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Amy Musgrave, Sibongakonke Shoba27 Feb 2006 11:50
Thousands attended the Inkatha Freedom Party’s final election rally near Port Shepstone on Sunday to hear leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi attack the African National Congress and its stance on corruption.
He told the gathering at Marburg Stadium that as long as corruption is allowed to continue at all government levels, the problems of the country, such as poverty, will not be resolved.
“It does not matter how many billions of rands are earmarked to address the problems of South Africa, because they will not end up in the bellies of people for whom they are meant as long as there is so much corruption in our country,” Buthelezi said.
He said crossing the floor—when councillors are allowed to change parties without losing their seats—fuels corruption.
The floor-crossing legislation allows “chequebook politics” and operates in favour of the ANC and at the expense of smaller parties.
“It is fast making democracy a real farce in South Africa, apart from corrupting the citizenry of our country.
And we are fast moving into being a one-party state, partly through it.
“Thus our candidates have signed the pledge not to cross to other parties during the so-called window of opportunity, which should be rightly called the window of corruption,” Buthelezi said.
Marburg falls into the Ugu district municipality.
“We are hoping to get it back,” Singh said.
Buthelezi told the crowd, many of them carrying traditional weapons despite being ordered by police to leave them outside the stadium, that if anyone is in doubt of the ANC’s stance on corruption, they should consider former ANC MP Ruth Bhengu.
Last year, she pleaded guilty to defrauding Parliament in the so-called Travelgate scandal and resigned. However, Bhengu now tops the ANC’s election list in the Ugu district.
This would make people think corruption was tolerated in South Africa, he said.
“I know that I am myself far from perfect and that all of us have our imperfections. I am also aware that the core of the Christian ethic is forgiveness.
“But I think that it was too soon for the ANC to overlook the errors of our colleagues to make the decision to put one of them on top of their list.”
He said although his party does not consist of angels, it is a fact that none of the IFP-controlled municipalities has seen protests against poor service delivery as in other parts of the country.
“Those riots and protests have been staged by members of the ANC who are revolting against corruption and a lack of delivery,” he said.
Buthelezi ended his address by urging the crowd to ensure transport is arranged for the elderly and disabled to get to the polls.
Before Buthelezi entered the stadium in a sleek black vehicle waving to his screaming supporters from the sunroof, the gathering was entertained by musicians, including Gospel sensation Vuyo Mokoena.
Mokoena, wearing an IFP T-shirt with Buthelezi’s face on it, told the crowd there is no alternative to the IFP.
“Whose business is it if I choose Shenge [Buthelezi’s clan name]?” he sang.
Some of the IFP members sang in Zulu: “Shenge, hold me so that I don’t go to Nadeco.”
The National Democratic Convention (Nadeco) was formed by former IFP chairperson Ziba Jiyane after he and Buthelezi had a falling out.
Supporters said they will vote on March 1 in the hope of regaining Ugu for the party.
“There is no development in the area because the people we elected crossed to the ANC,” said Sana Dakazi from Nsangwini.
Balekani Sitshiko said she will vote for the IFP because she expects the party to deliver.
“The IFP councillors in my area are trying very hard to bring development. We understand that it takes time.”
She said residents in Mthwalume are still waiting for Reconstruction and Development Programme houses, and roads in their area are in a bad condition.
Mbabs Nqadi, from Ezingolweni, said the community needs sports grounds and tarred roads.
“I will vote IFP because I know it will deliver services to the people.”—Sapa
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