The party is punting its track record in governance in KwaZulu-Natal, which it ran for a decade after 1994, and in the 14 municipalities in the province under its control in a bid to win over voters from the ANC on 1 November.
It hopes to consolidate the progress it made in taking wards and municipalities off the ANC in the province in 2016 and use this year’s poll to build a base for voting the governing party out of power nationally and provincially in 2024.
At the manifesto launch in Durban on Thursday night, IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said the party was promising voters a continuation of the clean governance it had delivered at district and local municipality level, and at provincial level when it was the majority party in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Unlike those who tell you what they will do if you give them your vote, the IFP is here to tell you what we have done, as a demonstration of what we can do, and will do,”’ Hlabisa said. “Our manifesto is a record of what we already do and what we have done, because we believe that a party’s track record is the truest indication of its character.”
The document commits the IFP’s 2 570 candidates contesting 109 municipalities across the country to “lead with integrity” and deliver services as part of a culture of “servant leadership” that the party had inculcated in them.
The manifesto also commits to using municipalities to improve local economic development; food security initiatives at ward and municipality level; improving working relations with traditional leaders and improving public safety through improving infrastructure and employing more municipal police.
It also undertakes to improve housing delivery at municipal level, as well as the release of land necessary for such development, and improved electricity, roads and water infrastructure, arguing that these initiatives will create jobs in smaller towns and ease the flow of people into cities in search of work.
The party will give preference to South Africans in the provision of work and trading opportunities.
“Where we govern, the IFP prioritises South Africans for job and trade opportunities. Our belief is that South Africans must come first at all times,”’ Hlabisa said.
IFP-run local government would also use its resources to ensure that people were assisted in improving their lives through skills training and the stimulation of local business and agriculture.
“Local economic development is our key focus, through infrastructure development and maintenance, provision of water, electricity, roads and fiber: all of these are key elements to create a conducive local environment for business and investment to create jobs where people live,” Hlabisa added.
IFP president emeritus Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who served as party president from its formation as Inkatha in 1975 until August 2019, said that 2021 should be used as a staging point for the 2024 national and general elections.
“We do not need to wait until 2024. We are not stuck with the present government until national elections roll around again. We can make major changes in 2021. By voting in the municipal elections and empowering a leadership of integrity, we can set the stage for completely changing our country’s future,” Buthelezi said.