22nd ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE IFP YOUTH BRIGADE

ON THE THEME OF

THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF THE IFP YOUTH IN THE STRUGGLE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND IN ALL ELECTION CAMPAIGNS


ADDRESS BY
MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI, MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

ULUNDI, EMANDLENI-MATLENG: SEPTEMBER 2, 2000

The Master of Ceremonies; the National Chairperson of the Youth Brigade, Mr MB Khawula; Mr LM Mthombeni who conducted opening prayers; the National Chairman, Mr LPHM Mtshali; the General Secretary of Administration, Mr MZ Khumalo; members of the Royal House present and amaKhosi; the National Chairperson of the Women's Brigade, Mrs FX Gasa; the Chairperson Emeritus of the Youth Brigade, the Rev KM Zondi; Ministers of Religion present; members of the National Council; Members of the national Parliament; members of provincial Parliaments; Mayors, Councillors and Indunas present; delegates to this Conference, members of the IFP, my brothers and sisters.

From the time we founded Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe/Kgare ya Tokoloho ya Setjhaba (The National Cultural Liberation Movement) we recognised the importance of our youth and of our women in the liberation struggle. The two wings of our liberation movement were placed directly under the President because we realised from the outset the crucial role they would play in the liberation struggle which indeed they have played with such great distinction.

For many years I warned, as President of the Inkatha Freedom Party, that after the political emancipation of South Africa, we will be faced with a more onerous struggle to achieve real freedom for all our people. No one can doubt that my warnings were almost prophetic. The challenges of our development still centre on the three things we highlighted when Inkatha was formed. In our very first constitution we stated that for freedom to be meaningful it will have to be freedom from poverty, ignorance and disease. Our nation has never felt as trapped by these evils as we have since we achieved our political freedom. Without conquering these three evils, there can be no real development of our Nation, and without development we can not speak of real freedom for our entire Nation.

I therefore come to this Conference to again highlight the crucial role of our youth as encapsulated in the theme for this Conference: "THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF THE IFP YOUTH IN THE STRUGGLE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND IN ALL ELECTION CAMPAIGNS." In several of my speeches I have stressed this role that the IFP youth should play. Today I have come to emphasise to youth that without them playing these crucial roles we can never achieve real freedom in South Africa. We should make this a turning point which will be remembered when generations to come speak of the year 2000. I want to emphasise up-front that we as the older generation are not asking our youth to do us a favour by playing this role. In accepting this role today, the IFP youth will be doing a favour not only to themselves but to future generations. They will be seen in retrospect as having ensured the real fulfilment of the liberation struggle. There are some amongst us whose days on this planet are numbered and who have played their role. But the future belongs to you and if you today turn over a new page and turn this Party around, you will only be ensuring that your future is secure and that life that is still ahead of you will be worth living.

Our youth today have to deal with the scourge of HIV/AIDS which is the most serious threat of all to the youth and to our entire Nation. This is a challenge which looms larger than all the challenges that our youth faces. We do need an IFP strategy to face this pandemic.

While the constitution guarantees a free education, it is clear that we are not going to have it in the near future because there are just no resources to do so at present. The up-grading of the schools of the previously disadvantaged communities, particularly African schools, will take more than 35 years to achieve. So we must look again at the strategy which sustained us during the liberation struggle - self help and self-reliance.

The youth played a historical role in our liberation struggle. It was a difficult role and often a problematic and contradictory one. The judgement of history may still be outstanding on the effectiveness and long-term benefits of the role played by certain segments of the youth in our liberation struggle during the 80's. It is possible that some of the most destructive aspects of activities in which the youth was engaged, may not have brought our struggle forward and have created set-backs with which we still have to deal, such as in the field of education. However, irrespective of the judgement of history, it is an incontrovertible fact that the youth was prominently present throughout our struggle for political liberation and played a very significant role. Here I am speaking of the youth of South Africa, including our IFP youth, as I have made clear over and over again.

