When I see young men and women of the calibre of the IFP Youth, I am deeply encouraged for the future of South Africa. This is the next generation of leaders in politics, industry, commerce and business. The future prosperity of our country will be built on the backs of young people such as these. When I see your enthusiasm, your commitment and your ability to take the initiative, as you have done tonight in organising this fundraising dinner, I trust that our future will see the vision fulfilled for a liberated, prosperous and stable South Africa.

It is a pleasure for me to join you this evening as we come together to break bread and enjoy entertainment. This evening’s dinner, however, also carries a more serious note as we consider the theme of South Africa’s path to economic recovery. This occasion gives us the opportunity to put forward the IFP’s vision, a vision which has been spoken of, advocated, celebrated and espoused for 27 years. Throughout that time, our vision has not changed. We have adjusted our perspective according to the changing requirements of the times, but we have not moved away from a deeply rooted commitment to seek accelerated economic growth for South Africa, for the benefit of all our people.

This evening, I welcome the opportunity to speak once again on where the IFP is working to take South Africa. We have a vision for South Africa’s future which is practical, workable and focused on long-term, sustainable success. Throughout our country’s history, time and time again, the IFP has been proven right in seeking a path which may not have been the most popular or the easiest to take. We have most often sought the hard path, because we know that when it comes to achieving the fullest measure of what may be done, it is worth putting in the extra effort. We have never been intimidated by hard work. Honest hard work has been the backbone of success in this country for generations. On that front, nothing has changed.

Before we consider such serious matters, however, it would be remiss not to properly thank the IFP Youth Brigade for the sterling task it has performed in facilitating tonight’s fundraising banquet. As the President of the Inkatha Freedom Party, it is my privilege to congratulate our youth and to deliver the praise they rightly deserve. I am committed to supporting the youth of my Party, because I see in them not only our future, but a future waiting to be shaped to greatness. I must admit that I often have more time for the IFP youth than I do for some of my older colleagues. The sense of right perspective and patriotism so evident among these young people, inspires me to continue in my often difficult leadership role.

I appreciate that each of us gathered here this evening intimately understands the connection between our youth and our future. When our youth have the boldness to organise an event such as this, I am pleased that we come out to support them. I believe that the men and women gathered here tonight are those who see our preferred future and who know what it will take to achieve it. An initiative such as this is an essential part of operating a political party anywhere in the world. Without finances, good programmes remain good intentions. Even the most visionary leadership will not inspire a successful revolution unless there are resources to see the revolution through. In the end, for a party to achieve its goals, money must be available to support it.

The central goal of the IFP has always been the true and complete liberation of all the people of South Africa. Political liberation is but a first step in the direction we have charted as a nation. What must now follow is liberation from poverty and adverse circumstances, liberation from unemployment, liberation from ignorance for lack of education, experience and opportunity, and liberation from a lack of progress within such a rapidly changing, rapidly evolving global world. There is no contradiction in seeking to feed the poorest of the poor while at the same time supporting technological leaps. One must be able to see the long-term needs of our country and envision how we may meet them.

For this reason, the IFP has one foot in the community and one in the global village. We know that unless we keep pace with what is happening in the world around us, the problems we face today will become magnified beyond our nightmares tomorrow. I must restate, however, that our firm commitment is to the people of South Africa. There is a vast ocean of need which requires our immediate attention. Today, mouths need to be fed. Today, children require schooling. Today, many South Africans lack skills which could secure their employment. Today, people live in fear of criminality. Today, there is a lack of integrity in leadership which is stirring the currents of a wave of uprising in which South Africa’s people are calling for a stronger and more committed government.

The revolution of goodwill which has become the IFP’s insignia can already be seen rising among our communities. Throughout our country, people are standing up and demanding that we right the wrongs in our society. Many of the social issues we face require a change in the hearts and minds of our people. The demise of criminality requires a change in the attitude of individuals towards the rule of law. As I repeatedly warn, the rule of law must replace the rule of man. The end of abuse requires a paradigm shift in which individuals begin to receive the respect they are due merely because they are human beings with equal dignity. Ultimately, a change in our society requires a change in the hearts and minds of our people.

