12 March 2011
The IFP has walked through the fire, and we are
still standing. We are formidable survivors and we are still in the
I thank our Secretary-General for leading us so
appropriately in the opening devotions, for we have a lot to thank
God for. We have been tested to the nth degree; partly by the human
frailties of some of our members, who have lacked loyalty, and
partly by the wounds inflicted by our political enemies. But our
greatest suffering has been the collusion of some of our own people
with our long-time enemies.
To be honest with you, it remains a mystery to me
how the IFP has lasted this long. My History Professor at Fort Hare
University once lectured on the causes of the downfall of the Roman
Empire. After listing these, he said, "SO THE SURPRISING THING IS
NOT THAT THE ROMAN EMPIRE FELL WHEN IT DID, BUT THAT IT LASTED AS
LONG AS IT DID!"
Considering how we have been assailed from every
side, it is remarkable that the IFP has survived for this long. The
endless prophecies of doom have come to naught. We have never been
ashamed to stress our utter dependence on God. It is therefore good
to have a man of deep faith and intellect, like Reverend Zondi, lead
us in devotions on this important day.
Let me say from the outset that I am proud to
stand before the Youth of my Party, knowing that you - our young
lions - have defended the IFP. Under extreme provocation, you have
stood in the way of those who seek to destroy our Party. I marvel at
your courage and perseverance, and I thank you. You have stood on
the legacy of 35 years and kept hope alive. You have emerged as
champions of democracy, development and a strong IFP.
A heady lie has been told that the fire we have
gone through as a Party was ignited by IFP youth who sought
transformation and abandoned decorum. In truth, the first tremors
that announced the rupture to come were felt right after the 2009
national election, in which the IFP did not do as well as we had
expected or hoped. Although we worked hard, we did not work hard
enough and our votes declined. The ANC made further inroads into IFP
strongholds and the media began writing our obituary, again.
Because of our decreased support, some of our
candidates for the national Parliament and the KwaZulu Natal
Legislature never won those seats. They were aggrieved and looked
for a scapegoat, rather than looking at themselves. Suggestions were
made that I should remove those already in office to give seats to
those who hadn't made it. But there is no provision in law for me to
remove and replace representatives in this manner. These people had
lost out, and clearly they thought someone should pay.
Many of these people became dominant actors in the
drama our Party has suffered. The last elective conference of the
Youth Brigade aborted as a result of their activities. I regret that
their discontent found a platform among some exuberant youth who
panicked over the 2009 election results and began agitating for
"transformation". The transformation agenda has never been spelled
out, but it became the basis of many lies.
I repeatedly said that there was nothing wrong
with youth demanding transformation, for I myself had been talking
about renewal in the Party for quite a few years. The problem was
that they were making these demands outside the structures of the
Party. When we started punishing those who had infringed the
provisions of our Constitution, journalists deliberately distorted
the issue, reporting that people were being punished for demanding
I am galled that the lies continue, for just
recently the Sowetan wrote that I have said "for the first time"
that there was nothing wrong with the call for transformation. They
know the truth, but deliberately ignore it.
Nevertheless, some of our disgruntled leaders used
the youth's concern to further their own ambition, by turning it
into a call for a massive change in leadership. What followed was an
orchestrated and very public debacle, in which my name, my legacy
and my Party were defamed at every opportunity. Our Constitution was
trampled and our reputation besmirched.
It angers me that the IFP Youth Brigade was used
in this campaign. With the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that
our youth were pawns in the strategic attempt to remove me as the
President of the IFP and open the way for Mrs Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi
to take control.
Some people blame us, saying we are too quick to
trust people who join us from other political formations. We give
them positions of great responsibility before they have proved
themselves. Just this week we saw the defection of Mr Skhumbuzo
Khanyeza, who was elevated to the position of Chairperson of the IFP
Youth Brigade shortly after his defection from the ANC to the IFP.
Mr Irvin Barnes, who has played such a prominent role in all these
subversive activities, came to the IFP from AZAPO.
I am not saying we should not trust our comrades
from other political formations. Not by any means. But when it comes
to positions of leadership, we need to observe some cooling off
period. Mr Irvin Barnes has tried to play a role even during the
period leading to this Conference, despite the fact that he has not
been our member for so long, and is a member of two other political
parties, as far as I am aware.
