Gauteng Legislature, Committee Room A: 1
On behalf of the entire Inkatha Freedom Party
Youth Brigade family I wish to convey to you the warmest
goodwill revolutionary greetings. We also wish to thank you for
responding favourably to our request for this meeting.
It is indeed inspiring that as youth
formations we have, through agreeing to meet today, risen above
petty political divides and given priority to jointly seeking to
find common ground on matters of youth interest in this country.
Our meeting today signals a new beginning for cooperative
politics and adds another important political brick as we build
and grow our democracy. The fluidity of politics compels us to
meet in this fashion so that we may share and learn from each
One of the resolutions coming out of the IFP's
31st Annual General Conference earlier this year states;
Noting the call by some opposition parties
that there is an urgent need for the realignment of South
Africa's fragmented opposition politics, which has led to the
merger of the Independent Democrats with the Democratic
1. To re-affirm our view that co-operation
among like-minded potential organisations is necessary to
promote matters of common interests.
2. To nevertheless warn that since politics is
the art of the possible, that such cooperation and mergers of
different political parties should always serve the interests of
the membership of those political parties and should therefore
enjoy maximum support of the ordinary members of participating
3. That more intensive debate should be
embarked upon, within political organizations, in order to
determine that which will eventually in the best interest of
South Africa, before concrete steps are taken in this direction.
It is on the basis of this resolution that we
have sought this meeting because we are concerned by the extent
to which opposition parties in South Africa are fragmented. We
believe that this fragmentation is dangerous because it does not
serve the best interests of the youth of South Africa, and
therefore does not serve the best interests of South Africa as a
whole, as it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve
cooperation and alignment on important issues which affect the
youth of our country.
We have initiated these talks fully mindful
that we are two separate entities, with different political
persuasions and probably with different priorities.
But I know that there is one thing that we do have in
common and that is serving the best interests of the youth of
We have come here today because we believe
that COPE Youth Movement can be a reliable partner in our
efforts to better the lives of South Africans and improve the
sustainable livelihoods of youth. But as we begin the journey of
discovering what it is that we can do together let me first
introduce my beloved IFP to you. The purpose of the IFPYB is to
serve the people of South Africa in the spirit of Ubuntu. That
is reason why we get out of bed every morning - to serve the
people of South Africa. Not ourselves but the people.
Our three fundamental values, which determine
our behaviour and actions are; Freedom, Solidarity and Unity in
diversity. That, in a nutshell, is who we are and forms the
basis of how we will interact with you.
The reality is that all is not well in South
Africa. Our country is characterised by unprecedented
corruption, lawlessness, fraud, nepotism and a total disregard
for service delivery. We need to make things right. We cannot
accept the continued prevalence of dodgy deals and tenders. We
must restore order. We must reclaim our freedom. And we must
bridge the gap between the "have-nots" and the "haves-too-much."
The IFP believes that we have a responsibility
to unite and strengthen the voice of opposition youth
formations, because the greater majority of South Africans, and
especially the Youth, struggle with serious poverty,
unemployment and economic exclusion. I am sure you will agree
that government has failed outright when it comes to youth
economic opportunity and sustainability.
It is our conviction that working together we
can begin to reverse the tide of entitlement, cynicism,
hopelessness and despair that has swept up the youth of South
Africa. We cannot allow ourselves to become victims by sitting
idly by while only those with the loudest voices are heard. We
have to do something to make a difference for now and for the
future. We believe that if we shout together our collective
voice will be easier to hear. And as our voice becomes louder
and louder we must always be very careful that our aim is not to
serve ourselves but the people of South Africa in the spirit of
We therefore propose today the formation of a
multi-sector grassroots movement, led by the youth of South
Africa to save our democracy and freedom. We need to unite our
efforts and stand up and be the vanguards of democracy.
We can no longer standby and allow the ANCYL
to dominate the youth political scene. Our perceived silence
allows the Youth League to mislead the youth of our country.
It is our intention that we meet continuously
in the future to explore ways and means of uniting our input
into the developmental discourse of our country.
The raging debate on the nationalisation of
mines and other major economic entities as a means of economic
freedom is one we cannot afford to overlook.
It needs our input as we all seek to find a
new, comprehensive, effective and efficient programme of action
for job creation within the parameters and confines of an
economy that is struggling to grow. The fact that unemployment
levels are at 25% compels us to speedily confront unemployment
with a renewed sense of urgency.
The Youth Brigade is not convinced that the
nationalisation of mines and other economic entities is going to
induce the much needed economic freedom for the youth and the
people of South Africa in general. It is our view that the
creation of jobs is the joint responsibility of both government
and business. We must put renewed pressure on the business
sector to pursue more development programmes, particularly in
rural areas, in keeping with their corporate social
The National Youth Development Agency was
created, as its name says, to facilitate youth development yet
it has failed in many respects to make a meaningful contribution
in this regard. Over the years, successive Youth Brigade
Conferences have repeatedly called for the creation of a
National Youth Ministry in order to ensure that youth issues are
prioritised. Unfortunately our calls have fallen on deaf ears.
We believe that a National Youth Ministry
1. Be focused on implementation rather than
2. Operate in all three spheres of government;
3. Take the form of a fully-fledged and well-resourced Youth
Ministry enabled to rapidly implement positive youth development
and take responsibility for all youth affairs.
The status quo of the current situation should
not be allowed to continue.
We should not allow youth development to be
placed "outside" government as is currently. It is regrettable,
but not surprising, that the NYDA has become nothing more than
an employment agency for the youth of the ruling party.
We continue to advocate for "education for
liberation" and "education for life". We expect government and
business to fully resource all our schools and capacitate
teachers with modern skills and knowledge to ensure quality
education. We must give education the seriousness it deserves,
if we are serious about our future. It is beyond worrying that
17 years into our democratic dispensation previously
disadvantaged schools find themselves presently disadvantaged.
We have approached other opposition youth
formations with a view to engage them as we are doing with you
today. We are hopeful that in the future we may broaden our
discussions and interactions through a multi-party summit of
opposition youth formations, such that we may consolidate unity
and strengthen our democracy and freedom.
It is our hope and belief that we will have
productive, positive and meaningful talks today. For the sake of
the youth of South Africa, may we be frank, forthright and
honest in our deliberations.
I thank you!
Contact: Mkhuleko Hlengwa
IFP Youth Brigade National Chairperson
083 871 2711