National Elective Conference of
the South African Democratic Students' Movement

"Regaining Lost Ground Through Leadership Of Honesty And Integrity"
Brief Remarks And Introduction Of Guest Speaker
By Mkhuleko Hlengwa IFP Youth Brigade National Chairperson


 The Mangosuthu University of Technology: Umlazi: 6 August 2011


Today we meet almost two years after our last meeting. A lot has happened since then and we should be grateful that an opportunity has been granted to us to reflect on the past and chart a clear and informed direction forward with renewed leadership of honesty and integrity.

Today we meet to celebrate our survival after intense attacks were launched against this Movement in the form of the rogue activities of the then "Friends of VZ", who desperately wanted to use SADESMO to further their dirty political agenda of destroying the IFP, with the explicit help of the ANC.

I commend every single one of you for exercising political resilience, honesty and integrity of the highest order during those trying times. 

Your exemplary discipline has ensured that SADESMO lives another day. 

You have done South Africa an eternal favour. The continued existence of SADESMO is a national imperative.

On behalf of the IFP Youth Brigade I wish to convey our most sincere appreciation to Cde Ntuthuko Majozi and his entire leadership collective, from branches to provinces, to national, for a job well done in leading this Movement. You have proven beyond measure your genuine leadership strength, character and integrity.

We must now bring those qualities to bear as we consider some of the most pressing issues in our country.

Last week it was revealed in the Labour Force Survey that unemployment in South Africa had risen once again, from 25% to 25.7% in the second quarter of 2011. The continued lack of political will by the government to take unemployment seriously has resulted in this latest crisis. This is completely unacceptable. It is you that will bear the brunt of government's shortfalls. It is the youth who are the victims of the continued failure to create jobs.

The reckless debate on nationalisation is adding fuel to this fire that we ought to be putting out. It threatens the prospects for stable business activity and undermines investor confidence. The latest unemployment figures, coupled with this unnecessary talk of nationalisation, make it difficult to chart a clear direction forward in terms of job creation. We are faced with great uncertainty about our future.

The ANC government is fast failing South Africans. Their administration appears directionless and visionless. It is distressing that the number of unemployed people has increased by 174 000 to 4.5 million people. If we do not act with necessary speed, the patience and tolerance of the unemployed will regrettably turn into something uncontrollable. We are teetering on the brink of an unprecedented revolt, as frustration continues to mount. You can smell the stench of dissatisfaction throughout the country.

South Africans need jobs, and they need them fast. Government must create an environment for businesses and investors to create jobs. 

Government must also focus more on the development and maintenance of infrastructure and the provision of basic services.

As SADESMO, our focus is on matters of education to ensure that South Africa competes without compromise with international standards. We need an education system and curriculum that is responsive to the expectations of the job market. Education in this country receives the largest percentage share of the budget yet very little progress is being made to fully equip schools with the necessary resources to improve our situation. Previously disadvantaged schools are now presently disadvantaged. There is great neglect of education in this country. I call upon you all to step up to the task of improving education in South Africa.

It is my honour and privilege today to introduce our keynote speaker. 

In fact His Excellency Prince MG Buthelezi needs no introduction. He is an iconic international statesman who has served South Africa and the world for over fifty years. We are proud to call him our leader and comrade. He is a committed servant of the people. He is the anvil on which apartheid collapsed. He is a tried and tested leader, who has stood and passed the test of time.

In April 2002, former President Nelson Mandela said, "We have used every ammunition to destroy [Prince Buthelezi], but we have failed. 

And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him."

In June 2008, former President Thabo Mbeki said, "In the years since he stopped serving in the national government, I have made it a point to listen carefully to everything he says. Constantly, I have marvelled at his wisdom and his deep concern to sustain a value system that is critical to the survival of our democracy. I was very pleased, when, yesterday, the Hon Essop Pahad acknowledged Shenge's unfailing sense of courtesy. Even at my age, this is a deeply human characteristic I must emulate successfully from uMntwana wakwaPhindangene. Shenge, many thanks for everything you have done for all of us."

Shenge is rightly an international statesman with many accolades to his name. He has received numerous recognitions for his selfless and distinguished service to South Africa and the world, including -

- The King's Cross Award, awarded by HM King Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu in 1989
- The Key to the City of Birmingham, awarded by Alabama in 1989
- The Freedom of Ngwelezana, awarded by Ngwelezana in 1988
- The Unity, Justice and Peace Award, from the Inkatha Youth Brigade in 1988
- The Magna Award for Outstanding Leadership, awarded by Hong Kong in 1988
- Honorary Freedom of the City of Pinetown, awarded in 1986
- An Honorary LLD from Boston University in 1986
- The Nadaraja Award by the Indian Academy of South Africa in 1985
- Man of the Year, by Financial Mail in 1985
- Newsmaker of the Year, by the Pretoria Press Club in 1985
- An Honorary LLD from Tampa University, Florida in 1985
- Apostle of Peace (Rastriya Pita) by Pandit Satyapal Sharma of India in 1983
- The George Meany Human Rights Award by The Council of Industrial Organisation of the American
  Federation of Labour, in 1982
- The French National Order of Merit in 1981 Honorary LLD from the University of Cape Town in 1978
- Citation for Leadership by the District of Columbia Council, United States of America, in 1976
- An Honorary LLD from the University of Zululand in 1976
- Knight Commander of the Star of Africa for Outstanding Leadership, by President Tolbert of Liberia
  in 1975
- Newsmaker of the Year by the South African Society of Journalists, in 1973
- Man of the Year, by the Institute of Management Consultants of South Africa, in 1973, and
- The Freedom of Zululand in 2005

I introduce to you His Excellency uMntwana wakwaPhindangene, the President of the IFP, Member of Parliament, Inkosi yeSizwe SakwaButhelezi, uNdunankulu kaZulu, Chairman of the Zululand House of Traditional Leaders. I introduce to you The Man You Can Trust.