Lindelani Community Hall, KwaDukuza: 9 August
I wish to thank the Women's Brigade of the IFP
for bringing us together in celebration of national Women's Day.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the
city of Johannesburg to thank our supporters there for voting
for the IFP in the May 18th Local Government Elections.
Considering how negative commentators have been about the IFP
since the elections, some might have expected to see a subdued
and rather small group gathering to greet us in Johannesburg.
But the George Goch Stadium was filled with an enthusiastic
crowd, cheering us on and agreeing with the new mandate of the
IFP to engage opposition politics.
That was outside of KwaZulu Natal, where our
detractors like to pretend the IFP is no longer relevant. I am
pleased that the attendance here is just as good. The thing is,
no matter how disappointed we were with the election results and
no matter how often the doomsayers predict the IFP's demise, the
Local Government Election results saw the IFP regaining our
position as the third largest political party in South Africa.
This is surprising that this is so, in spite of all those of our
members who were deceived by our former Chairperson Ms
kaMagwaza-Msibi with her sleight of hand politics to defect with
her to form the new party.
Across South Africa more than a million votes
of support were cast for the IFP, whether they were for an IFP
councillor, an IFP-run municipality or an IFP-led district.
Voters were given two or three ballot papers on which to make
their choice, and some 1.3 million times the people chose the
But the mandate they gave us was not to
govern. Instead, the people have asked us through the ballot box
to take up their cause and fight for a better South Africa. They
have asked us to be their champion in setting right all that is
wrong with the governance of our country; from corruption to a
lack of moral leadership, from the inability to create jobs to a
lack of political will to adopt the right economic policies.
Everyone knows we need a better education
system, better policing, a better housing programme and better
health care. But what the people of South Africa are now
realizing is that Government needs someone to follow them around
like a shadow, point out their inefficiencies and check that it
gets fixed. Without that, a government begins to think it can do
as it pleases, when it pleases, and the people must just accept
it. Clearly our Government has begun to think this way.
There is contempt for the genuine will of the
people, for the ANC thinks that the ANC alone can decide what
the people want. The ruling Party has always been inclined to
decide for the people, rather than letting the people decide.
Even when the ANC was banned during the apartheid era, the ANC's
mission-in-exile decided from a distance what the people living
in South Africa needed. Many of us in this hall, and most of our
mothers and aunts, suffered the daily indignities of apartheid.
We were never asked whether, on top of the harsh trials of
poverty and inequality, we could shoulder the pain of burying
our loved ones and seeing bloodshed rend our country. The ANC's
Mission-in-exile decided that an armed struggle was necessary:
that it was the will of the people. It was not my will. It was
Now the ANC Youth League wants us to believe
it is the will of the people that South Africa nationalizes its
mines. I think it is cowardly and utterly insulting for a few
young leaders to claim that their own opinions constitute the
will of the people. Something is not automatically in the best
interests of the people just because a leader calls for it. In a
democracy, a leader listens first and then speaks. They lead
from behind, with collegial wisdom and a collective sense of
ownership. The kind of leadership we are seeing in South Africa
is being shaped by the politics of power.
Tenderpreneurs are getting richer.
Politicians' houses are getting bigger. The suits are getting
smarter. The bonuses are flowing. It's all about who you know
and who you help. Corruption has taken root and it is beginning
to thrive, because those who should stop it are hesitant to act.
South Africa has been waiting for four weeks for the President
to act on the recommendations of the Public Protector. We waited
three weeks for him to even respond to the Public Protector's
Report that found the National Commissioner of Police and the
Minister of Public Works guilty of maladministration to the tune
of millions of Rand.
President Zuma's government's silence on this matter is
When the President finally spoke, he simply
emphasized his own innocence in the highlighted debacle. He has
yet to tell us what he is going to do about the Minister and the
National Commissioner. The Public Protector's Report is based on
comprehensive forensic investigation. For the Presidency to
claim that nothing can be done yet because they are still fact
checking, is a delay tactic. How long must we wait to see
whether our Executive Head will make good on all the promises of
Government that they are tough on corruption, even at the
highest level? The President has been very vociferous about his
government's determination to wipe off corruption.
This is the time for him to walk the talk.
Once again it is clear that the ruling Party
needs someone to watch them and to take them to task when they
fail us. That is the role of a good opposition. It is the role
the electorate has given the IFP. The Local Government Elections
shed us of most of the responsibilities of governance.
