This is a long, but very interesting read. I have said this many times before, that South Africa needs more leaders like Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The people want the IFP back - Mangosuthu Buthelezi
16 December 2012
President says his party's past warnings have been vindicated
2012 ELECTIVE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY ON THE THEME "CONTINUING WITH THE STRUGGLE FOR OUR ECONOMIC EMANCIPATION WITHIN A CRISIS SITUATION BOTH INTERNALLY AND IN OUR COUNTRY" PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS BY PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Ulundi: 15 December 2012
On the centenary of the founding of the oldest liberation movement on the African continent, and on the eve of Mangaung, the IFP gathers to take some important decisions on the road ahead. We have laboured in South Africa for almost four decades, and have met with opposition at every turn; for the IFP constantly holds a light to the truth in our country, and shows what should be, what could be, and what is so patently wrong.
But we don't bite at the heels of the ruling Party. Our presence is enough to rile deficient leaders, and ignite hope in a despairing people. For wherever our country's leadership has lost direction, the IFP holds out the moral compass and points to true North.
True North is the fact that our liberation struggle is far from complete. True North is that our country has become mired in corruption and self-interest, which threaten economic freedom. True North is our people's utter disillusionment with a democracy that cannot offer equality, employment or unity. The IFP has never played the propaganda game, but we have been on the receiving side of many lies, vilifications and attack. In the midst of it all, we stand as the voice of reason.
In this present moment of South Africa's history, as the ANC stands poised again to impose a President on our country, and as every assessment, survey, index and report confirms what we already know - that South Africa's leadership is failing - the IFP must fulfil its role. Our role now is not that different from the role we have played for 37 years, under diverse circumstances. In the time ahead, we must remain the voice of reason.
Thirty seven years ago, Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe â" the National Cultural Liberation Movement was the voice of reason calling for the unbanning of political parties and the release of political prisoners, when an Apartheid Government drove divisions between South Africans. We were the voice of reason refusing so-called independence for KwaZulu, when the nationalist regime sought "separate development" and the loss of citizenship for millions of black South Africans.
Thirty five years ago, Inkatha was the voice of reason in the midst of the ANC's campaign to make South Africa ungovernable. We built 6 500 schools, while the ANC encouraged young people to burn them down. Thirty three years ago, Inkatha was the voice of reason speaking out against economic sanctions, the campaign of disinvestment, and an armed struggle that would wash our country in blood, while the ANC's mission-in-exile shaped a new daily hardship for our people.
Twenty nine years ago, Inkatha was the voice of reason calling for the end of the ANC's People's War that was claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent people. Twenty two years ago we were the voice of reason refusing to allow a democratic dispensation to be negotiated bi-laterally without the presence and contribution of every political representative. Twenty years ago, we were the voice of reason insisting that a Bill of Rights be contained in our democratic Constitution, and that provinces be given autonomy so that the people could finally govern from the bottom up.
Eighteen years ago, the IFP was the voice of reason, insisting that labour legislation be designed to allow maximum flexibility in the labour market, to ensure that both employment and productivity would flourish in the new South Africa. Ten years ago, the IFP was the voice of reason calling on Government to roll out anti-retrovirals to all pregnant women to prevent HIV transmission to their new-born babies, just as we were doing in KwaZulu Natal.
Five years ago, the IFP was the voice of reason warning that corruption was rotting our country like a fish, from the head. This year, we have been the voice of reason calling for a debate of no confidence in the leadership of our country's President, because undelivered textbooks, teachers' strikes, Marikana, tenderpreneurship, scandal, corruption and a failing state are not what we fought a liberation struggle to achieve.
South Africa is in a terrible state. Our politics is deeply troubled by power-plays and self-enrichment. Our economy is wracked by recession and inappropriate policy. Our society is burdened by poverty, criminality and unemployment. Our people suffer the daily indignities that accompany poor service delivery, and the daily loss of hope that accompanies empty promises. We are still a country of inequalities.
This is not the country we struggled for 100 years to reach. And the ANC of today is not the liberation movement of 1912. There is a nexus; for the further the ANC moves from its founding principles to become this party of corruption, self-enrichment and self-interest, the further South Africa will move from being a country of freedom, unity and hope.