We dealt with the group of malcontents in
accordance with our Constitution, through disciplinary enquiries and
expulsion. But a great deal of our time and energy was consumed with
mediating in faction fights, sifting through the lies, challenging
the propaganda, pre-empting violence and, eventually, burying the
victims of this campaign of deceit.
Again and again we were forced to postpone the
holding of our Annual General Conference, for the disruptive
activities of these malcontents, who called themselves "The Friends
of VZ", were causing chaos in our structures. Elective meetings that
must precede Conference were disrupted by violence. Bogus branches
were established. And the treachery spread like wildfire, because
money was changing hands, promises were being made and people were
Matters reached such a serious pass that the
National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Mr Bheki
Cele, came to warn me of intelligence reports that weapons were
being channelled in and my life was in danger. He warned us that
holding Conference in such an incendiary environment could only
result in bloodshed, and the IFP was compelled to postpone its
Conference again as we sought internal stability.
In October 2009, the National Council of the IFP
passed a resolution requesting that I remain at the helm of the IFP
until such time as we could ensure a smooth leadership transition.
The Women's Brigade, the Youth Brigade and SADESMO confirmed this
request. You will recall that twice I announced my intention to
retire, at our Conferences of 2004 and 2006. But twice our Party has
unanimously called on me to remain.
I have been grappling with this decision, for as
much as I would wish to hand over the torch of this Party to a new
generation of leaders, I have been hesitant to leave a burning
house. The discovery that the fire was lit by our old opponents, the
ANC, puts things in a whole new light.
It is now a record of history that our former
National Chairperson, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi, deceived the IFP at every
level. She protested her innocence before the National Council when
the evidence forced us to question her relationship to the so-called
"Friends of VZ", who were doing their utmost to destabilize the
Party. She spoke before the media and at meetings, saying that the
activities of "The Friends of VZ" were against the culture of the
IFP and against her own values.
She openly recognized that they were splitting the
IFP in two.
But she never lifted a finger to stop them. She
repeatedly told us that she would not stand for nomination for the
Presidency, and in fact asked National Council for their support in
her intention to stand for National Chairperson, a position she
already held. The agitation from her supporters for the IFP to hold
its elective conference escalated exponentially and several of them
took the IFP to court to try to reverse their expulsion and force us
to hold our Conference.
Had they succeeded in pressurizing the IFP into
holding Conference, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi's plot may never have been
fully exposed. But the passage of time made her protestations of
innocence increasingly flimsy and the evidence of her deceit began
to mount. In the end, she was forced to expose her true intentions.
On the 12th of November 2010, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi took the IFP to
court, crying that we were persecuting her abominably, and our
leadership was illegitimate, and we just had to hold Conference and
- at last - that she would stand for the Presidency.
Her arguments held no water. We stated in court
was that we, as her peers in the leadership, no longer trusted Mrs
kaMagwaza-Msibi, for she had shown herself to be a liar and a leader
devoid of integrity. On the 17th of January 2011, the Honourable
Justice Chima Patel of the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed
kaMagwaza-Msibi's case, with costs. A blow had been dealt to her
ambitions and a victory was given to the IFP.
The "Friends of VZ" were shaken and for a few days
no one was quite sure what kaMagwaza-Msibi would do next. She had
already indicated that she would not appear before the National
Council to face the evidence of her treachery. Some questioned
whether she would join the ANC. Many assumed she would start her own
party. What we did not know was that the National Freedom Party had
already been registered with the Independent Electoral Commission on
the 29th of October 2010. So, when she took us to court, she had
hedged her bets. If she could be President, she would take the IFP;
if not, she would destroy us.
This is the heart of kaMagwaza-Msibi exposed. She
did not care one iota for the good of the Party. Our legacy, our
name and our very existence was disposable in her quest for power.
She happily damaged the IFP while drawing a salary as an IFP Member
of the Legislature. That amounts to theft and moral bankruptcy.
With the launch of the NFP, a chapter closed for
the IFP. I thank God that it happened the way it did. We suffered a
great deal. We lost valuable ground. Many Councillors defected. A
few had served our communities well. But many of these Councillors
did nothing for the community and were only in it for the salary. As
far as these are concerned, their defection is good riddance.