Ironically, the election results are due largely to the split
vote caused by the NFP. The NFP was vocal before these
elections, telling people that they were a better alternative to
the IFP. Presumably, they could hold the ANC to account better
than we can. I'm not sure how they are going to do that from
their side of the bed, but let's watch and see.
Many voters are frustrated with the NFP
because the NFP has disregarded their mandate. People who voted
for the NFP did not want an ANC leadership. If they had wanted
the ANC, they would have voted for the ANC. But as soon as they
had given their vote to the NFP, the NFP went into coalition
with the ANC. I warned many times before the elections that a
vote for the NFP was a vote for the ANC. I said this because a
split vote would hand municipalities to the ANC on a silver
platter. We believed that there was even a plot to do this and
we warned that the NFP owed the ANC an enormous debt for
bankrolling the "Friends of VZ" in their efforts to destabilize
the IFP. We were ridiculed in the media as if we were speaking
through our necks when we stated these facts, backing them with
But who doubts this today?
Now that all is said and done, there is no
more room for speculation. The ANC called in its debt and the NFP
betrayed the mandate of its supporters. I suspect there will be
a price to pay for the NFP in years to come, for people will not
be so easily duped again. When the NFP went into coalition with
the ANC in the 19 hung municipalities, it did exactly what the
ANC always does: it claimed the will of the people. In the face
of it being abundantly clear that the people did not ask for a
coalition government, the NFP claimed they did.
That is the difference between the NFP and the
IFP. Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi got tired of waiting for the IFP to
want a new President. So she decided to tell our Party that,
even though they had never asked for her, and even though
Conference had twice refused my intention to resign, the people
actually wanted her as their President. She decided that she
would determine "the will of the people", even if the people
disagreed. At that point, she cast off the IFP's character and
became closer in character to the ANC.
But the IFP never changed. Our legacy is too
sound and our character too strong to be swayed by the failings
of individuals. We remain a party that listens first to the
people and respects what they tell us.
The people have told us what they want through
the Local Government Elections, and we are responsive. The IFP
is well-equipped to take up the role of strong opposition. We
have been defending opposition politics and promoting
multi-party democracy since before liberation.
We were never scared by the National Party's
Kragdadigheid to oppose the apartheid regime.
We are not intimidated by the ANC's might either.
We have proven that constant dropping wears away the
stone. At the height of their power no one could even
dream that the National Party apartheid regime would ever be
It was Inkatha that succeeded in creating
South Africa's first non-racial, non-discriminatory government,
the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Executive Authority. Inkatha gave the
example of how governance by all, for all could be achieved. It
was the IFP, under my leadership, that demanded the release of
political prisoners and the unbanning of political parties
before engaging constitutional negotiations. And it has been the
IFP that consistently stands up and defends multi-party
The ANC talks about inclusivity, but sees it
as an ideal of a one-party state. The IFP talks about everyone
having a stake in South Africa, which is an ideal best achieved
through a vibrant multi-party system. I have no doubt that this
reflects what the people of our country really want. We want to
be masters of our own destiny, in a country that offers the
opportunity to succeed. Government is not there to dictate, it
is there to enable. By providing an education system that
prepares learners for the workplace, government enables young
people to become productive. By providing a justice system that
prevents, deters and prosecutes crime, government enables you
and me to live in safety.
When a government fails in its duties, it
needs a strong opposition to voice the discontent of the people.
I have warned our Government that the climate for social
uprising is being created through every broken promise and every
failure in service delivery. We have seen social protest in many
places across South Africa, and the threat exists that it will
become increasingly violent. We must prevent that from
The only way to do that is to give a voice to
the people who feel disenfranchised. Although they have the
vote, many South Africans feel they don't have the ear of their
leaders. They are not being heard.
The time has come to change that. The time has
come for the poor, the downtrodden, the unemployed and the
hurting to link hands with a champion who shares their fight. In
this, there is no better champion than the IFP.
The ructions that we have seen in Pietermaritzburg at the
ANC's Moses Mabhida Region, have demonstrated for all to see how
members of the ANC have at last shown how tired they are of a
leadership that won't listen to their own followers.
If they can't listen to their own members to the extent
that offices of the ANC are burned down, how can we expect them
to listen to opposition parties such as the IFP?