What stands in the way of this downward slide? The voice of reason. The IFP.
We were born of the same founding principles that birthed the ANC in 1912, but we remained true to those principles as the ANC began to take a different route. As the ANC has evolved into a massively rich, massively selfish machine for the elite, the IFP has stayed true to the founding principles of the liberation struggle. Thus, as our struggle continues, the IFP carries the true legacy of liberators and freedom fighters. Within the IFP, all that was good about the past continues, and all that is good for the future remains.
But as we stand, facing the crisis of our nation and the fullness of our responsibility as the voice of reason, the IFP must carve out space to decide on its own way forward. This is that time. This conference is the opportunity for the IFP to secure our footing on the road ahead, for the sake of our nation, for the sake of our Party and for the sake of redirecting our struggle towards genuine freedom for all South Africans.
Friends, we have faced a very turbulent time. The fact that we are meeting only now, when we should by rights have met in 2009, is a clear indication of the troubles we have faced since the last national elections in our country. I want to remind us of the words of former President Nelson Mandela, who admitted in public in 2002 that the ANC has pursued an agenda of destroying the IFP ever since 1979, when the ANC first abandoned the principle of non-violence and found that Inkatha would not follow suit. Mandela said, "We have used every ammunition to destroy (Buthelezi), but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him."
I am reminding us of those words today, for it would be a serious miscalculation on our part if we supposed that the plot of the ANC against the IFP is a thing of the past. "We cannot ignore him", Mandela said. In other words, we cannot set aside our goal, believing that Buthelezi no longer poses a threat to the ANC. There is no question in anyone's mind that the IFP still poses a threat to the ruling Party. While journalists and analysts, often for suspect reasons, like to pen the premature obituary of the IFP, the ANC has never written us off.
The plan that they hatched to finally destroy the IFP after 2009 caused chaos in our midst. Let us remember the events of the past three years; not to cry over spilt milk, but to remind ourselves afresh that the opposition we have faced for 37 years is not about to diminish as we enter the third decade of democracy. The road ahead for the IFP is not going to be easier. The ANC has not given up its fight against us, and it is joined now by the NFP who has its own bitter bile to spread.
I wish to thank our Deputy National Chairperson, Mr VB Ndlovu, for setting out so comprehensively the history of the split in the IFP, the formation of the NFP and the evidence of the ANC's involvement as the primary driver. We have remembered the events of the last three years. Confronted with the evidence of the ANC's involvement in the ructions, I did not remain silent.
I spoke in the National Assembly during the State of the Nation Debate in February 2011, laying out all the evidence and plainly asking the ANC why it was still pursuing this agenda of destroying the IFP. No one in the leadership of the ANC, not even the President himself, contradicted my accusations in Parliament, beyond some howling from the benches and the President taking exception to my speaking so frankly about a conversation he deemed private between the two of us.
In that conversation, in July 2010, the President of the ANC, Mr Jacob Zuma, advised me to step down, because of the divisions in my Party over my leadership. When I think back now to that conversation, I marvel that the President has not taken his own advice, considering the depth of divisions within his own party over his own leadership.
I did not take the President's advice because, as I explained to him, my Party elected me and my Party retains the prerogative to ask me to stay or leave. It is amazing that the President of the ANC thinks he can dictate to the rank and file of the IFP who should lead this party. That is for you to decide. That decision will be made here, in this venue, today.
Today, all those gathered in this marquee will decide the fate of the IFP. It is up to you, the rank and file of our Party, to decide whether the IFP will continue on its upwards trajectory and go into 2014 much stronger and much louder, or whether the IFP will be handed to the ANC/NFP coalition on a silver platter to finally destroy and relegate it to history.
Let me tell you in no uncertain terms; those are the options. The IFP is not going to fade away. We are either going to become dramatically stronger, or dramatically weaker, based on the result of today's election.