Now the IFP is able to unify again. Those who
remain are like a righteous remnant. You have not given up on the
IFP. You have not compromised your integrity. You have not been
bought with promises of money or seduced by promises of power. You
are the people of goodwill, and I thank you.
We stand now just weeks away from the May 2011
Local Government Elections, and we are all anxious about how the IFP
will fare after all we have been through. Since 2009, our supporters
have been deliberately confused and disheartened by the "Friends of
VZ". They are now being poached and swindled by the NFP. We are all
worried about the toll this ordeal has taken on our support base.
Although the figures flung about by the NFP regarding how many IFP
members they have stolen have turned out to be fabricated and
unrealistic, there is nonetheless a concern. Because the NFP has a
bag full of dirty tricks.
I am horrified by the political assassinations
that have rocked the IFP. Since the ructions started, we have buried
Mr Michael Makhathini, Induna Mngadi, Ms Simangele Khumalo,
Councillor Mandla Sibiya, Mr Mavongo Gumede, Mr Zama Mkhwanazi, Mr
Mabhunu Mlaba, Mr Bhunu Zungu, Mr Mduduzi Mbatha, Ms Zakithi Ziqubu,
Mr Simon Shange and Mr Mcebisi Duma. One life lost is one too many.
In a foul move, the NFP ran to the media claiming that their
supporters were being murdered, when in fact it was IFP members who
were being killed.
One cannot fathom how kaMagwaza-Msibi could attend
Councillor Mcebisi Duma's funeral a fortnight ago, weeping
uncontrollably - as was reported in the Sowetan - and then get up
and say, "We must vote for the NFP to honour Duma." A funeral is not
an election platform. This is beyond despicable.
So too is sending NFP members to give food parcels
to my son, in the full glare of the media, claiming that I have
neglected him and that Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi is worried about him. She
was never worried while she was the Mayor of Zululand. She never
sent a single food parcel then. Yet the NFP avers, with mock
compassion, that they are not doing this to score political points.
Everything the NFP does it to score political
points, and the media just laps it up. It is clear that certain
journalists and even editors have a personal vendetta against the
IFP and are promoting Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi. Let us not forget the lie
they peddled that we were persecuting our National Chairperson
because she is a woman, despite the fact that the IFP had elevated
her to the position of National Chairperson and supported her as our
candidate for the premiership of the province.
Interestingly, when Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi was our
Premier candidate, we received less voter support than ever before.
In other words many of our members and voters rejected her, in spite
of our recommendation and support.
But the lies in the media have come thick and
fast. I have spoken in Parliament about a leaked document that
claims Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi concluded a deal with a certain editor not
to publish anything negative about her, and that incentives were
paid. This explains the kind of reports you have seen in the media
about our Party. I also exposed the fact that a prominent ANC member
had paid for the venue when the NFP was launched.
And here is the crux of the matter. The link
between Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi and the ANC should not be underestimated.
During this year's State of the Nation Debate in our national
Parliament, I tabled the overwhelming evidence that some ANC leaders
are bankrolling the NFP. The "Friends of VZ" were awash with money,
for they were financed by puppet masters in the ANC who stood to
benefit from a weakened IFP.
Clearly the party with the most to gain from a
split in the IFP, is the ANC.
I am making copies of my speech in Parliament
available to this conference, so that you may see the ANC's efforts
to destroy the IFP. When President Zuma stood up to reply to my
speech, he did not dispute any facts that I put before Parliament.
He merely commented to the effect that our discussions were
confidential. That's all. And then he quoted Dr Jiyane's defection
from the IFP.
Of course, Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi has denied that she
and her Party received any support from the ANC, in spite of many
statements by ANC heavyweights such as Minister Tokyo Sexwale, the
ANC Women's League, and ANC Members of the KwaZulu Natal Legislature
such as Pastor Vusi Dube. She even denies it in the face of the fact
that two days before she was due to appear before National Council,
President Zuma invited me to King's House in Durban to advise me to
step down as leader of this Party.
It is surreal that 17 years into democracy some
leaders in the ANC have never abandoned the original mission to wipe
the IFP off the political map. There is no question that this was
the goal. Even former President Nelson Mandela publicly said in
April 2002, "We have used every ammunition to destroy [Buthelezi],
but we have failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable
survivor. We cannot ignore him.". I hope that an opportunity can be made to screen
the DVD of this statement, so that you can hear the great man
himself saying these words.
