Emandleni-Matleng: 26 March 2011
On the 4th of September 2010, thousands upon
thousands of IFP supporters gathered in Durban and marched through
the streets, under the slogan "One Vision - One Mission - One IFP".
It ignited a fire of hope within our Party, for we had been walking
a dark road of treachery and discord for more than a year, and the
illusion of defeat was steadily being engineered. The march was a
triumph, not only because it was peaceful, but because it was a show
of strength and unity when the Party needed it most. That march was
organized by the IFP Women's Brigade.
I am proud to rise as the leader of the IFP and
address the Women's Brigade today at this, its 32nd Conference. I am
proud because our women have proven themselves to be the custodians
of the IFP's vision, mission and unity. We meet under this theme,
because it is the slogan developed by the women of the IFP to
express your passion for your Party and your future. Through the
march, you told me that the IFP Women's Brigade is not dead in the
water. It is not defeated in spirit; but impassioned by the actions
of those who dared to threaten the IFP.
On the day of the march, the then Chairperson of
the Women's Brigade, Ms Thembi Nzuza, was not present, which spoke
volumes about her commitment to the Party. But the march was very
capably led by Mrs kaMadlopa-Mthethwa, who spoke eloquently and
truthfully about the IFP.
There have been so many lies spread about our
Party and our leadership, and the time had come for the IFP Women's
Brigade to definitively refute the lies and expose the propaganda
for what it was.
I have often said that our Women's Brigade is the
backbone of the IFP. But I feel that today I need to explain what I
mean by that. Not only would the IFP not exist without you, but we
would be incapable of standing. Our women have always taken a stand
at the most critical moments in our Party's history and our
country's history. Because of our strong backbone of women, the IFP
has been able to disrupt South Africa's slide towards political
hegemony, corruption, misrule and a one-party state. We need our
backbone, because South Africa needs the IFP.
Foremost among the many lies that have been told
about the IFP since the last general election in 2009, is the
vicious lie that our leadership somehow persecuted Ms Zanele
kaMagwaza-Msibi. Let us put that lie to rest once and for all. Our
former National Chairperson was given the position of Mayor of
Zululand by the IFP because we believed she could carry out the
IFP's directive of service delivery in that municipality. She was
deployed by the Party and held that position at the behest of the
Party. She was accountable to our leadership.
Nothing she did in terms of service delivery was
done in her individual capacity.
Because she fulfilled the IFP's mandate in the
Zululand Municipality, the Party chose to promote her to the KwaZulu
Natal Legislature, which is a higher level of government. But when
we did this, some mischief-makers began spreading the lie that she
had been demoted by the Party and that somehow we were persecuting
and punishing her. The media in particular was responsible for
entrenching the lie in the public domain that our former Chairperson
was persecuted by the leadership of the Party because she was a
But more than that, she had after all been the
Party's candidate for the position of Premier for the Province of
KwaZulu Natal. I do not know how else the Party could have shown
confidence in her as a person and in the leadership of our women.
Her proposal was our tribute to womanhood.
And it was not even the first of its kind or an isolated
Even the ANC Women's League took up this lie about
persecution. They disrupted a meeting of the Legislature to sing
"Zanele is ours" and "What kind of a man is afraid of a woman?" The
ANC's Minister of Human Settlements, Mr Tokyo Sexwale, publicly
called on our National Chairperson to abandon the IFP because of its
alleged persecution of women, and join the ANC.
It is outrageous that people believed this lie,
when the IFP has such an impeccable track record of empowering women
in every sphere. Even at the negotiating table when all parties
gathered to forge our new democratic dispensation, the IFP's
delegation comprised more women than any other delegation. We have
always believed that women are equal citizens and must have equal
So this story about us persecuting one of our
women was despicable. I challenge anyone, even now, to point to any
way in which we persecuted Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi. Did we persecute her
when we recommended her as our premier candidate in the 2009
election? The IFP received less support that ever before when she
was our candidate, which implies that the electorate rejected her.
But we still supported her.
Did we persecute her when we promoted her to the
Legislature? Or did we persecute her when we gave her the benefit of
the doubt while she lied through her teeth for almost two years
about having nothing to do with "The Friends of VZ" who set out to
destroy this Party? Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi misled us. She deceived us.
She cheated us. This whole saga caused such chaos and confusion that
we could not even meet as a Conference or as a Women's Brigade
Conference since the 2009 elections.