The results of by-elections since May 2011 clearly tell us that the people of South Africa want the IFP to return in strength in 2014. Support for our Party is growing again. There is great dissatisfaction with the ANC/NFP coalition, but people have not been staying away from the polls during by-elections, as if there is no one they felt happy to vote for. They have been coming to the polls in impressive numbers, and casting their votes for the IFP.
The unequivocal message is that the people want the IFP to return. They want the IFP to come back stronger. Since May 2011, we have won by-elections in Mtubatuba, in Ulundi and in Nongoma, where we increased our percentage of the vote. In June we won in Nqutu and increased our percentage by almost 20%. In August we won in Umtshezi, and also took uPhongolo from the NFP. In September we won in Nongoma and increased our percentage of the vote. In November, we again increased our share of the vote in Nqutu. Ten days ago, we took Hlabisa from the NFP, we won KwaMashu, and we took Nkandla, the hometown of the ANC President away from the ANC.
That is the kind of support the IFP is getting. There is no mistaking the message from the electorate, that the IFP is wanted, needed and supported. We are back on an upward path.
For this, I want to thank the people in this marquee. Thank you for keeping faith with the IFP through the turbulent times of the past three years. Thank you for not being led astray by promises of tenders, jobs and money. Thank you, too, for embracing the Roadmap strategy, and for supporting this blueprint for our future. Thank you for mobilising our supporters and for getting the message of truth out to our people, to contradict the many lies against us. Thank you for ensuring the IFP's survival and for placing us again on an upward path. Your hard work and commitment to the IFP has not gone unnoticed. You are the true heroes and heroines of the IFP story.
Ours is a story that has been written over 37 years, through great hardship, danger, sorrow and loss. It is written in the words of lives; lives lost, but also lives transformed. For through all the hardship that has accompanied South Africa's story, the IFP has brought hope and help into countless homes.
I am intensely proud of the IFP's legacy. I have walked through our country in all these years, meeting the people we serve and taking their hand so that together we could build and grow and develop. I have seen destitute mothers empowered to grow food for their families. I have seen young people equipped with skills through the education and training institutions built by the IFP. Even today, I hear from South Africans who write to thank me for what we did ten, twenty and thirty years ago, because it changed their lives.
I have seen babies live because the IFP found a way to provide anti-retrovirals, even when an ANC led Government told the Constitutional Court it couldn't be done. I have seen breadwinners start businesses with the financial assistance of the KwaZulu Finance Corporation, which we established here when no one else would lend money to impoverished people. I have seen teachers supported and families held together. I have seen one generation after the next take up the cause of the IFP, not because it was the party of their parents, but because it is their own Party. The IFP serves the needs of today.
I have also seen legislation amended, bills being opposed, policy created and skilful debate within the National Assembly, in our Legislatures and the National Council of Provinces. I have seen small victories being won in municipal councils, and great victories being won at the national level. I remember the IFP giving our country a Bill of Rights. I remember the IFP giving our country provinces. I remember the IFP taking Government to court, and winning.
I have a lifetime of memories of the IFP and I am deeply proud of this Party. It has thus been painful for me to grapple with the needs of the Party, as I entered the twilight of my life, for anyone who has done and seen and served as much as I have, for as long as I have, surely deserves to rest.
It has been my intention for several years to retire and to hand the Party over to a younger leadership. You will recall that twice I announced my intention to retire, at our Conferences of 2004 and 2006. But twice our Party unanimously called on me to remain. I serve at the behest of the Party and thus I remained.
In 2009, knowing that I intended to retire, our National Council passed a resolution requesting that I remain at the helm of the IFP until such time as we could ensure a smooth leadership transition. That resolution reads as follows â" "The IFP National Council met in Ulundi on 24â"25 October 2009 and unanimously adopted the following RESOLUTION: National Councilâ¦ urges Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi to continue to remain the unifying leader of the Party and to ensure a smooth and democratic succession transition when the time is ripe, and will appreciate his consideration of the matter." The National Executives of the Women's Brigade, the Youth Brigade and SADESMO confirmed this request.
I have been grappling with this decision for three years, for as much as I would wish to hand over the torch of this Party to a new generation of leaders, I have been hesitant to leave a burning house. The discovery that the fire was lit by our old opponents, the ANC, made a decision more difficult to reach.
