20 January 2014
I want to thank members of the media for attending this press
conference. I have no doubt that when you received word that the
IFP was meeting with the EFF, speculation on what it meant was
The IFP received a request from the National Command Team of the
Economic Freedom Fighters in September last year, asking for a
meeting to formally introduce themselves to our Party’s
leadership. My office immediately responded, indicating our
availability to meet, as the IFP operates with an open-door
policy towards anyone who seeks to discuss the needs and
interests of South Africa.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Julius Malema officially launched the EFF
and our two parties sought a suitable date to meet. Today’s
meeting is a result of that process, and I am pleased to report
As the President of the IFP, I welcomed the Commander-in-Chief
of the EFF and the National Command Team, and acknowledged the
importance of our country’s continued struggle for economic
liberation, which is the basis upon which the EFF was founded.
The IFP has been working for South Africa’s full and final
liberation for close on four decades.
Our two parties discussed the needs of our country and the role
that we each intend to play in creating a prosperous and stable
future for all South Africans. We recognise that we are fighting
a common enemy in the form of enduring poverty, unemployment and
hardship, and we share the goal of moving our country away from
corruption and weak leadership.
Naturally, however, we identified areas of disagreement between
our two parties and, in some cases, we robustly disagree. But we
have emerged from this meeting with an understanding that it is
possible, and in the best interests of our country, to disagree
without being disagreeable and without descending to offensive
Mr Malema and I both come from a background in the ANC Youth
League, although I was a member of that body during a different
era. The politics of his era are vastly changed from the
politics of my own time in the Youth League.
Thus, although we share this common background, it was necessary
to set aside some past friction in order to meet today. The IFP
did this in acknowledgement of the fact that Mr Malema has
founded his own party, which will contest the 2014 elections and
will, no doubt, have an impact on the political landscape of
There is a role, in a strong multi-party democracy, for a myriad
of voices to represent the diverse aspirations of our people.
Where the IFP finds common ground with the EFF in the service of
our nation, we will respect each other’s contribution.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, I should perhaps apologise to
you. I am sure you are disappointed that there is no talk of a
merger or anything of that nature, for that would surely have
But, on the part of the IFP, I can assure you that there will be
more than enough news coming out of this campaign as the IFP
seeks a partnership with the electorate for the benefit of South
Africa. The IFP intends to put the power back where it belongs;
in the hands of the people.
I thank you.