Garden Court Ulundi: 25 December 2011
We have come to the end of another year and I am pleased that we
can gather, as we usually do, to share Christmas lunch together.
This year has been unusually challenging. In the first few
months we faced a gruelling election campaign that demanded
enormous quantities of time and energy. We went into the Local
Government Elections not knowing what the IFP might look like
after May the 18th.
By the grace of God, we emerged from those elections with a
solid mandate from the electorate. Our opponents had changed the
political landscape, but not the fundamental will of the people
to have the IFP keep serving, keep working and keep going. We
have faced a painful time of downsizing staff and councillors,
and Iím afraid we will have to learn to do more with less, which
is going to place further demands on all of us.
But let us not miss the opportunity that this year has opened.
We have the chance now to regain our rightful position in South
Africaís politics. We are, once again, the third largest
political party in South Africa. We are still known for our
integrity and we have yet to be lumped together with the
tenderpreneurs and corrupt leaders in the mind of the public.
For that, I thank God, for a good reputation is an invaluable
but very fragile asset.
I hope that in the coming year we can work together as a unified
team to protect our reputation and our legacy, and to regain the
IFPís position as the champion of democracy, constitutionality,
social justice and genuine freedom. It is going to take a
tremendous effort on our part, but it can be done. As my
granddaughter, Latoya, is telling the world lately, weíve just
got to pump it on!
We work with many of you as colleagues in the service of Godís
people in different stations in life and in some cases in the
same field. We hardly have time in the year to pause and thank
God for our friendship and Christian Fellowship which so much
enriches our lives. I thank the General Manager for inviting me,
just as her predecessors have done for years and I thank the
staff of the Holiday Inn for always labouring on this day of
relaxation and joy to enable us to enjoy ourselves as we are
doing. Apart from political challenges we have had many
challenges as families. Some have lost their loved ones and some
have gone through serious ailments. Many of us who are here may
have been affected in one way or another. But we should thank
the Lord that we have been spared in His abounding mercy, to be
here, as we celebrate the greatest gift that God gave to us, in
His only son who died for our sins. I speak as a redeemed sinner
who is saved through His precious blood that was shed for wicket
sinners amongst whom I count myself. This is not a political
lunch so I want to emphasize that we are here mostly as family
and friends, rather than as political comrades.
We are all challenged in different ways wherever we are called
to serve and we thank God for giving us the strength to do our
best in the year that is coming to a close. It is a matter
between one, and oneís conscience whether one can say that he or
she did his or her best wherever we are called to serve. Our
Nation seems to have lost its work ethic. And the culture of
entitlement overrides everything we do. We talk of service
delivery, which we misunderstand when we think that we have no
role to play, but that it is only those we have elected who need
to toil for our benefit, without us lifting a finger. I am
troubled about this because for me it is the foundation of all
the corruption that has so enveloped our country at all levels
of our public life.
Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone at this table,
and everyone we represent, for the hard work, commitment and
courage that have brought us safely to the close of 2011. I
thank my own family for continually lending their husband and
father to our nation, and for doing so with such grace. Above
all, I thank God for bringing us together and keeping us
together. May He continue to strengthen us, and may we continue
to serve Him.
Thank you, and merry Christmas.