Time and again I have said that my decision on whether or not to accept your request that I remain at the helm to oversee a smooth leadership transition, will only be conveyed at this Conference. Now is the time for me to pronounce on the matter.
You know that our Party has been engaged for several months in promoting the Roadmap strategy prepared by our former Secretary-General to assist me to make this decision. We have done that simultaneously with an audit of all our branches, for we discovered that not all the "Friends of VZ" defected to the NFP and some bogus branches remained. Not only that, but we found that some 3000 membership booklets had disappeared along with our defected members, who were now signing up bad-faith branches to send bad-faith delegates to Conference.
The old plan was still afoot to disrupt this Conference; this time to foist on us leaders with whom I would find it difficult to work if I agreed to oversee the transition. Our opponents hope that even if I agree to continue, I will resign in frustration, leaving the Party under pliable leaders that can easily be manipulated from outside our Party.
We saw, as we presented the Roadmap strategy to our various districts, that there was general support for the Roadmap and recognition across the board that this is the blueprint for our strengthened future. But, to my great disappointment, the District of Zululand emerged as the only voice of dissent. My own district rejected the names proposed by the National Council for the leadership of the IFP. National Council engaged these leaders, even postponing conference yet again, to give them time to properly discuss matters with their constituents.
I regret to report that it became evident that a slate was being used to disrupt the Roadmap strategy and to foist a different leadership on the IFP. I was surprised to see Mr Dladla's name come up again and again for the position of National Chairperson, when Mr Dladla had publically withdrawn from the Party earlier this year to attend to his business interests.
Mr Dladla became quite concerned when he heard his name was on this slate, and he spoke to Mr Gwala, Ms kaMadlopha-Mthethwa and myself expressing his bitterness that his name should be used to divide the Party. Mr Albert Mncwango and Mr Khawula, whose names were also put forward on the slate, have both expressed resentment that they were not approached in advance, and both of them have publically said they will not stand for nomination.
But some people have sown great confusion among our supporters, telling them that the National Chairperson automatically becomes the President of the Party if anything happens to the President. That is simply not true. We are a democratic organisation and the question of leadership will always go to a vote, as required by our Constitution. Based on the will of our Party, we have embraced the amendment of our Constitution to include the position of Deputy President. That too should allay any concerns and clear up any confusion.
There should, indeed, be no reason to oppose the Roadmap strategy or to reject the names put forward by National Council for leadership positions, other than the nefarious desire to play into the hands of our enemies. I have embraced the Roadmap strategy as the right extraordinary measure to bring us through such extraordinary times. I therefore consider the leadership proposed by National Council as part of a package. I would like to retire. But I will accept the request of National Council that I remain to oversee the leadership transition, if I am enabled to work with these people. I do not see the point of swimming against a tide that we can stop right here, right now. But I am willing to swim if I am swimming with a likeminded team.
Friends, we have enough opposition without opposing ourselves from within. The IFP carries a heavy responsibility as we leave this Conference to fulfil our role as the voice of reason in a turbulent time. We must leave this place united, with one vision, one voice and one shared purpose. The IFP has an important role to play. Don't be fooled into thinking that the IFP is wavering or indecisive. We are not alone in facing troubles in the present political landscape. In fact, we are not even alone in having postponed conference for so long. Due to its fierce internal battles, the ANC was forced to postpone conference in this province several times, the NFP did it too, and the DA is having to do it with their Youth, who are struggling to choose leaders at branch level.
Clearly things are changing in the political landscape of our country. There are some things that never change, like the ANC bussing people into wards in which they do not live to vote in by-elections. Those sorts of shenanigans have been going on in very election since 1994, and the IFP has repeatedly approached the IEC urging investigation and redress. Little has come of our complaints. But there are other aspects of politics that are changing rapidly, for the worse.
Personal enrichment has become the order of the day. In the midst of all the tenderpreneurship and self-enrichment, corruption is gaining pace in South Africa. I have been sounding the alarm on corruption for several years. More than five years ago, I called it a national crisis. But things have only become worse, and corruption has led to political violence. Analysts explain that poverty and the hope of positions that will open doors to power, and tenders, are driving political killings.