But until that change is achieved, there is a tremendous amount which needs to be done now, and this work requires money. The fight against existing criminality requires resources for strengthening policing and improving our justice system. Solving the existing malaise of poverty-stricken communities demands that we have cash in hand to feed, to clothe and to house. I have always been a firm advocate of federalism. I believe that provinces must be empowered with greater autonomy so that problems on the ground can be solved on the ground. I deeply appreciate the support the IFP receives from those who recognise the value of this vision. The IFP has made it clear that provinces know what is best for provinces, and do not need to be dictated to by a central government which lacks appreciation for the real needs of the people.

The IFP has been a forerunner in showing how provinces are able to make decisions which are in the best interests of the people, even when national government opposes such decisions. The issue of making anti-retroviral drugs available to pregnant women, thereby saving the lives of thousands of newborn babies, is a case in point. The IFP took a strong leadership position and saved lives. It is vital that parties which provide strong leadership are empowered, supported and strengthened. In fact, it is essential to South Africa that the IFP grows stronger. We have never abused power and we do not seek power for power’s sake. We use the power we are given by the people to push for the best interests of the people to be respected.

In this pursuit, we have constantly made our contribution in the national Cabinet. We have carried the IFP vision into international fora. We are operating at the top to see change delivered. But we have never forgotten who we work for. It is the people on the ground who matter to the IFP. For this reason, we continue to work within our poorest communities to meet their immediate needs, while we look at long-term paths which can take us to a sustainable solution. There are always ways and means. Conquering the present seeming lack of ways and means demands a change in the defeatist attitude so prevalent in our nation. As Henry Ford, the American innovator, once said, "Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you are right."

Opportunities are available for those bold enough to seek them. This evening, the IFP Youth Brigade has shown us that the opportunity to raise funds for a political party is present and ready to be grasped. Unlike more established democracies throughout the world, we in South Africa have not yet inculcated the notion that support for political parties must entail financial support. During the years of apartheid, extraordinary financial contributions were made by individuals to liberation parties in support of the vision of freedom in South Africa. I regret that the IFP never had the resources available to other parties, but I will forever be proud that this fact gave us the opportunity to prove the degree of our internal commitment.

Many of you will recall the historic meeting which took place in London in 1979 between myself and a delegation of Inkatha, and Dr Oliver Tambo and a delegation of the ANC’s leadership in exile. At that time, we lacked the funding for our delegation to travel abroad. But we recognised the importance of our coming together at that time and knew that the meeting we would hold would determine the path of South Africa’s history in the years ahead. Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe prided itself on being the only political home of the oppressed people within South Africa in which membership fees were fully paid up. Still, money opens opportunities, and we required further resources to attend the London meeting. I am proud to say that we raised that money internally. We raised the money, we made the trip and South Africa’s history was changed.

Since its inception in 1975, Inkatha has relied on its own initiative to raise sufficient funds to fulfil the goals we have set ourselves. As Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, I worked with our poorest communities to raise the money to build schools and clinics and houses, when little or no funding came to us from the central government. From years of experience, I know that money is available. When money is poured into a sound programme, it is able to deliver good results. It is like preparing a field, tilling it, ploughing it and sowing one’s seed. When everything is done, one must wait for the rain. If no rain comes, no matter how hard one worked, nothing will be produced. Finances are the rain of provision which will cause us to produce as a political party.

Financial support for political parties is the life-blood of a successful democracy. I make this statement boldly, because I believe it is crucial that South Africa receives this message. Democracy flourishes when there is a diversity of viable political parties making their contribution. At all costs, we must avoid cultivating a one-party State simply by disabling opposition parties through a lack of funds. I regret that among emerging black businessmen there is no culture of contributing money to political parties. Regardless of their allegiance, it is essential that those who are able to make a contribution do so to two or three political parties, in order to strengthen our democracy. We must accept the responsibility of making an investment towards consolidating democracy in South Africa.