Our struggle for liberation is not over, but in many respects has just begun. I have never fought merely to give our people the right to go to a voting station to elect political representatives every few years. I fought for much more, and I belong to a generation of political leaders who conceived our struggle as a long path towards social stability and economic prosperity, so as to free all South Africans from the yoke of poverty, unemployment, ignorance and abject social and economic conditions. For us, the right of political franchise was meant to be a turning point so that we could utilise our political freedom and our finally achieved power of self-determination to manufacture a better future for ourselves and our posterity. I have never felt that we have arrived just because a few of us now sit cosy and comfortable in parliamentary offices, or occupy ministerial positions in Cape Town and Pretoria. I should have slowed down the pace at which I work when political freedom was achieved in 1994. But the only reason why I have doubled my pace and continued to burn the midnight oil, is precisely because the struggle continues - aluta continua as the Frelimo Party of Mozambique stated when they achieved their own political freedom.

Our struggle for liberation remains on the same path which we undertook in KwaZulu when Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe was first formed in 1975. The path of liberation remains that of development, development, and more development. Our political freedom should have strengthened our resolve to march down this path and quickened our pace, without anyone believing that the direction has changed or the time has come to relax and sleep in the sun.  The Annual General Conference of the IFP this year has reaffirmed the mission of the IFP as that of promoting development at community level. We stand for bottom-up development and we have always championed the culture of self-help and self-reliance. At no time is it more clear than when I came out with the twin pillars of our philosophy of self- help and self-reliance, that this was prophetic. Never has it been clearer than is the case now, that if we do not embrace the culture of self-help and self-reliance even more than ever before, we as a Nation will perish. 

No one needs to be educated on the truism that those who believed that the dawn of democratic rule by itself would be a panacea for all the social and economic ills of our Nation, were terribly mistaken. I do believe that even if our governments, both at national and provincial levels, were doing their best, their efforts alone will not achieve our development and our real freedom. It is clear that we are nowhere near triumphing over poverty, ignorance and disease. And there is not even a beam of light at the end of the dark tunnel that we are travelling at present. The real beginning of our struggle should be the realisation that for now and in the foreseeable future, there will be no manna for us.

I state without apportioning any blame, that in a way, on this route of development we seem to have had more set-backs since we arrived at our liberation destiny, than we did before.  This of course looks more exaggerated because of the unrealistic expectations that many of our people had, that achieving political freedom meant arriving at a veritable El Dorado where everything would blossom, and that the land would literally flow with milk and honey.  No one has any illusion by this time that such a dream has not come true. It is this which presents us with a great challenge as citizens of this country. 

The youth must exercise the role of protagonists in promoting the struggle for development.  We need to build a new country which in its entirety is devoted to development in all its forms. We need to develop the physical infrastructure of our communities by building new roads, new schools, hospitals and police stations. We need to develop the economy and productive capacity of our communities by creating community-based enterprises and businesses. We need to develop job opportunities. However, we must also focus on intangible forms of development which are often more important than physical development and are at the beginning of the cycle of economic development.

We must uplift our people by developing their life-skills, knowledge, educational profile, work expertise and productivity. We must also develop the moral fibre of our communities and the psychological and spiritual health of our people, both as individuals and as members of communities, families and work-places. The struggle for development has all these diversified but interlinked kaleidoscopic facets. It is the role of the youth to become active in promoting development at community level in all these forms. Developing our communities, uplifting our people and promoting visible growth, are the objectives of our revolution of goodwill. We need to identify projects and opportunities in each community to promote development and embody the spirit of the revolution of goodwill by bringing people together to work for themselves to better their conditions of life. The struggle for development begins at community level, but cannot end there. We need to have a government equally committed to development, development, and more development. We need to have a government which understands that the struggle for liberation is not yet finished. This understanding and commitment to the struggle for development must be equally present at the national level of government as well as at the local level. That is why the role of our youth in all elections is so crucial. Local government is going to be crucial in the struggle for development, because its services are the most vital to promote growth and upliftment. However, it must be kept in mind that development does not happen merely by virtue of actions of government. Government can stimulate but not produce economic growth. It can build roads, but cannot open shops on the side of the road and employ people to work there. We need a community based culture of self-help and self-reliance to rendezvous with a government committed to the struggle for development.