The ANC has seen such internal conflict that the General Secretary of its alliance partner, COSATU, has said, "Political killings are so commonplace in KwaZulu Natal, that we can no longer blame them on IFP warlords, because it's an inside job." Mr Vavi now has a death threat hanging over him, for the leadership battles in the ANC have been far more vicious than even the IFP experienced. In a party as rich as the ANC, there is much at stake when it comes to leadership elections.
This new trend in political killings has affected all parties, and the IFP has not gone unscathed. But we have been cushioned by our long-cultivated culture of non-violence, respect for life and discipline. IFP members and leaders have been lost, but to violence from outside our Party. Today, let us remember the men and women of the IFP who have fallen victim to political conflict. These lives cannot be restored by any amount of tears.
We remember today our slain victims, and all those who have paid a heavy price for supporting the IFP in the face of our enemies. We remember Mr Makhathini, Induna Biyela, Councillor Thembokwakhe Emmanuel Xulu, Ms Celiwe Shezi, Mr Bongani Lushaba, Mr Siyabonga Dlamini and Mr Sihle Biyela. There are many others whom we remember today, and we salute them again. We cannot forget more than 400 IFP leaders who were killed during the people's war and thousands of our members who perished in that war of attrition.
We continue their work as we strengthen the IFP to fight against corruption, unemployment, poverty, disease, crime, poor service delivery, poor leadership and under-development. For years the ANC has claimed to be the representatives of South Africa's oppressed and struggling people. But after eighteen years of democracy, with all the money of the State available to them, the ANC has done far too little, far too slowly, to assist the people they claim to serve. Some analysts have pointed out that the ANC has a vested interest in keeping the poor poor, uneducated and dependent, for this is their voting block.
If that is true, it is a despicable truth, for our people are suffering terribly. The aim of the IFP has always been to uplift. We have helped people to rise out of their circumstances, through education, partnership and shared efforts. It can be done. So why is the ANC not doing it?
Wherever I go, I listen to people and I hear their hearts' cry. I have heard disappointed ANC supporters calling the ANC "cruel" when it appears just before an election, and disappears just as quickly. I have heard rural communities cry that they cannot go to the city and pull electricity back to their homes, but must just sit and wait for Government. I have heard people ask why in a democracy there are private hospitals for the rich and community clinics for the poor, private schools for the rich and mud schools for the poor, private security for the rich, but only one policeman to protect 425 ordinary South Africans.
People are not fools. In fact, when Eskom proposed another 16% price hike, every year, for the next five years, an ANC MPL said in the media, "I hope the ANC does not send me to sell this to my constituency, because I am not convinced. Then how can the public be convinced?" Why does the ANC keep trying to convince us to accept more and more hardship, as though it were acceptable? Why are things acceptable to the ANC leadership that are completely unacceptable to the rest of South Africa?
Think how often we all took exception to the rantings of the former ANC Youth League President, Mr Julius Malema, who rammed the nationalisation of mines down our throats and scared away international investors, while the country's President did nothing to contradict him. Mr Malema insulted everyone, from the leaders of the opposition, to white South Africans, to big business, banks, industry, the international media and even Government Ministers. But the leadership of the ANC said nothing. Ahead of the 2009 elections, Mr Malema brazenly threatened to invade my home at KwaPhindangene and recruit my wife and children to the ANC. The ANC leadership said nothing. Malema called me a factory fault of the ANC, and the leadership said nothing.
But when Malema made the mistake of insulting Mr Zuma, it was all over for him, and he is now being investigated for fraud and corruption.
Nevertheless, the nationalisation of South Arica's mines is still on the agenda of the Mangaung conference that begins tomorrow. Why is the ANC still discussing this issue when it insisted this is not Government policy? If it becomes ANC policy, it will become Government policy, whether we like it or not, whether it is good for the country or not. It's not about the good of the country anymore. It's about the pockets of a few at the top.