Democracy has taken root, but its roots are not yet strong enough to survive a drought. Without the rain of provision, our smaller political parties may not survive and the ominous threat of a one-party State may become a reality. This is what the IFP is fighting to avoid. We do not believe it is in the best interests of South Africa for one party to hold all the power. It is inconceivable that a party would steal more power from the people they serve, not for the sake of better governance, but for the sake of more power. Yet the crossing of the floor legislation, of which I am sure you must all be aware, enables this daylight robbery of power. The IFP believes, and we are arguing strongly, that it is unconstitutional to change a political mandate midstream.

Democracy is not being upheld or respected when people whom voters elected to represent them on the lists of a particular party, cross the floor to another party and take with them all the votes which elected them, and their seat. If one is elected under one party, it is outright deceit to steal those votes and take them to another party. If voters want to change their mandate from one party to another, they must be empowered to do so through an election. Nothing gives a ruling party the right to decide what is best for the people or what they think the people should want. That is not what democracy is all about. Even the title "elected representative" speaks clearly of the fact that in a democracy, political office bearers are elected to their positions on a party list. They do not choose their positions in whatever party they like best today, and hop over to another tomorrow.

Moreover, elected representatives represent the people. They give a voice to the voice of the people. They do not decide what the people should say. These are facts that should be deeply ingrained in any democracy. It is extremely concerning that it is not so in South Africa. There appears to be no respect for democratic principles amongst those who seek to steal power. Yet there are those parties which will always stand up for democracy and demand that the right thing be done. Whenever a ruling party goes astray, there must be a strong opposition to correct it for the sake of the people. Opposition parties are there to protect democracy. They exist to ensure that those in power do not abuse the will of the people or abuse their position. The IFP has always performed a watchdog role, because of its deep commitment to democracy and South Africa. As I have said, it is essential that South Africans make an investment in democracy by financially supporting diverse political parties.

People may be hesitant to make such an investment in countries in which democracy is already consolidated, such as in England. I was surprised, when visiting London last week, to learn that even the ruling Labour Party is six million pounds in the red. Parties throughout the world are struggling for money. Yet there are few individuals and organisations who are willing to make a financial contribution towards a party, particularly in South Africa. I suspect that many people are unaware that such a financial contribution is in truth an investment in democracy. Therefore, I must praise those who are gathered in this venue tonight for your insight and commitment to democracy in South Africa. Your support of this fundraising dinner speaks of your support for South Africa’s prosperous future. For that, I thank you.

For years I have promoted just this type of fundraising event within my Party, underscoring my belief that the Youth Brigade, like all structures of the IFP, must have autonomy to carry out their programmes in support of development, training, community upliftment and service delivery. I take great pride in the Youth Brigade of the IFP. Throughout the years, brilliant young men and women have cut their teeth in the Youth Brigade and have gone on to prove themselves outstanding patriots and leaders. The IFP Youth Brigade is indeed a seedbed in which we grow leaders. From this structure, creative and innovative ideas have emerged which could bring great benefits to our people. The Youth Brigade certainly does not lack initiative, determination or vision.

Time and again, I have emphasised that good ideas need money to back them up and help them become reality. This fact is relevant from the smallest level of social activity, to the macro-economic level of national policies. This is evident today. With the demise of apartheid, equality was entrenched in our Constitution and we sought to reform the entire body of law within South Africa to meet the requirement of equal dignity and equal opportunity. Faced with the dramatically uneven distribution of resources in the South Africa we had inherited, government became determined to pursue redistribution as a means of redressing wide-spread poverty. However, to anyone honestly considering the reality, it is clear that redistribution alone could never redress poverty. There are simply insufficient resources to cover the social landscape.

What we need is to accelerate our economic growth so that we will have the resources available to meet the vast needs of our people. Since 1994, the IFP has made its contribution and voiced its long-term vision strongly at the national level of government. As part of the constitutionally mandated Government of National Unity, we advocated economic policies which we knew to be the best way of achieving the long-term goal of economic prosperity. We supported the government’s Growth, Employment and Redistribution programme, as it represented our own socially responsible free market policies. Regrettably, due to inept management, GEAR lost much of its initial potential to promote economic growth and failed to deliver all that we had hoped.