We must draw upon the true soul of the IFP to position our Party to be the leader of the struggle for development. We were born out of this struggle and we are destined to lead it. The youth must become the front-runners of this struggle. The time has come to unleash the full potential of the contribution which the youth can make to the growth of our Party and to the struggle for development. As I have often stated, even from this podium, the IFP Youth Brigade is the legs on which our Party must run towards its future success.  The most important stage of our struggle for development remains the victory which we must secure for the IFP in the next local government elections. 

Local government needs the contribution of a strong and successful IFP to transform itself into an engine of development. We need a local government which understands that the struggle for development continues. We need a local government that will not fall prey to the temptation of believing that we have arrived just because councillors have been elected.  We need an IFP local government. The local government we get will be the product of the campaign we run. For this reason, I have come here to ensure that the campaign we run will produce a local government which makes the IFP grow and promotes the struggle for development.

Today I wish to make some important announcements about how the IFP will be running its election campaign. I have chosen this venue because the election campaign will need to be run on the legs of the Youth Brigade. I count on the youth to make us win these elections, and we are here to unleash the full potential of the contribution our young people can make to make the elections a success. I am here to announce that I have accepted the suggestion that an election campaign be designed around the need to accommodate the contribution that the youth can make towards its success. We have shaped it to make it possible for the youth to prove its worth in a constructive, dedicated and disciplined manner.

Today, I want us to turn the Party around and set it on a different course towards its ever- growing electoral successes. Today, I want us to turn the Party around to make it win in the 2000 elections and in the 2004 elections. I have thought long and hard about what the Party needs and what the country needs, and consulted the leadership of the IFP. I have heard the suggestions and proposals of the strategic think tank which I appointed to chart the way forward. They have done an excellent job and have come up with a comprehensive strategy to unleash the potential of the IFP's soul and meet the demands of South Africa. I have come here today to give my seal of approval to some aspects of this strategy and to call upon the youth to become the legs upon which this strategy can run towards its success.  Today, we mark the turning point which will build a new, younger and more effective IFP which, indeed, will become one with the pulsating heart and soul of South Africa in its march towards development, development, and more development.

The IFP will be running a grassroots electoral campaign to reach out for people outside its existing constituencies and to become their mouthpiece in the struggle for development.  We shall join people, rather than asking people to join us. We will bring the IFP to the people because the people need the IFP without the presumption of bringing people to the IFP. We will go where the people are to join them in their activities, in their events and in their happiness and sorrow, to bring the participation of the IFP into their lives and activities.  We are the party which stands for the people and with the people, because we are the only party which has not forgotten the people. We have never forgotten that the struggle must continue. We have shouted in the past: aluta continua! And we shout aluta continua today.

A grassroots electoral campaign belongs to everyone and is the responsibility of everyone in the IFP. Our election management headquarters will need to support and resource the efforts of our structures on the ground. Our structures on the ground must be organised around our election candidates who carry the primary responsibility to reach out for the people and support them in their activities. The youth must operate around each election candidate. We need to have a myriad of small election teams which, like commandos, move in the territory in a visible fashion, and under the leadership of our election candidates to signify the IFP support and care for the people, and our presence within communities.

Each team will be resourced with flyers and T-shirts to be distributed to people. It is our intention to join people where people are within events that are organised by people in the pursuit of their activities and interests. As I have said over and over again, the IFP must be where the people work, play, worship and exercise their activities. Where there are more than fifty people, the IFP shall be with its flyers, T-shirts and other material to be distributed, along with the message of support from the IFP leadership for the endeavours that people undertake to better the conditions of life at community level.

Each of our teams must be present at entrances to stadiums to distribute our flyers and T- shirts and to support the players, the singers or whoever else is providing entertainment.  The IFP must be present where people are cleaning roads, to support them with tangible contributions and help. The IFP must be present in old age homes, hospitals, schools and on campuses. IFP teams must wait for people at entrances to work-places to distribute flyers and T-shirts and interact with them.