I regret that the leaders now in power do not
share Madiba's integrity. They do not have the guts to admit that
they are still obsessed with Buthelezi. What has been done to the
IFP proves beyond any shadow of doubt that our democracy is in
danger. The ruling Party has a record of destroying opposition
parties. They did it to the PAC and to AZAPO, and they are doing it
to COPE. Clearly the aim
is to have a One-Party State.
There is strong evidence that the ANC offered Ms
kaMagwaza-Msibi a leadership position in the ANC, and she herself
said that she would join the ANC if it served the interests of her
Party. That was just weeks after she theatrically told hundreds of
IFP members in Okhukho that in her heart she was IFP and she would
never leave the IFP. But when her court application failed and it
became clear she would have to face her demons, she announced that
she could not allow the political careers of her supporters to end
there. Thus she chose to rupture the IFP, rather than run to the
I have no doubt she was pressurized into this
decision, for many promises of high positions had been made to her
lieutenants in reward for the damage they had wreaked in the IFP.
And while she may have been assured of a plum post in the ANC, the
ANC owed her supporters nothing. Thus there had to be a new party,
so that people like Mr Wiseman Mcoyi could rise to the top of the
barrel again. Mr Mcoyi was so excited about his new position that he
jumped the gun and announced the NFP before Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi even
had the chance.
This was not his first mistake. Here is a man who
believes the electorate should be told not to vote. He does not
understand the first thing about democracy, nor does he respect our
hard won right to vote. Indeed, the policies of the NFP are fuzzy at
best, for they have nothing new to offer. One political analyst put
it well when he explained that the NFP was in a catch-22 situation.
If they came up with all new policies, one would question why they
stayed in the IFP for so long, at such a high level, promoting IFP
policies. But if they didn't come up with something new, it would
beg the question why they had left in the first place.
They never left because of ideological differences
or policy concerns. The NFP was born out of anger, deceit, selfish
interests and foiled ambitions. I defy them to come up with anything
new; anything of any significantly greater benefit to the people
they seek to rule. But the NFP has no separate identity. At heart,
they are in fact ANC clones.
This is why the former IFP Women's Brigade
Chairperson, Ms Thembi Nzuza, has defected to the ANC. Her ambitions
were clearly higher than the NFP.
Mr Bheki Mngwengwe also defected to the ANC, as
did Mr VC Gumede, who was a member of our National Council. Dr
Ndlela, of the Durban Metro Exco, followed suit. Clearly ideologies
play no part in the defections. It is all about personal gain.
Now when the NFP talks about self-help and
self-reliance, people are quick to point out that that has been the
IFP's policy for 35 years.
Can't the NFP come up with something on its own?
And when Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi regales voters about all she did for
them while she was Mayor of Zululand, people are beginning to point
out that it was me, as her Leader, that instructed her work.
The IFP gave these malcontents positions and pay
checks. They learned all they know from the IFP. Now they abuse us,
criticize us and pretend they can offer something better. The NFP is
born to fail.
But we must not underestimate the damage they can
cause on the way down, particularly in the heat of an election
campaign, particularly with the support of a bought media platform,
and particularly with the enthusiastic backing of some ANC leaders.
So what do we do in the face of all this? What is the role of the
IFP Youth in fighting this battle of dirty politics? We cannot stoop
to their level and engage in gutter tactics; so what do we do?
I believe the way forward for the IFP is to become
the champions of democracy and development. When I spoke in the
National Assembly on the 15th of February I questioned why the
ruling Party is still so concerned about getting rid of Buthelezi
and the IFP. The only answer I can see is that we are a stumbling
block in their quest for a one party state. The IFP has championed
democracy for 35 years. We are not about to let South Africa go from
one autocratic regime to another. We are what stands in the way of a
one party state.
In her book Chasing the Rainbow: South Africa's
Move from Mandela to Zuma, Dr Anthea Jeffrey highlights how the ANC
regards opposition parties as illegitimate and unnecessary. To the
ANC, opposition parties are little more than an obstacle to the
success of their 'national democratic revolution'. But none more so
than the IFP, for we have proven to be their most stubborn
adversary, surviving and rising no matter what strategy they use
Ms Magwaza-Msibi is the latest ANC strategy. They
preyed on her ambitions, they drew courage from her lack of
integrity, and they orchestrated a split in the IFP along the fault
line of Ms Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi. The fight we are in today is not
purely a fight against the NFP. It is not even a fight solely
against the ANC. It is a fight for the preservation of democracy in
our country, and for the development of our people beyond the
present painful reality of suffering, poverty, disease and crime.
