that it was now up to South Africans to make an informed decision and for them to decide for whom they wanted to vote.
“Our track record is one that speaks to service delivery excellence, which speaks to good governance, therefore the IFP has no reason to believe that our manifesto does not resonate with the collective interest of our people,” Hlengwa said.
Discussing the party’s internal strife, Hlengwa said the IFP had closed ranks, and had decisively dealt with all its internal problems.
He claimed that the results of the intervention were clear as analysts were now calling the party “the comeback kid”.
Addressing suggestions that the party’s hold on the AbaQulusi local municipality in Northern KwaZulu-Natal was slipping owing to internal party fighting, Hlengwa said those were unfounded rumours peddled by the media.
“Two councillors were bribed by ANC [African National Congress] to resign from IFP, to the extent that two ANC councillors were arrested by the Hawks, cash in hand, when they were bribing a DA [Democratic Alliance] councillor. If you are talking about instability in AbaQulusi, that instability is caused by the ANC,” he stated.
THE IFP’S PLAN FOR SOUTH AFRICA
The IFP’s primary plan to revive some of the country’s ailing State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) includes the restoration of good governance and veering off the path of cadre deployment in those institutions.
Additionally, the IFP says financial management expertise needs to be plugged into the SOEs to enable them to manage their finances better.
“Thirdly we would disband the Department of Public Enterprises, and house all SoEs in their line function department, so that the technical skills, knowledge and expertise which reside in those departments and which are necessary for the building up of capacity and effective and efficient functioning of SOEs is able to be readily found in line function departments,” Hlengwa explained.
In this scenario, the IFP envisions, for example, that Denel would operate under the Department of Defence, South African Airways under the Department of Transport and Eskom under the Department of Energy.
The IFP would also seek public-private partnerships to ease the fiscal burden on the State.
Hlengwa said the IFP would not unbundle the SOEs in the manner which has been proposed.
The IFP’s plan to address the high levels of unemployment involves the introduction of unemployment registers at municipalities.
Through these registers, the IFP hopes to create linkages between those who are unemployed and businesses which are seeking workers.
“Municipalities are best placed, in their local economic development plans and working with their counterparts in the private sector, to identify persons who are readily available for jobs. Municipalities play a crucial role to identify local jobs for local people,” Hlengwa said.
The IFP also believes that at the very heart of economic activity lies the importance of an education.
The party wants the education system to be key and central to the country’s economic activity, growth and development.
The party would build up the country’s educational capacity by focussing on opening teacher training colleges and by also ensuring that scholar transport is available, especially for learners in rural areas.
The party also wants to make schooling compulsory for every child and introduce sign language in every school.