Each of these activities does not need, nor should they wait for, national leadership inputs.  They must be driven and co-ordinated by ward candidates and must be implemented mainly by the youth within our Party, who must report to candidates. We should not rely on organising our own events or calling meetings which are often attended only by people who are already IFP supporters and whom we already know. We need to reach out for new constituencies and join events organised by others with a visible IFP presence. While it is important for us to have meetings at branch level to share our collective wisdom for election purposes, this is definitely not enough. In each township, squatter camp, community or neighbourhood, there are major events taking place every week, including religious services, markets, exhibitions, sports events, concerts and social gatherings. Under the leadership of each IFP candidate, the IFP's participation must be tailored to the nature of the event to avoid at all costs that we are or we become perceived as being intrusive or inappropriate. For instance, religious events are not the place where people should talk politics, but they can still go and pray with the congregation and perhaps distribute flyers at the exit.

As we enter communities and unleash the potential of our structures on the ground and our youth, we must strengthen our commitment to abide by the strictest possible code of ethics.  We talk to people to help them, not to convince them. We must respect the fact that many people may not like the IFP or may believe that they are our opponents. We must respect their opinions and exercise the maximum measure of tolerance for different opinions or political allegiances, even within communities which are IFP strongholds. We have always been the party of peace, reconciliation and non-violence and, under no condition whatsoever, shall anyone ever accept any provocation or allow any of our electoral activities to degenerate into confrontational tones or violence of any type. 

We reject confrontation and do not accept even the possibility that violence and intimidation may again contaminate electoral activity. Violence has always been used against the IFP to reduce our electoral success and benefit our opponents. The IFP will not accept our opponents once again resorting to violence, for too often we have been the victim of violence and it shall be known that this time around we will not stand for it. 

The crucial element of an effective grassroots election campaign is the selection of candidates who are real leaders of people. The IFP will not carry candidates who are not leaders of communities in their own right and cannot galvanise and mobilise people towards the struggle for development. It shall be the responsibility of our Regional Election Committees to select candidates with real constituencies and, to this end and when it is necessary, by virtue of my presidential prerogative, I instruct them to disregard any nomination they may have received from branches or the incumbents in office. At times, candidates may have the support of branches but not sufficient support within the constituency which the branch is meant to service. 

Some of the incumbents may have failed us in the past and we shall not allow them to fail us again. For this reason, the nomination of candidates who have not delivered in the past or have not developed a proven constituency outside party structures, such as their own branches, shall not be considered. I also instruct Regional Election Committees to work beyond the limits of the nominations they receive. They must go out into communities and seek out real leaders of people and community role models, even amongst those who do not have a track record of prior IFP allegiance, to convince them to run for the IFP, possibly on our list. We should not reject more competent people as candidates even if they have just converted to the IFP, as long as they are competent.

Our head office and our election management structures should empower candidates to be as effective as possible in the grassroots election campaign. It must help them identify all social events and must provide them with basic training on how to canvass, talk to people, and be visible. One of the main responsibilities of each candidate shall remain that of identifying and training Party agents. Without properly trained and loyal Party agents, we run the risk of again becoming the victim of electoral fraud which, during the 1999 elections, cost the IFP hundreds of thousands of votes. Were it not for this election fraud, the IFP's success in the last elections would have been clear and incontrovertible. 

When our Party fails to field party agents in all possible polling stations, they thereby hand over electoral victories to our opponents. I am tired of leaders, as happened in 1996, coming to tell me afterwards that at such and such a polling station, there were only party agents of a certain party, and that no IFP party agents were present. It is a disgrace for IFP members to talk like this because they are supposed to do the same as other parties and field party agents who are the only people who can look after the interests of our Party. It is no use failing to field Party agents and then come out crying: foul! foul! afterwards. There is certainly wisdom in the saying that we should not cry over spilt milk.

Candidates must be capable and dynamic and must be able to carry the Party on the long march ahead. For this reason, I feel that we should reward younger generations so as to create the nursery of future leadership necessary to ensure the long-term success and renewal of our Party. For this reason, I have accepted the suggestion that our selection of candidates reflects a flexible policy which includes young candidates as well. In as much as we do not want an imbalance where you have only very old people as candidates, let us also not have an imbalance where we have only very young candidates. Let us balance age groups and avoid the preponderance of either age group to the exclusion of the other. 