When I spoke at the elective conference of the IFP
Women's Brigade in KwaZulu Natal in June last year, we asked
ourselves why the malcontents who called themselves "The Friends of
VZ" continued to agitate for our former National Chairperson to
become the President, when she had made it clear that she would not
stand for nomination for the presidency. At the time, we could only
speculate and the tensions of suspicion ran high.
We were locked in this war of suspicion for more
than four months before Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi finally painted herself
into a corner and was forced to reveal her hand.
It was revealed that she had been deceiving us as her peers
and was telling a lie, knowing that she was lying to us.
The disciplinary enquiry scheduled for the end of
October last year would have brought Ms kaMagwaza-Msibi face to face
with her deception and she would have had to account to the
leadership in the National Council about why she had done so much
damage to our Party while claiming to be innocent - no, claiming to
be persecuted. She balked at the idea of facing her demons and took
the IFP to court to prevent us from holding the enquiry.
In her court papers, she pursued the stale lie
that the leadership of our Party was persecuting her, and tried to
strengthen her case by claiming that as a leadership we were
illegitimate. She begged the court to force us to hold an elective
conference, but first to make sure that we would not expel her
before then. And finally she came clean and admitted that she wanted
to become the President of the IFP.
How could anyone who had wreaked such havoc in our Party, who - through her supporters - had disrupted meetings, dragged our name through the mud, trampled our Constitution,
besmirched our legacy, lied to the electorate, lied to the media,
lied to our members, and allowed people to die - how could such a
person dare set their sights on leading this Party? Clearly Ms
kaMagwaza-Msibi had made up her mind that she would either take the
reins of the IFP, or take it down. That is how little she cared for
Despite her protestations that her heart belonged
to the IFP and she would never leave us, she knew that the National
Freedom Party had already been registered with the IEC, and she left
within two weeks of telling that lie for the last time. But it is
not only her that deceived you. Her supporters misled you and
pretended to speak on your behalf.
Ms Bongekile Gwala alias Bongekile Mtshali and Ms
Angel Mthembu were expelled from the Party for giving themselves
false titles as leaders of the Women's Brigade and making false
statements to the media at Dalton Hostel in eThekwini. These were
two among many whom the IFP was forced to expel or discipline since
We have lost members to this treachery. Some were
honestly misled; others willingly jumped ship because a lot of
promises were made of high positions, jobs and money. We know now
that the money came from some leaders in the ANC, who were
bankrolling the destruction of their old opponent; the IFP. I
approached both President Zuma and Deputy President Motlanthe to
sort this out and to avoid an escalation of old tensions between the
ANC and IFP. But they chose to do nothing.
I then raised the issue in our national Parliament
in February this year, tabling extensive evidence of the ANC's
involvement in the VZ saga. I regret that the ANC continued to deny
it, rather than stop it. The nexus between the ANC and the NFP is by now so
entrenched that a vote for the NFP is the same as a vote for the
ANC. They are two sides of the same coin.
When the NFP was finally launched, we lost more
members and councillors. Some defected to the NFP, but some bypassed
this small fish and went straight to the ANC. To be honest, many of
the councillors who left had done very little for their
constituencies and they were not a great loss to the IFP. But this
loss of members took a toll on the IFP's image in the eyes of the
electorate, and we will need to work hard and smart to replace the
propaganda with the truth about the IFP.
Fortunately, the truth about the IFP is not some
wishy-washy statement of goals and obscure policies. The truth about
the IFP, the IFP's legacy, has been built over 35 years. It is a
legacy of integrity, a legacy of service delivery and a legacy of
which we all may be proud.
When we campaign for the IFP in our areas it is
not difficult for us to find a reason why people should vote for the
IFP. There are endless examples of good governance and effective
leadership to point to. The strength of our Women's Brigade is but
one good reason to vote IFP.
Our Women's Brigade showed its strength in the
midst of our trials by refusing to allow despair to settle over you.
In December last year, despite the fact that we could not hold our
Women's Brigade Conference, the Women's Brigade held its annual
exhibition, as you have been doing since inception. In August last
year, in celebration of national Women's Month, the Women's Brigade
in the Amajuba District organized a prayer meeting, which I had the
privilege to address. There are many more examples of the Women's
Brigade not giving up.
