Christmas Lunch 2011
Message of Good Wishes
By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan
Chairman: Zululand District Local House Of Traditional Leaders Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Monarch and Nation
and President of the Inkatha Freedom Party


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.