We have been in the fight for 36 years. We
have carried the aspirations of the poorest of our people,
through apartheid and through seventeen years of democracy, in
which many have seen very little improvement in the everyday
struggles they face. We have not faltered in giving South
Africans a voice, because we have never stopped listening and we
have never stopped saying what needs to be said. The IFP is not
one for sweeping issues under the carpet. We believe in being
I feel that all this needs to be said as we
come together to celebrate Women's Day. This day is not just
about remembering the heroines of our struggle. It is about
looking ahead to the next cause that our women must lead. I
believe that cause is the protection of democracy. For this reason, I would like to see the IFP
Women's Brigade mobilizing South Africa's women around the
vision of the IFP of a true democracy. The democracy we have is
not unshakable. It is not unchallenged or impervious. There are
many threats to democracy, not least from within the ruling
The call to protect South Africa's democracy
through a strong opposition must be answered by people who love
our country and know how to work hard. It must be answered by
our women. The women of the IFP are patriots. I have witnessed
your sacrifices and dedication. I have seen how you work day in
and day out to feed your families, and the families of others. I
have seen you raise children, and raise churches. I have seen
you building, teaching, ploughing, sharing and leading.
I want to appeal today to the IFP Women's
Brigade to again look back at how much we achieved through
self-help and self-reliance during the apartheid era. We survived the deprivations of the apartheid regime
through our own efforts. We had projects which addressed food security. I have seen these efforts diminish since our democratic era dawned. I ask why? The cost of living is rising by day and we know how we survived the deprivations of the past
era. Those efforts can only uplift us from the dire straits in which
our people now find themselves.
There is nothing our women cannot do. Our
Constitution tells us that women are equal in dignity and
equally entitled to the protection of their rights. But
experience tells us that women are so much more. They are leaders and innovators, who give us
the example of integrity, commitment and perseverance. I am
proud of the women of the IFP.
I am proud of the heroines who have led the
Women's Brigade; Mrs Ella Nxasane, Ms Abbie Mchunu, Mrs Thandi
Bhengu, Mrs Faith Xolile Gasa, Mrs Eileen KaNkosi Shandu, Mrs
Lungile Zwane, Mrs Thembi Nzuza and now the very competent Mrs
kaMadlopha-Mthethwa.. These women were chosen to represent our
movement because they understood the challenge of their times.
Yes, I have included even those who disappointed us because they
were chosen democratically to carry the torch of the Women's
Brigade. Our Women's Brigade called on them to lead the cause of
liberation, enfranchisement, equality and development. Under
their leadership, the IFP Women's Brigade did us proud.
I am not ignoring those who failed us.
The challenge of our present time is that of
opposition politics, to ensure that the gains won by those who
came before us will be enjoyed by those who come after. We are
in a unique time of history. Next year the ANC will celebrate
the centenary of its founding and the idea that the ANC is the
sole liberator of South Africa will be reinforced in the
national psyche through endless events and commemorations. Will
we allow history to be rewritten and the IFP to be written out?
Will we accept the watershed of 2012 that suggests everything
that happened before was thanks only to the ANC, and everything
that happens after should not be questioned?
I think not. There is a strength in the IFP
that should not be underestimated; it is the strength of its
support by South Africans who love South Africa. The majority of
our supporters are women. That has always been the case. Our
most politically active members are women and so too is our
greatest force of mobilization. Our women remember how hard the
IFP fought for democracy, how hard we fought for provinces, how
much we sacrificed to build schools and houses, how much we gave
to educate our children. They will not accept the rewriting of
Those of you who are too young to remember the
pain inflicted by apartheid will no doubt have heard about it
from your mothers and grandmothers and aunts. Don't think this
has nothing to do with you because you were born into a
post-liberation South Africa. Our country's freedom has
everything to do with you. Indeed the challenge to protect
freedom belongs to your generation, so it is worth knowing the
value of what you are fighting for.
Freedom is the fruit of democracy. In the
absence of true democracy, our freedom is curtailed to voting
every five years and hoping for change. True democracy, the
democracy for which the IFP fights, will bring us the freedom to
demand change, and get it. Securing that kind of democracy
depends on a strong opposition. It depends on the IFP.
As the IFP takes up this challenge that the
people have given us, I urge the IFP Women's Brigade to stand at
the forefront. Watch the performance of the councillors in your
community. Watch what they promise and what they deliver. Hold
them accountable for the sake of our people. Be the voice of
integrity, the voice of truth. On this Women's Day the challenge
goes out to a new generation of heroines.
May you make us proud again.
I thank you.