Nevertheless, it pains me that the Women's Brigade
was affected by the ructions in our Party and that it finds itself
in a weaker state now than it was several years ago. It pains me
because we need the strength of our Women's Brigade now more than
ever. We are facing Local Government Elections on the 18th of May
and the battle is on for control of our municipalities. There is no
question that our opponents are using everything at their disposal
to take power away from the IFP. We need to ensure that we do not
lose more support. Indeed, we need to set our hearts on growing
support and increasing our votes.
We were all disappointed by the results of the
2009 general election. I will not sweep that disappointment under the
carpet. But I ask you to consider it as a challenge to the IFP
Women's Brigade to work harder for this election and to be more
vigilant against electoral fraud. We know that in every election
since 1994 the ruling Party has engaged in fraud, particularly by
registering voters in areas in which they do not live in order to
sway the vote towards the ANC. We know about food parcels for votes,
and even job offers for votes. We know our opponents play dirty.
But there is no use in us crying once the milk has
been spilt. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that it
doesn't happen in this election. We need to make sure that we are
not cheated on the 18th of May. To do this, we need members of the
IFP Women's Brigade to volunteer to become Party Agents for the
coming elections. We will train you in what this entails and teach
you what to look out for. We must be vigilant, especially when it
comes to the Special Vote.
I have voiced my concerns about the Special Vote
before, for we have seen it abused in previous elections. The
Special Vote enables ailing people, pregnant women, the disabled and
the elderly to cast their vote before election day. In this
election, the Special Vote will extend to anyone who cannot go to
their polling station on voting day, for whatever reason. This
leaves the Special Vote open to extensive fraud.
I urge you to begin immediately to look for people
who would qualify for the Special Vote and assist them to register
to use it. Registration will open on the 15th of April and
close again on the 3rd of May.
I now wish to speak to you very earnestly about
the election that will take place within this Conference. Over this
weekend, you will choose your leaders and those who will represent
the IFP in the coming term.
I urge you to choose wisely and carefully. Being a
leader is not about ambition or the desire to be seen and applauded.
It is about a heart to serve and a desire to see people fed and
clothed, educated and living in dignity. Choose leaders who will put
the interests of the Party and the people before their own
interests, for service is not for the ambitious or the conceited.
I must confess to you that during the leadership
of this Brigade by both Mrs Zwane and Mrs Thembi Nzuza, the Women's
Brigade's support nosedived and they have both left it at its lowest
ebb. It is not surprising that both of them decided to join the ANC.
Before that, we were fortunate to have dedicated and committed
Chairpersons of this Women's Brigade. These leaders were unlike Mrs
Nzuza, who seemed to expect us to massage her ego at every turn. We
admit that we failed to do so, but we could not succeed where even
her spouse failed.
It is a pity that we have seen such bad examples
of leadership since the 2009 election. But let us take it as a
warning for this elective conference.
When we last met in October 2008 for the Women's
Brigade Conference, the then Chairperson Ms Thembi Nzuza spoke in
definitive terms saying, "What we have today is a Government
immersed in corruption." I was sorry to see Ms Nzuza leave the IFP
to join the very Party that runs that Government, because her
willingness to wade into the pool of corruption suggests that her
own values have been compromised somewhere along the way. Or that
she was pretending all along that she abhorred corruption in
She has shown herself to be a political chameleon
on the issue of changing Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi. Her strong
opposition to this agenda earned her the admiration of so many
people. But when asked about it now that she has defected to the
ANC, she is singing a different song. She says that it is up to the
ANC to do whatever they decide on changing the name of this road.
This shows that she is not a principled individual, but a
Ms Nzuza has propagated the lie that the IFP mistreats its women, even in the
face of her own elevation by the Party. She occupied high positions
in the IFP, as a member of the National Executive Committee and
Chairperson of the Women's Brigade. She was the IFP's candidate for
Mayor in 2006. We did not choose a
man. When she could not make it, we allowed her to return to her
official position as a representative of the IFP in the Executive
Committee of the Ethekwini Metro.
But no sooner had she returned, than Dr Gladwin
Ndlela argued that he should be deployed back to that position as he
had not made it to Parliament, due to the poor performance of our
Party. We did not agree. Dr Ndlela then took the matter to the High
Court. We as the leadership of the Party decided to stand with Mrs
Nzuza and we spent quite a large amount of the Party's resources
defending her position.
She made quite a few gaffes, one of which was on
Facebook. We did not press charges against her and did not take the
matter to the National Council.