The Youth Brigade of the IFP is central to this
cause. This is a fight for a new generation. My generation fought to
win the right to vote. Your generation must fight to see the vote used
wisely. More than a decade ago I spoke at the University of the
Witwatersrand and encouraged a new direction in our social
discourse. We had achieved a new South Africa, I said; now it was
time to create the new South Africans.
The new South Africans are competent citizens, not
led about by the changing winds of propaganda and the base politics
of food parcels for votes. They are citizens who get involved in
politics, who do not turn a blind eye or a forgiving stance to
politicians who are corrupt and councillors who sell their soul for
money. The new South Africans are people who seek to understand the
world we live in, who read and listen and ask questions; and hold
their elected representatives accountable for all they do and all
The Youth of the IFP are at the centre of the
IFP's fight to turn the tide of the political discourse away from
populist foolishness such as the nationalization of mines, towards a
debate on greater flexibility in the labour market to assist our
government in creating the millions of jobs they keep promising to
create. We want to move away from a perpetual welfare state, to
become a developmental state, in which people are empowered to gain
the dignity of employment and education.
We want to move away from the state pouring money
into its own unprofitable industries, to create a viable industrial
base that can generate sustainable economic growth.
We want to move away from endless strikes, to a
system that appreciates and rewards diligent teachers, nurses and
workers. We want to move away from babies dying due to negligence at
state hospitals, towards a future of accessible, affordable and
quality medical care. We want to move away from a government that is
continually pouring taxpayers' money into fixing its own mistakes,
towards a country in which the fundamental right to decent housing
translates into actual houses. We want to get the price of basic
commodities, especially food, back down to a reasonable level. And
we want to see the arrest of more corrupt officials, as we saw with
the Land Bank recently.
We are fighting to move South Africa away from
youth leaders who party with fat cats and throw around money, while
the people they pretend to serve are starving and destitute.
Recently the media reported that Mr Julius Malema is turning 30, and
a tsunami of commentary was unleashed from members of the public who
implored him to finally grow up, or dare to try to find a job
outside the ANC, or remove the large Breitling wristwatch from his
arm when he called struggling South Africans his "comrades".
The ANC Youth League has a unique kind of
independence from the main body of the ANC, which enables it to
slander ANC leaders and go against ANC policy, all with impunity. As
the leadership of the IFP, we are aware of the tensions created by
those who are clamouring for more independence for the IFP Youth
Brigade, along the same lines of the Youth League. There is nothing
wrong in the Youth Brigade interrogating this debate, or any other
issue. We have never been against open discussions. If there needs
to be any change, it should be canvassed within the Party.
Our enemies have often vilified us as being
undemocratic, and our defectors pounce on this same lie to
ingratiate themselves with those who fund them. The High Court has,
on three occasions, given judgment in our favour that we have done
nothing wrong in terms of our Constitution. But the media, the
so-called analysts, and other commentators have ignored these
I think it is important for us to consider the
history of the IFP Youth Brigade, in order to frame any discussion
on independence from the main body.
After the Apartheid Regime banned our liberation
movements such as the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist
Congress of Azania and others, there was no political activity of any
sort in South Africa.
Bishop Alphaeus Zulu was elected as the Diocesan
Bishop of the Zululand and Swaziland Diocese after he had served as
the Suffragan Bishop of St John's Diocese (then Transkei). He
brought up the idea of starting some kind of "Brain Trust" or
"Discussion Group" which he suggested should be called UBHOKO.
Amongst those who comprised this group were the
following; Bishop Alphaeus Zulu himself; Mr J A W Nxumalo; Inkosi
Charles B Hlengwa; Professor CLS Nyembezi; Professor Sibusiso
Bhengu; Mr McDonald September; Mr Barney I Dladla; Inkosi Owen
Sithole; the Rev Celani J Mtetwa; Inkosi Everson Xolo amongst
others. The Bishop was the Convenor and we discussed the situation
in the country and what we considered to be the burning issues of
In the early seventies, before I founded Inkatha,
the ANC-in-exile took a decision to campaign for the international
community to impose sanctions and disinvestment on South Africa. I
did not agree with that decision. I attended a seminar in Addis
Ababa in Ethiopia convened by the African American Institute in
Washington. Mr Oliver Tambo was also invited to attend, but did not.
