The Masters of Ceremonies; amaKhosi of Ingwavuma and amaKhosi of Ubombo, and amaKhosi from other districts; Inkosi of the Tembe people; and Inkosi of KwaMabaso and Inkosi SH Gumede, MPP; members of Parliament; Mayors, Councillors and Indunas; distinguished members of various government departments; distinguished guests, our youth, ladies and gentlemen.

I thank amaKhosi and their subjects and leaders of the IFP and members of our Party, for extending to me an invitation to be with them today when we have this thanksgiving function for the victories which we achieved on December 5, 2000 during the local government elections. Living as I do now outside the Province since our democratic government was elected in 1994, you can imagine how much I miss being home and amongst my people. It was a real favour for me to be invited to this function to celebrate the victories that we achieved in December last year. At the same time, this has given me the opportunity to be here to thank each and every voter who enabled us to secure a victory here. I was humbled by the manner in which voters from this Municipal district took the trouble to stand for hours regardless of the weather conditions, in order to earn us the victory that we achieved.

I am delighted to be among men and women of vision who see the future of our country, and see a strong IFP giving courageous leadership to bring development, development, development into every corner of South Africa. As we gather today in a victory celebration, it is clear that December 2000 has given an indication of better things to come. In the municipal elections of December 5, the IFP was the only Party to register a phenomenal growth in support from the electorate. Here in KwaZulu Natal, the IFPís proportional growth was at the rate of 22%, announcing that the people of goodwill believe in the strength of the IFP and are ready to back a party with vision. We stand at a crucial juncture in the progress of South Africa towards prosperity, development and peace. From this point, things could go terribly wrong as weaknesses are already appearing in our countryís leadership. Yet this is also the historic point from which we may launch the final success of South Africa, choosing a leadership of integrity, long-term vision and commitment to development.

Our celebrations today are filled with an air of expectation, for the people of this community are only too aware of how wrong things can go and how right the IFP can make it. I make no presumptions from this podium. I know that the community of this northern part of the Kingdom of KwaZulu Natal stand behind the IFP, for I know this community as you know me. I have come here on many occasions to share community celebrations, and I count this time among our most victorious. On December 5 we won an IFP victory. On December 5 we won a victory for the people. Ingwavuma and Ubombo are on board the IFPís commitment to development and, together, we will be able to achieve more and better than we have in the past. I wish to take this opportunity to thank this community for its support throughout the years, although I feel like one friend thanking another for what we have truly achieved together. The people and the IFP are an unbeatable team. We move together, think together and act together. Together we are making South Africaís communities stronger.

I wish to recognise and thank the Mavela High School, Nondabuya Choir and Zamani Boys Choir, as well as the Cezwana Group, for generating a spirit of celebration among us today with their singing and dances. We have much to celebrate. First, we are celebrating victory in the December 5 2000 municipal elections. Then we also celebrate the closer dialogue which has been established throughout the past year, between the IFP on the ground and the people at grassroots level. We celebrate the contributions the IFP has made towards good governance and its steadfast stand against corruption, power politics, inefficiency and a lack of political will in the governance of our people at every level. We also celebrate development and the progress which has been made towards empowering communities to help themselves and to become self-reliant. Finally, we celebrate what is yet to come in the 2004 elections, because the IFP is growing in strength, support and number, and our greatest contribution of leadership still lies ahead.

The winds of political change are again sweeping across South Africa. Rumours of an alliance between old enemies have blown in and blown out again. The break-up of the Democratic Alliance seems to bring an end before the beginning is even firmly established. In the course of this year, question marks of integrity and accountability have been placed over prominent political leaders. Other political parties have performed questionable actions, landing their constituencies in difficult waters. Throughout all this, ordinary men and women are looking for just a few good people who will listen to their needs and act with integrity and boldness to meet them. Very few South Africans care for the political mudslinging matches that go on at national and provincial level when schools lack teachers, children lack health care, the elderly fail to receive pensions, criminals are targeting our families and the Rand is falling lower and lower by the day.