But she made further gaffes for which we felt she was
accountable to the Party. She then started sending the NEC doctor's
certificates stating that she was ailing. And yet she attended the
meetings of EXCO at the Ethekwini Metro. On some occasions, she
would be absent from meetings of the NEC without even sending an
A decision was therefore taken to bring her before
National Council. She could not attend and the hearings were
postponed each time. But finally she decided to defect to the
African National Congress where she has been saying all sorts of
things about us. She has kept on accusing the Party of persecuting
women, when she was given the highest positions, and when we
defended her position against a prominent male member of the Party
who wanted to topple her in the EXCO of Ethekwini Metro.
We poured a lot of money and effort into training
Ms Nzuza, even sending her to Sweden on a political education
programme. But in the end, I would far rather work with people who
are committed and available, than people who are double-minded -
regardless of how well they are trained. Ms Nzuza's
double-mindedness did some damage to the reputation of the Women's Brigade.
People wondered whether your organization was worth its salt, if it was led by
an unprincipled individual like her.
But I thank God that this structure is bigger than
a single person or a single personality. We are therefore not
distraught over Mrs Mncwango either. On Tuesday rumours started
flying about the defection of Mrs Sanelisiwe Mncwango, who is the
wife of our National Organiser and the Director of Community
Services at Nongoma Municipality. At first I was encouraged when I
read 'The Witness' newspaper, in which our National Organiser Mr
Mangaqa Mncwango denied that such a thing had happened, and added
that such a thing would never happen. But as the day progressed,
people started showing a photograph of Mrs Sanelisiwe Mncwango
receiving a t-shirt from Mrs Bongekile Gwala, alias Bongekile
Mtshali, of the National Freedom Party.
Later that day, the National Organiser himself
'phoned me to confirm that he had established that the rumours about
his wife were true. We were surprised, because the IFP has
faithfully supported Mrs Mncwango, even through her corruption
charges last year when she was charged with stealing municipal
funds. I pitied our National Organiser for this blow inflicted on
him by his beloved wife. I encouraged him with the
Secretary-General, Rev. Zondi, because of the state of devastation
he was in.
It was indeed quite a blow, even to the Party. Mrs
Mncwango has been a member of the Party for decades. As you may
recall, when the Constitution of the Party decreed that the
Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Women's Brigade be
appointed by the President, I appointed Mrs Mncwango as the first
Deputy Chairperson of the Women's Brigade. She was in the Municipal
Council later as Speaker of the Council and also as a Councillor.
But all of a sudden we heard that she had chosen
to leave her position as a Councillor and applied for a job in the
Council as Director of Community Services. This is where she is now.
Although the Party has a rule that no member of the Party should be
seen moving to and fro, as Councillor, then an employee of the
Council, we just overlooked what Mrs Mncwango did. But now that the
Party was preparing for local government elections, news filtered to
us that Mrs Mncwango wanted to be the Mayor of Nongoma.
We received a list of candidates in the NEC in
which her name featured. The NEC decided to advise Mrs Mncwango
against wanting to come back as a Councillor. We thought the matter
was settled, but we suddenly received another list of candidates
from Nongoma and Mrs Mncwango's name was number one on the list.
There were complaints from some of the leaders of the Party that
this selection of candidates was not done at a normal meeting of the
ad hoc election committee.
A few leaders of the Party, such as Mrs Thembi
Madlopha-Mthethwa, the Acting Chairperson of the Women's Brigade,
and other members of the National Council such as Geoffrey Bhengu,
the Chairperson of the Political Oversight Committee, were sent to
sort out some of the problems in Nongoma, including the issue of Mrs
Mncwango. We received a report from these leaders that were deployed
to Nongoma that Mrs Mncwango accepted the decision of the NEC in
very good spirit.
So we were all quite surprised to learn that Mrs
Mncwango had defected to the party of Mrs Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, as
it is well known that there was no love lost between the two of
them. We had reminded those who had to speak to Mrs Mncwango about
the past charges of corruption against her, where she was actually
taken to court, although the court later withdrew the charges. We
felt she should keep that in her past, for it would always be raised
if she was given a position such as Mayor. But there was never any
suggestion that she should remove herself from all Party structures.
Mrs Mncwango, as an old member of the Party, knows
that we have structures in the Party which include the Disciplinary
Committee. Any person
who contravenes any of the provisions of the Constitution is taken
to the Disciplinary Committee. She was never before any Disciplinary
Committee, but she chose to give credence to a lie that she and Mrs
kaMagwaza-Msibi were persecuted by the leaders of the Party.