In the same breath I must stress that the priority of our IFP leadership should be that of building local government. Local government is the greatest responsibility that any politician may aspire to fulfil. The future of South Africa hinges on the success of local government.  If local government fails, South Africa is doomed. There should be no greater ambition than serving in local government at this crucial juncture in our struggle for democracy and development. For this reason, I was very saddened when some youth leaders sought to disregard local government responsibilities to seek office in the provincial or national legislatures. When things like that happen, I wonder whether people have really understood the message which I have painstakingly propagated for more than half a century, which is the lesson that politics is service. People should enter politics not because they want to be served by others, but because they have the genuine vocation of being servants of the people. The only honour is that of serving. Let us understand that to be a leader means to be a slave of the community. I think that the Latin word for a slave is servus. No one who is not prompted by that spirit of service should stand as our candidate for elections.

The IFP is serious about deploying its best human resources to make local government work and succeed. The IFP is serious about succeeding in local government and winning these elections. We are serious about winning the local government elections throughout the province of KwaZulu Natal, without exception, because South Africa needs a resounding IFP success to move the struggle for development forward. We are serious about winning Durban and providing it with the IFP leadership it needs to ensure that the struggle for development becomes part of the agenda of Durban. 

We need economic development in Durban at the highest possible levels of advanced industrial and technological production. We also need development as an endemic activity which produces job opportunities in the poorest areas of Durban and uplifts squatter camps and under-developed neighbourhoods. For this reason, the Party is thinking of deploying the most suitable person to lead the struggle for development in Durban as its candidate Mayor, such as the Deputy National Chairman of the IFP and current national Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, and former Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Dr BS Ngubane. I am merely sharing my thinking with you. There has been no finality of discussion on this particular issue.

Today, we turn the Party around and begin our grassroots election campaign. We are not going to fight this campaign through the media, which is hostile to us. We are fighting this election campaign in the hearts and minds of the people. Our balloons, our flyers and our posters will be seen throughout the land. We cannot afford to waste resources with high profile billboards, media advertisements or sophisticated electioneering techniques. We are a poor Party but we rely on you. We walk with the people, fight for the people and struggle to lead the people towards a better future. We have the sophistication of a long-term vision which has inspired us since our inception. We do not need sophisticated electoral techniques to articulate the voice of the people. We will not rely on high-profile rallies this time, but will speak through a thousand megaphones roaring from the countryside and urban communities alike, demanding that the struggle for development continues.

Let me stress that I mean it when I say that in the forthcoming elections we rely entirely on you to achieve us the electoral victory. Let me stress up-front that as a Party of the poorest of the poor, we are not able like other parties, to lavishly pay Party agents. This is what self- help and self-reliance is about. We achieved the political emancipation of our country through various sacrifices. In this same spirit, I appeal to you to be prepared to sacrifice in order to achieve our development and electoral success. I have no illusions about the fact that unless we get volunteers amongst our youth who are prepared to make sacrifices for our cause, we might as well fold up as a Party.

The KwaZulu Natal victory which the IFP achieved without any campaigning in 1994 was achieved by so many of our young people here in Ulundi and other parts of the country who sacrificed for it. I know that this has been made difficult now by other parties which are awash with money who can afford what we as a Party cannot afford. I am therefore appealing to principled people who are not for sale and who are prepared to stick to their principles whatever the cost to themselves. Real IFP youth have not been for sale in the past, and I hope that we shall have that breed of our youth who are not for sale even now. 

A new IFP is now on the move to provide the leadership our country needs to move forward.  Without our leadership, South Africa will remain in a rut of impotence, indolence and frustration. Without our leadership, the culture of lack of discipline, lack of respect and lack of direction will continue to grow until the country is paralysed into failure. We alone can provide the leadership to establish the discipline to move forward towards economic prosperity and social stability. From this point on our leadership moves forward with a new unleashed capacity.

A new aggressive, down-to-earth and visionary IFP is being born. It is born out of the soil of South Africa, which we never left. It is born out of the cries of South Africans for a better future, whom we never abandoned, forgot or left behind. It is born out of who we were and who we are meant to become by virtue of our destiny. A new IFP is born here out of the will of the young people to seize the reins of their destiny in manufacturing a better future for themselves and their posterity, through their hard work, discipline, productivity, dedication and individual initiative. This new Party moves forward together towards a future which now more than ever, belongs to the IFP.

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