We have all judged for ourselves how we feel about our taxpayers' money being lavished on President Zuma's house in Nkandla just as his term is drawing to an end. Hundreds of millions have been spent on so-called improvements, like a helipad and security fences. Of course when the DA announced it would visit Nkandla to inspect these improvements and see for itself how the President is spending our money, the ANC was up in arms about it. It was fine for Malema to invade my private home, but not okay for the DA to visit Nkandla to exercise its oversight role as the largest opposition Party.
There is a growing sense that the ANC has something to hide. This emerged as we fought against the Protection of State Information Bill, popularly known as the "Secrecy Bill". Across the spectrum of civil society, industry, the academia, the media, the religious community, traditional leaders and political parties, the Secrecy Bill has been vehemently rejected. Yet the ANC has ignored the dictates of democracy and is set to introduce legislation that the whole of the country has rejected.
On the impetus of fighting the Secrecy Bill, all opposition parties represented in Parliament have come together in a Multi-Party Opposition Forum. We came together to hold joint rallies, demanding that the voice of the people be heard and respected when it comes to the Secrecy Bill, and all other issues of governance.
Put in its simplest form, the Secrecy Bill is a way for the ANC-led Government to silence media reports on corruption, so that corrupt leaders can get away with whatever they want without having to worry about the spotlight of public scrutiny. Thus, out of the joint opposition to the Secrecy Bill, the Coalition Against Corruption naturally evolved. The fight against corruption united us. Never before has one single threat to our democracy united a diverse opposition. This speaks of a new era in politics; one that we must explore further.
The Democratic Alliance has spoken publically about a closer partnership among opposition parties, although they have not formally approached the IFP for discussions. I am sure you will also have heard statements by the Honourable Mr Lekota, the Leader of the Congress of the People, intimating that the opposition must now extend its cooperation as a united front against the ANC. I think many people would watch such an alliance with interest to see whether we could indeed topple an increasingly corrupt and self-interested ruling party. We in the IFP are not new comers to such coalition politics. We did have a coalition for democracy with the DA, under the leadership of the Honourable Tony Leon in 2004. Although some people in both parties were enraged by the fact that coalition did not give us the results we were hoping it would give us, it did not sour the good relations we built between Mr Leon and myself. And this is a road I travelled extensively when I worked with Mr Oliver Tambo - the leader of the ANC mission-in-exile until 1979. Before that in the very dark days of apartheid we cooperated with my two friends who led the Progressive Federal Party Mr Colin Eglin and Dr van Zyl Slabbert. We even had joint rallies against the tri-cameral system. Before that I was very close to those great freedom fighters; Alan Paton and Helen Suzman. And in spite of the Improper Interference legislation during the dark days of apartheid, which prevented members of different races belonging to one Party, I led the South African Black Alliance with the Coloured Labour Party. The Reform Party - an Indian Party led by my friend Yellan Chinsamy. And the Dikwakwentla Party led by Mr Mopeli of Qwaqwa and Inyandza Movement led by Mr Enos Mabuza of KaNgwane. So coalition politics is not a new game for us in the IFP. We have to think very carefully if and when the time comes to consider another travel along that road.
I received a very warm letter from the leader of the DA in Parliament, Ms Lindiwe Mazibuko complimenting me for the cooperation that has taken place between opposition parties during this year.
On the road ahead, those discussions will no doubt come, and we will engage our members accordingly. The IFP is a democratic organisation that has always sought to identify and act on the genuine will of the people. What we know for sure is that the people of South Africa do not want a country in which learners score 13% for maths in their Annual National Assessments, while the Minister of Basic Education quibble over the usefulness of school inspectors. Our people do not want a country that is consistently sliding down the ranks on the International Corruption Perception Index, to the point that we are now ranked 69th most corrupt out of 176 countries, having dropped 15 places in just two years.
Does the ANC even understand how to get our country out of this mess? How can the President declare they will create half a million jobs by a certain date, and then proceed to shed more than a million jobs instead? Does the ANC have such a poor grasp on economics and the needs of our country? Is it incompetence, or intentional mismanagement?