As a member of the present Cabinet, I must state that the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Jeff Radebe, is doing his best within the constraints of what he is trying to achieve, to privatise the State's assets. But as you all know, the pace of doing what he is trying to do, could have been faster were it not for the fact that the ruling Party's alliance partners, the South African Communist party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), are opposing privatisation. You have seen members of the SACP and COSATU on your television screens dancing to the chant "ASIYIFUNI GEAR" (we do not want GEAR). In other words, they reject the Government's macro-economic strategy. You have seen what happened to Minister Radebe last week, when the South African Communist Party Politburo included him amongst those Ministers of President Mbeki who they booted out of the Politburo.

The question one asks is whether in the midst of so much poverty amongst our people, we can afford these kind of squabbles at the expense of economic growth. It is quite clear that one of the reasons why there is such limited economic growth and virtually no investments coming into our country, is this very squabble. We know that we need economic growth desperately in order to create jobs. Politics will soon mean very little to our youth who are the ones who suffer the consequences of the joblessness that the country is suffering from. Even the fact that our country's fiscal policies are so good has not caused investors to be attracted to our country to invest.

A 1999 household survey showed that unemployment amongst our youth was about 45 per cent. When I was the Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government we created jobs, particularly in this Province. We stood against campaigns for economic sanctions against South Africa and against campaigns for disinvestment. We did not join those who adopted these policies as liberation strategies, for we could see that the people who would suffer the consequences of sanctions and disinvestment were our very poorest of the poor. Exactly what we predicted has happened, and our country is in dire straits economically.

The IFP has consistently advocated and supported the development of a special programme of job creation. We advocated the need to attract increased levels of direct fixed investment, which could significantly expand South Africa’s industrial base. We advocated the need to facilitate the competitive development of business in South Africa, the liberalising of domestic trade and financial markets, and greater labour market flexibility. We promoted the introduction of more cost effective fiscal management in government, including a faster reduction of State debt. These are policies we continue to support and put forward. Our commitment remains to accelerate South Africa’s rate of economic growth.

It is interesting to see how through the years, as the policies of the majority Party failed to deliver, they quietly began adopting the IFP vision which for years had been ignored, ridiculed and pushed aside. The paths we advocated were not easy or popular, but they were the best and right paths to take. In the end, the majority Party recognised that we were right, if not openly, then surely by their actions.

The value of the IFP for South Africa’s successful future has been noted. I am pleased to say that the grassroots people whom we have served for 27 years realised how important the IFP’s presence in South Africa is long before our political opponents were willing to concede to it. I maintained a close dialogue with the liberation leadership in exile after the 1979 meeting in London. Former President Nelson Mandela and I wrote to each other frequently. We kept up our correspondence throughout his incarceration and remain good friends. My comrades in the liberation struggle knew the importance of Inkatha as a component of our then unfolding history. But I feel it was the ordinary people with whom we lived, with whom we wept and laboured and became victims of violence, who truly understood that without Inkatha, South Africa would fail to achieve her destiny. Today everyone is talking about the President's Vukuzenzele/Letsema clarion call and yet the IFP has always advocated self-help and self-reliance.

Today, The IFP is working hard and constantly to achieve the victory of complete liberation. The road behind us is long and filled with painful memories. The road ahead is filled with obstacles and potential victories. For me, it has been an honour to walk this road with IFP faithfuls such as those who are gathered here tonight. Were it not for people such as you, our sacrifices would not have been worth making. Were it not for the trust between us, we could not have come this far. Were it not for the support of our people, South Africa may have been left with an Inkatha which never grew into the mighty Party we are today. I am proud of the IFP. I am proud to walk side by side with you, our supporters. There is really no distinction between the two of us. The people are the IFP. The IFP is the people. I thank you for your committed support throughout the years and for your support of the IFP Youth Brigade at our banquet dinner tonight.

May our democracy be strengthened as the financial rain of provision nourishes a vital part of South Africa. As this rain reaches the roots of our country, may the IFP grow. May the harvest be great for the people of South Africa.