I will even go so far as to say that at times ordinary people do not care for the forests of paper produced by government which, nevertheless, dance around the real issues. There is a terrible syndrome affecting leaders in this country of being politically correct regardless of how dangerous it may actually be to the well-being of our people. It has become more important to tolerate a different view than to point out a serious error of judgement. It has somehow become more socially abhorrent to show disrespect than it is to break the law. Sincerity is given preference over truth, although one can be sincerely right or sincerely wrong. The IFP does not play these games. We are not politically correct, but factually correct. We wonít hide the facts because if one canít work with the facts, the results will have no relevance.

As the leader of the IFP and a seasoned politician, I look the facts straight in the eye. I am becoming more and more concerned about an encroaching lack of independence in our so-called independent watch-dog bodies. I am also concerned that not enough emphasis is being placed on the rule of law above the rule of man, and its consequent injustices. Recently I spoke out on these issues and was widely reported in the media as beating the war drums. Even that concerns me, for our media at least should be able to discern between critical commentary on the state of our country and an undisguised political attack. It seems everything is read in terms of who can slam whom the hardest, and who is looking good at whose expense for this fleeting moment.

Since its inception, the IFP has purposely distanced itself from this low-level squabbling because we know that the real issues must be addressed and that ordinary people are more important than status, power or position. When we say we are the party of the people, it is more than propaganda. It is fact. No one ever hears about the IFP changing its spots overnight, only to change them back again. No one ever hears of the IFP making and breaking promises. No one ever hears of the IFP aligning itself with anyone who does not share a basic belief that the people are why we are here. We are always the ones with our feet on the ground, our hand in the communities and our heart in serving. From the highest levels of government, right down to the ground, the IFP works with the facts and speaks the truth. Our political commentary at a national level is pragmatic, visionary and bold. Our leadership on the ground is practical and single-minded.

I believe it is this that is causing the IFP to grow. More and more, South Africans are sickened at the sugar-coated lies, propaganda, deception and illusion spouted by many who are supposed to lead South Africa. Until we get integrity back into government we will not achieve genuine liberation from the social ills which continue to plague us. Until we get practicality instead of pussy-footing, our economic vision will fail to take flight. Until we can recall the emphasis on to serving the people and respecting the law, even our hopes for an African Renaissance will flounder. None of this is to say that I see in South Africa a hopeless dream. I see South Africa as a mighty nation, a people of dignity and a leader on the African continent. But to get from here to there, I know there are some things that will need to change.

I believe South Africa has the ability to change its circumstances by the will of its people. There must be a clear and upright leadership to stir a groundswell of support among the many people of goodwill, to get the ball rolling towards greater justice, greater development, greater prosperity and greater commitment to the truth. Once we have created the momentum, this ball will roll by itself and gather with it all those who are willing to make a contribution towards establishing the South Africa we dream of.

I believe the will is there, but it must be ignited. I believe the potential is there, but it must be captured. I believe the possibility exists, but it will take the effort of ordinary people under a leadership of practicality, integrity, experience and courage.

Every single South African has a contribution to make. Communities such as this should not feel far removed from the vision of an African Renaissance. An African Renaissance must start in places like this, or not at all. Several years ago when I began speaking of a revolution of goodwill, I did not go into Parliament and speak to our national politicians. I came here, to communities like this, and spoke to the people whom I know, and the people who know me. I knew that ordinary people would run with it and make the revolution of goodwill a reality. Today, the evidence that our revolution is beginning lies in the overwhelming support received by the IFP in the December 2000 municipal elections. The growth of the IFP is proof that South Africaís new democracy is taking root as South Africans begin to look towards what kind of fruit they would like to see in the years to come.