She dragged my name through the mud by saying that people
gossip about her to me. The IFP is not a dictatorship, whatever lies
our detractors tell about us in this regard.
It is evil for Mrs Mncwango to give the impression
that any decision that was taken about her was taken by me alone as
leader of the IFP. I take strong exception to Mrs Mncwango trying to
drag my name through the mud in the manner she has done in the
media. Like other women who have defected whilst holding important
positions, she was blinded by ambition to do what she wants to do.
There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, but one should be
ambitious for good reasons, such as for serving the community and
After all this, it appears Mrs Mncwango has had a change of heart. On
Thursday, our National Organiser was kind enough to read me a press
statement she released. The statement reads -
"I AM COMING BACK HOME," SAYS SANELISIWE MNCWANGO
After careful consideration of my recent actions,
that prompted me to join the National Freedom Party, I have realised
that my decision was ill-thought through, ill-advised and that I did
not fully understand the implications of my actions.
I acted out of extreme anger. My sober judgement
was impaired by my emotions, which resulted in the biggest mistake
of my life.
As a Director at the Nongoma municipality, I have
always been resolutely committed to uplifting our communities at
This remains my mission; a goal I can only achieve
as a loyal servant and member of the Inkatha Freedom Party.
It is against this background that I would hereby
like to formally tender my immediate resignation from the NFP.
I would like to unconditionally apologise to my
husband, the IFP's National Organiser Albert Mncwango, to my
children and my family for the pain and tension I have caused.
In addition, I would like to apologise to the IFP
President Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the IFP family at large,
whose support, warmth and loyalty I have enjoyed for more than 30
years. I regret that my obtuse decision has caused so much negative
publicity and damage to the image of the IFP.
I hope that I will be given the opportunity to put
forward my side of the story in due course. I want to come back home
to the IFP, the Party that I respect and love so much.
MRS SANELISIWE MNCWANGO"
Due to the shortness of time, I have not yet put
this matter before the National Council, which is the only body that
can decide how to respond to it.
I felt that I needed to give this full background
about both Mrs Nzuza and Mrs Mncwango, since our enemies have seized
on their defection as proof that there was something wrong with the
way we treat our women in the Party. We are not surprised to see
what a big meal the media made out of this. It was to be expected.
It is a pity that all these women who defect are inveterate liars.
According to 'ISOLEZWE', Mrs Mncwango claimed to
have been persecuted. By whom? God only knows. She gave credibility to
the lies of kaMagwaza-Msibi by saying that she was joining the party
of another woman who was also persecuted like herself.
She should have known better.
I pitied my colleague, Mr Mangaqa Mncwango, our
National Organiser, who has to live with someone like this as his
spouse. One can imagine how he has suffered from her recalcitrance.
I can well imagine the humiliation that Comrade Mncwango must have
felt just reading the headlines in 'The Mercury' that announced Mrs
Mncwango's defection, which read "HUSBAND DIDN'T KNOW" and "WIFE OF
IFP NATIONAL ORGANISER JOINS NFP."
The IFP is not about giving away positions for the
sake of mollycoddling its leaders. We choose horses for courses. We
choose the right people for the job, based on skills and
performance. As this Conference chooses its new leaders, I ask you
to do so wisely and with care. Some of our leaders have disappointed
But we have survived the treachery of our former
National Chairperson. We have survived the indecision of our former
Women's Brigade Chairperson, and we will survive the weakness of Mrs
Saneliswe Mncwango; because the mission and vision of the IFP
supersedes the ambition of individual members.
Our vision needs to be unshakable, because the
needs of the people we serve are vast and overwhelming. The real
issues we face are greater than who said what to whom, who is a
"VZ", and what the newspapers wrote about us. The real issues that
the IFP grapples with remain the same; they are the poverty of our
people, the underdevelopment of our country, the pervasiveness of
crime, the repercussions of unemployment, the anguish of disease,
the inefficiencies of our education system, the scourge of
corruption, the decline of morality, the very real problem of food
security, the death of the rule of law and the HIV/Aids pandemic.
I am deeply concerned about food security,
particularly in our rural areas where subsistence agriculture has
largely fallen away. I wonder how our families will put food on the
table, as the price of food continues to skyrocket. I have always
urged our women not to wait for government handouts. Everyone who
has two hands should produce something in order to earn a living.
