IFP Welcomes Returning Members

Statement by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

Durban:  19 December 2014. 

For close on forty years, the IFP has encouraged South Africans to get involved in shaping our nation. We all have something valuable to contribute. 

It is easy to sit on the side-lines and complain, wishing that our country’s leaders would do things differently and that the challenges in our nation would be met with a passionate response, good ideas and committed action. But in a democracy, good only thrives when the people themselves get involved; when we become the history-makers and policy-shapers; when we become the solution. 

Over the years, the IFP has attracted countless people of goodwill who seek to make their contribution. First we worked to secure democracy, and now we work to strengthen and protect it. 

The IFP is home to civic-minded South Africans, to entrepreneurs, to parents, to community leaders, to students; to people with the courage to create change. We are home to people who understand that politics is not something that happens in the corridors of power in Parliament and the Legislatures. Politics is a vehicle through which ordinary citizens influence every sphere of their lives. 

So it matters whether or not you choose to become involved in politics. It also matters which party you choose as your political home. Each party has its own identity. For the IFP, it is integrity, unity, service and ubuntu. 

The IFP celebrates whenever someone joins our family, for we recognise that they are empowering themselves, strengthening the voice of the IFP and strengthening our country. It’s a dynamic relationship in which everyone wins. 

But we also celebrate when former IFP members return to the IFP. Not everyone commits to one party for life, and politics is such that some move from one party to the next before finding their political home. We appreciate that people may need to experience an alternative to the IFP, before realising that this is where their contribution is most valued, this is where their voice is heeded, this is where they can make the biggest difference. 

Today we are welcoming Mr Thusi home, and we are welcoming old friends from Dalton Hostel and the Hostel’s Residents’ Association. It’s good to see them come home to the IFP, because these are citizens who have already committed to being politically active. You are already leaders in your own community, influencing governance, shaping policy and mobilising active support for democracy. 

We don’t need to convince you to make your contribution. You are ready and willing. You understand the value of getting involved. I want to welcome you home and thank you for returning. I also want to encourage you not to hang back because of anything that happened in the past. The IFP is a party focussed on serving South Africa. So when I say, “Welcome home”, I am really saying, “Welcome home, roll up your sleeves, there’s place on our team for you”. 

We have called this media conference to receive Mr Thusi and other former IFP members because we wanted it to be known that the IFP’s door is always open. I said this from the moment the NFP was established and I said it, in fact, throughout the entire period of distress when our members were being led astray with empty promises and false empathy. We were always open to reconciliation. We have never closed our door. 

Any many people have walked through that door. Since the NFP’s formation, various developments have led to large-scale disillusion within that party. Many who left the IFP to join the NFP have now returned. Some come back contrite and penitent. Some come back angry over being misled. Some come running back because they miss home. We have welcomed everyone; because we know that people who come to the IFP are people who want to make a difference. 

I look forward to visiting Dalton Hostel in the new year to engage our newly returned members and let them know that they are a valuable part of the IFP team. For now, as we all take time to celebrate the festive season, I simply wish to officially welcome you home. You have made the best choice possible. We look forward to what lies ahead.


IFP Media, Parliament