I met with Mr Tambo and Mr Johny Makatini in Nairobi, Kenya on my
way to Addis Ababa. Mr Tambo told me that he did not think that, as
people serving the same cause, we should go to Addis Ababa to show
our differences at such an international seminar.
On my way back from Addis Ababa, I decided to stop
in Lusaka in Zambia, to thank President Kenneth Kaunda for giving
sanctuary to all our political exiles. I was later to proceed to Dar
Es Salaam in Tanzania to thank President Julius Nyerere as well. In
Lusaka, I was welcomed by President Kaunda.
Apart from meeting him and his Ministers, an opportunity was
made for me to visit the Headquarters of the political party of
President Kaunda complimented me for the role I
was playing in South Africa. He however suggested that I should
consider forming a membership-based organisation so that we could
wage our struggle for liberation as a cohesive force. I brought home
with me the Constitution of UNIP. Bishop Zulu advised me to consider
forming an organisation as President Kaunda had suggested.
Because of the intransigence and ruthlessness of
the Apartheid Regime, Bishop Zulu said it was wise for me to
consider using Inkatha, and emphasise the cultural aspect of our
struggle, in order not to raise the eyebrows of the Regime. That is
how Inkatha National Cultural Movement - Inkatha Yenkululeko yeSizwe
- Kgare Yatokoloko yaSechaba was founded in 1975.
We used the UNIP Constitution in writing our
Constitution. We did not set up the Youth Brigade immediately, but
did so two years later. As you know, I consulted Mr Oliver Tambo
about my idea of launching Inkatha. Mr Tambo approved the idea
because we worked very closely. So it is not true that the idea came
from the ANC, but Mr Tambo as President of the ANC's
Mission-in-exile who was consulted by myself approved of the idea.
That is why, when I needed funds to start a
publication, Mr Tambo assisted me. I asked for funds from the
Swedish Development Agency, but was told that they worked with the
ANC-in-exile and would not start a relationship with another
organisation, unless Mr Oliver Tambo approved. I persuaded Mr Tambo
to come with me to Stockholm in Sweden where he approved and I got
The Youth Brigade was placed under the auspices of
the President; Section 5.9 states: THE YOUTH BRIGADE SHALL PLAY A
VANGUARD ROLE WHILE UPHOLDING AND CONSOLIDATING THE EXISTING
POLICIES AND GAINS OF THE PARTY. THE YOUTH BRIGADE SHALL SUPPORT
BRANCH ACTIVITIES AND MAY CONDUCT ITS OWN INITIATIVES IN HARMONY
WITH EACH BRANCH STRUCTURE. So you can see that it was not set up as
a separate organisation from the main body of the organisation, but
it was given a certain autonomy.
When I look at the behaviour of the leaders of the
ANC Youth League, I am convinced that they have lost touch with
reality, and I thank God that our young leaders still put service
first. We face a battle now to champion hope among a nation that is
disillusioned with its leadership and despairing for its future. To
do that, we need to strengthen the support base of the IFP. We need
to expand our influence, so that the voice of the IFP can be the
voice of the people in every forum. South Africa needs a strong IFP
if it is to arrest the downward march towards dirty politics,
corrupt politicians, empty promises and despair.
I call on the Youth of the IFP to strengthen our
fight by winning us the May 2011 Local Government Elections. Let us
prove that the IFP is not only unbeaten, but is on the rise again.
Let us surprise our opponents by proving that politics can still be
driven by integrity and truth still trumps propaganda. We are in a
battle of life or death; for if we fail to pull the IFP through the
coming elections, we will see first the demise of our Party, and
then the death of democracy.
It is critical to choose people of integrity to
represent the Party as Councillors. The leaders you choose on Sunday
will determine what kind of IFP we will have 10 or 20 years down the
road. In choosing candidates for municipal councillors, you must
choose people who are committed to serving our communities, rather
than their own pockets.