The 2004 elections will see the first fruits appearing. Greater support for the IFP, for the Party of integrity, will announce that things are finally set to get better. This Party doesnít have any down-time. We are never between elections, but always on the election trail. That is why you will hear us speaking about an election that may be more than a thousand days away as though the votes will be cast tomorrow. We speak of the importance of electing leaders who can lead. We speak of accountability in government and the responsibility of the electorate to demand good governance through the ballot. We do all this because we know that we are here because we have received the mandate of the people, and we are here to serve the people. We will not rest on our laurels, but work for an ever better, ever stronger, ever more prosperous South Africa. Stronger communities mean a stronger South Africa. A stronger IFP means stronger communities. We know where our loyalties lie. We are the Party of the people, the Party of integrity and the Party of development.

What I have also come to say to the people of the northern part of the Kingdom of KwaZulu Natal, is that we cannot afford to sit on our laurels. There cannot be rest for us between now and the next elections in 2004. It is easy to fall asleep when those who are our adversaries are not asleep. We need to keep our branches alive, and the only way of doing so is if we hold regular branch meetings. We need to hear from the people directly whether the leaders we elected during the December 5 elections are delivering the services for which they were given a vote by our people. Talking itself cannot solve our problems. As the saying goes, "actions speak louder than words." We presented ourselves to the people during our election campaign as a Party of development. This is the time for us to deliver the services for which our people voted us into office.

We know that there is an issue which remains a burning issue concerning the role of Traditional Authorities in our traditional areas. In January and in April this year, all our Councillors met in Ulundi and stated that their work is undermined by the failure of our national government to define the role of amaKhosi and Traditional Authorities in our traditional areas. However, the laws that empowered amaKhosi to carry out certain duties in their areas have not been repealed. I sometimes get disappointed to find some of our amaKhosi not exercising their jurisdiction in their areas as if the emergence of our democratic era means the emasculation of amaKhosi and their Traditional Authorities. I appeal to amaKhosi not to be intimidated or to allow themselves to be brow-beaten by people who mislead them into thinking that they must just fold their arms in respect of the services that they have always rendered to their people.

The people of this district know that I have travelled a long way with them even during the previous era of the apartheid regime. I need only to remind them of how the previous regime tried to excise this district in order to give it to the Kingdom of Swaziland. It will be remembered how we refused to take that betrayal lying down; how we took the South African Government to the High Court and to the Appellate Division of the High Court where we defeated the Government, and saved a piece of our country from being excised and given to a foreign state.

I mention this history in order to remind you that in everything that touches the people of our Kingdom, nothing will stop us from fighting any future threats to the finish, just as we did in the case where we took the South African Government to court.

A matter which concerns me as Minister of Home Affairs, whose function it is to issue identity documents, is the extent to which there are so many bogus syndicates, which are aided and abetted by some of our own officials, issuing bogus identity documents to foreign citizens from neighbouring States. I appeal to people with information about this kind of activity to come forward. Once people have bogus identity documents, they become entitled to all the services that we, as citizens of South Africa are entitled to, such as old age pensions, health services, and any other services which citizens are ordinarily entitled to. It is really an act of patriotism to give us information of any scams of this kind, so that we can ensure that those who do such things are brought within the arm of the law. We owe this not only to ourselves but also to our children and to our children's children.

I appreciate the support of the people of this Region. This community is important to the IFP. I believe we can make local government work harder and better in this region. I have tasked IFP councillors with the responsibility of opening and sustaining a close dialogue with the people. Let me therefore encourage you, the people, to speak to your IFP councillors and work hand in hand knowing that you are working towards a common goal. At the national level, the IFP is still fighting for greater autonomy at provincial and local level so that communities will be able to design solutions specifically suited to meet their needs, rather than having to follow strict and often irrelevant instructions from a central government. The IFP will continue to work at the national level for the people on the ground, just as we work at the provincial and local level for the people on the ground. This is where our heart lies. We know that, together, we can do it better. Together, from the ground up, we can build a South Africa that works.

May our victory in the 2004 elections surpass that of 2000. May the IFPís victory be the victory of Ingwavuma and Ubombo, which for years has always been IFP territory.