The president of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Velenkosini Hlabisa has said that where the IFP will govern in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) following the outcomes of the 1 November 2021 local government elections, it will conduct skills audits to root out incompetency.
The IFP came second to the African National Congress (ANC) in terms of the number of votes it garnered in the province at 24.9%, 527 seats, while the latter party won 742 seats, 41.4%, throughout KZN.
Addressing the media on Sunday, Hlabisa said after the skills audits have been conducted, where necessary, suitably qualified and competent municipal managers (MMs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) will be recruited and appointed.
Hlabisa said the IFP intends to do away with the culture of “jobs for pals”, get rid of tender fraud and fruitless and wasteful expenditure and ensure that consequence management is the order of the day where it will govern.
The IFP intends to conduct these skills audits within 60 days of the establishment of new councils, Hlabisa said.
“But it will be a priority,” Hlabisa said, elaborating that where it is found that skills have been misplaced then proper placement will be done and where necessary, competent and qualified people will be recruited.
Hlabisa said the IFP will hit the ground running in terms of service delivery once councils are fully functional and that within 14 days of the inauguration of mayors, all IFP mayors will enter into performance agreements with the party, which will focus on the implementation of the party’s 10-point plan, which it presented during its election campaign.
After 100 days in office, the IFP will monitor and review the performance of its mayors and the party will not hesitate to “withdraw” mayors who will be found to be failing to meet their key performance indicators, Hlabisa said.
Hlabisa explained that the IFP will do this because come the 2024 national government elections it does not want to apologize to the electorate, pleading for a second chance to govern – a plea which generally characterized the campaign message of the African National Congress (ANC).
Hlabisa further said the IFP will not tolerate complacency and mediocrity from its mayors but intends to ensure that the party’s governance is good and competent.
“We are serious about running clean municipalities,” Hlabisa said.
The IFP, Hlabisa said, intends to win back KZN in the 2024 general elections. The IFP governed KZN from 1994 until 2004 when it lost it to the ANC.
Hlabisa said the IFP national executive council will meet on Monday to finalize the list of people to be deployed as mayors, deputy mayors and speakers and he gave the assurance that this list will be ready by Wednesday, when councils are expected to first sit.
Hlabisa said since the IFP had done its groundwork thoroughly and new which municipalities it would win in KZN and where MMs would have to be replaced, it is confident that it will have the capacity to ward off corruption and deliver once it governs.
“That is why we will not be found wanting,” Hlabisa said, further explaining that all the party’s councillors will sign the performance agreements which will be closely monitored and reviewed.
Hlabisa added that the IFP will swiftly deal with acts of corruption, for example, where tender prices have been inflated “we will definitely be taking action”, he said.
Hlabisa said the IFP wants its mayors to be accountable to the people and does not want a repeat of what was witnessed at uMhlathuze, a largely urban area, where residents would go for days without any water, without a contingency plan in place to address this and with the mayor not communicating with the public. The city of uMhlathuze was governed by the ANC before this year’s local government elections.
Hlabisa said there is an inaccurate generalisation doing the rounds that there is a shortage of water supply in the Zululand District – a district the IFP managed to hold onto following the elections.
There had been no service delivery protests over the shortage of water witnessed in Zululand as opposed to the Districts of King Cetshwayo and uMkhanyakude, the latter district being home to the area he hails from and a district where residents go for up to four weeks without any water, Hlabisa said. The IFP won the uMkhanyakude District from the ANC.
“That is what we will not tolerate,” Hlabisa said, adding that the IFP will also not tolerate the misuse of funds.
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