I urge you to go flat out in campaigning for the
IFP in the few weeks that remain before May 2011. Get the IFP
message out there, talk to people, engage them on issues of service
delivery, explain to them that the NFP is not the new IFP; the IFP
is one party, with one vision and one mission. Promote the IFP's
values and the IFP's name everywhere you go. Never stop talking
about the IFP.
There are so many lies we need to challenge. Let's
do it with the passion of IFP Youth. Remember that an election is
nothing more than a numbers game; the more people we reach, the more
votes we will get. Don't let the NFP split the vote and give the ANC
total control of KwaZulu Natal, or Gauteng, or any other province
for that matter. A vote for the NFP is a throwaway vote. It is the
same as voting ANC.
In particular, I encourage you to speak to your
peers who will vote for the first time in May. Get them politically
involved. Recruit people everywhere you go. Many of our youth failed
to cast their votes in 2009 and in previous elections. But it will
be grossly irresponsible if IFP Youth Brigade members fail to become
Party Agents, or fail to vote this time around. It is about your
future and it is about your democracy.
It is clear, as Wendell Phillips suggested, that
the price of freedom is constant vigilance. No other component of
society can exercise that vigilance better than our youth, the
champions of hope against all malfeasance. During this Local
Government Election, just like in all the elections of the past 17
years, we expect to see electoral fraud by the majority Party. We
have highlighted irregularities in the electoral process before, and
we have engaged the IEC on this issue.
But the ANC has got away with it time and time
again. The youth must be our eyes and ears to stop electoral fraud
from taking place.
We know that the ANC busses people into our
strongholds to vote where they don't live, to sway dominion to the
ANC and achieve a bogus majority. We have been bombarded by stories
of bribes and job offers that are being showered on voters to vote
for the ANC. It seems democracy is for sale. Our country stinks to
high heavens because of the endemic corruption that exists at every
I must sound a warning around the special vote; it
has been abused in the past and will be abused again. I urge you to
assist the elderly, the ailing, the disabled and pregnant women to
vote by using the special vote. Then volunteer to be Party Agents to
make sure it is not abused. Be vigilant for electoral fraud and
report anything suspicious. It is up to you to stop the ANC from
destroying opposition politics.
Our nation depends on its youth to safeguard
democracy for the next generation. You do this with the support of
those who have travelled further on the road of life. Our parents
were not like most of your parents today, who are educated and
learned. But they spent their last pennies to have youth of my
generation sent to school. They did this to prepare us, for they
knew we would be at the forefront of our nation's struggle.
As youngsters in the ANC Youth League, we used to
chant: "FREEDOM!" And others would respond: "IN OUR LIFETIME!" We
said this with great bravado. But when we were alone with our
thoughts, we would quietly question whether political freedom in our
lifetime was possible. Despite our fears, we had to be champions of hope.
We remembered the suffering of our forebears, and we were inspired.
Though some paid the price with their lives, we thought on those who
had faced colonial armies, and we had to persevere.
In Romans, chapter 5, verses 3 to 4, St Paul
wrote: "WE KNOW THAT SUFFERING PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE; PERSEVERANCE
CHARACTER; AND CHARACTER HOPE". In the end, we overcame political
oppression by an elite that was backed by the best-equipped army in
Africa. Let our achievements fuel your hope and strengthen your
resolve. I know that you suffer in many ways, including poverty,
unemployment and the scourge of HIV/Aids. But you dare not lose
hope. As RL Stevenson wrote: "IT IS BETTER TO TRAVEL IN HOPE THAN TO
I am proud of the integrity that many of our youth
have displayed, even under the direst circumstances and the most
provocative baiting, since the last Youth Brigade Conference in
December 2008. There is no doubt that there is now a last ditch
attempt being made to wipe out the IFP. But with the zeal of our
youth, I have great faith that we are about to turn this thing
around. I suspect that just as leaders like Mr Nelson Mandela once
had to admit that we could not be beaten, so too will leaders like
Mr Jacob Zuma in the years to come. I predict the day is coming when
even Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi
will have to admit that she was wrong.
As we look forward to that future, may the IFP
Youth Brigade become the champion of hope. Let us give South Africa
hope as we safeguard democracy. Let us bring hope as we push for
development. The IFP is the party of integrity, vision and hope. We
are one party with one mission, and at our centre is our Youth.
I thank you.