Why did the ANC ignore the insistent calls for a Youth Wage Subsidy to encourage employers to employ young South Africans? More than 50% of our youth are unemployed. 7.5 million South Africans are out of work. Something must be done. When President Zuma instead suggests a job-seekers' grant, one cannot help but think of what the analysts say: â˜Keep them dependent and in need, and they will keep voting ANC'.
Our people need jobs. They need education. They need electricity. They need protection from crime. They need leaders they can respect. They need help getting ahead in very difficult circumstances so that the opportunities of a democratic South Africa will not simply be pretty words on a tattered poster.
When the ANC doesn't know what to do about a problem, they throw money at it. Your money. They have seen the growing problem of food security, which the IFP has been warning about and working to solve for thirty years through support to small scale farmers. The ANC's solution? Send a parliamentary delegation to Brazil and Chile for 15 days to learn how they support small scale farmers. The trip will cost R1.2 million. The ANC has seen how state assets, like South African Airways, constantly need multi-million Rand bailouts. For years the IFP has said privatise the airline. But the ANC's solution? Send a delegation to Australia for seven days to learn best practices in managing state assets. That'll cost R737 000.
Our newspapers are full of the big figures spent by the ANC in trying to solve problems that the IFP warned about years ago. Our Party has been right there with solutions and answers, but we have been ignored. In fact, when the ANC took over the governance of this province in 2004, they shut down teacher training colleges and halted development projects for no other reason than that they were birthed by the IFP.
This hatred for the IFP is not new to the ANC. They have cultivated it over almost four decades. I am therefore placed in a very difficult situation when the King of the Zulu Nation, King Goodwill Zwelithini, calls on us to declare that there is reconciliation between the ANC and the IFP. How can I do that when I know that reconciliation has been muscled off the agenda under the present leadership of the ANC? It would be hypocritical of me, as a Christian and as the leader of the IFP, to pretend that reconciliation is complete when even now there are threats to my life and the insults against the IFP continue, unabating.
Even now the ANC plans to change the name of Mangosuthu Highway to Griffiths Mxenge Highway, even though I did not name the highway personally, just because it irks them that I should be remembered at all in this province. That is not an indication that they want reconciliation.
I have pursued reconciliation with the ANC for decades. I have spoken peace and called for negotiations and steered our people away from bloodshed. You have heard the history from our Deputy National Chairperson, of how we formed the 3-a-side, 5-a-side and 15-a-side committees to pursue reconciliation, and how our efforts were continually foiled.
You have heard how President Mbeki offered me the Deputy Presidency, which was torpedoed by the ANC leadership in KwaZulu Natal, by Mr Jacob Zuma himself. You have heard how the ANC engineered the split in our Party, and you have seen how they side-lined the IFP in the celebration of the centenary this year, as though the IFP played no part in the liberation struggle of our country.
How can I stand and say that reconciliation has been achieved? We are at a disadvantage, for the ANC has vast sums of money at its disposal and believes it can still destroy the IFP. Our great advantage, and our greatest asset, is the genuine will of the people. For decades the ANC has been abusing this concept of "the will of the people", using it as an excuse for everything the top leaders of the ANC want to impose on us.
But behind this tactic of declaring "the will of the people" lies the knowledge that the genuine will of the people, loudly expressed, has great authority and impact. I want to challenge you, as the leaders of the IFP, to claim back what has been misappropriated and abused. Claim back the authority you have as "the people". Learn how to draw together in numbers, in an organized effort, to make a united statement that cannot be ignored. Take back the right to express the genuine will of the people, rather than merely expressing the discontent of our nation.
Today, I ask you to strengthen the IFP. Through your vote and through discussions, I ask you to place the IFP on a steady footing as we navigate the road ahead. The IFP must go through a transition, while remaining the Party our people are again calling for and recognising as the voice of reason. We need to walk through our leadership transition with our legacy intact, for the sake of our Party and the sake of our country. South Africa's liberation struggle continues. Let us strengthen the liberation party that still retains the moral compass and remembers the principles of 1912. Unity, inclusivity, non-violence. That is the legacy of the IFP. Through the IFP, may it become the legacy of South Africa.
Aluta continua! The struggle continues!
Issued by the IFP, December 15 2012