Even in the garden near one's home.
A garden of vegetables is worth more than a garden of
During the apartheid era, I sent some of our women
leaders to the Coady International Institute at St Francis Xavier
University in Canada, to study cooperatives and community savings.
Among those women was Mrs Eileen ka Nkosi Shandu and Ms Thoko Zungu.
Many of the community development projects started in those years
continue to assist our families today. But we need a far greater
emphasis on self-help and self-reliance than our present ANC
Government is willing to commit to. Instead, our Government is
creating a welfare state where some 15 million South Africans
receive a social grant.
By saying this I am not criticizing the idea of
social grants. Of course, the first old age grant that was ever
provided was provided by the Government of KwaZulu under my
leadership. But my Government's philosophy was to empower people to
help themselves, not to make them perpetually dependent on a State
that cannot provide for all their needs, forever. History tells us
that a welfare state inevitably collapses under the weight of its
That is not what we want for South Africa. We want
sustainable development that sees our citizens becoming more and
more self-sufficient. For only in this way can the full measure of
human dignity be achieved, and only in this way can we free South
Africa to become economically prosperous.
But the IFP has always been at loggerheads with
the ANC's policies. You will recall our stand on HIV/Aids in this
Province which saw the IFP save the lives of thousands of babies. We
demanded the roll out of the anti-retroviral, Nevirapine, to all
mothers when their babies were born. But the ANC was slow to move
and reluctant to question their leader, who questioned the
scientific link between HIV and Aids.
People were dying while the ANC pontificated. Even
recent improvements in the supply of anti-retrovirals cannot wipe
away the genocide that was caused by the leadership of the ANC
They didn't need to wonder whether an HIV positive
person will develop Aids. They could have walked among our people
and seen it for themselves. They could have talked to our sick and
dying mothers, whose hearts were wrenched with anguish over the
prospect of passing the disease on to their babies. I thank God that
the IFP could save the lives we did when our then Premier, Dr Lionel
Mtshali, rolled out Nevirapine in this Province.
We had to join the TAC in a case before the
Constitutional Court, against the National Government, to force the
government to supply Nevirapine to pregnant women.
Even then the current leader of the ANC in this Province, who
is also the Premier, the Honourable Dr Mkhize, sued the IFP Premier,
the Honourable Dr Mtshali, for taking this matter to court on our
instructions. Dr Mkhize tried to argue that Dr Mtshali had no right
to take this matter to court as Dr Mkhize was the line function
Minister of Health in the Province. He lost the case as the court
said that the executive authority of the Province resided in the
Then, when it comes to education, the IFP
Government of KwaZulu built most of the schools and training
colleges in this Province. But when the ANC took over, they closed
down many of those training colleges. When I was Chief Minister, our schools always
opened on time and teachers were valued for the crucial role they
played in the development of our children into competent citizens
and educated adults.
But under the ANC, teachers in South Africa feel
so neglected and cast off by Government that they engaged in a long
and damaging strike last year, which kept our children out of the
classroom for weeks. This came at a time when we could least afford
it, for the 2010 Soccer World Cup already meant that our children
would miss school for an abnormally long amount of time. Many
teachers and learners put in a tremendous amount of work to catch up
after all this disruption to the school year. But many learners
never did catch up and they, our children, are paying the price for
our Government's incompetence.
The ruling Party needs to stop playing with our
children's lives and futures by gambling with their education. After
more than a decade, the Minister of Education had to admit that the
entire system of Outcomes Based Education, which was abruptly forced
on our schools, had failed, and a new system would now be
This means that an entire generation of children
has been educated under a failed system. How can they hope to find
employment when our Government completely failed to prepare them for
the labour market and for life? With an unemployment rate of 51%
among our youth, Government will need to do more than just name 2011
the year of job creation.
They will actually have to create jobs.
We welcome the fact that government has put aside
billions of Rand for the creation of jobs. We will do all we can for
that dream to be realized. But one must confess that when we look at
the figure of 5 million jobs, we are sceptical. For President Zuma
promised 500,000 jobs in 2009, and we ended up losing more than a
million jobs. This will happen again if Government does not address
the issue of our rigid labour laws. The private sector must be at
the forefront of this exercise. We have parastatals in this country
such as South African Airways and others which are run by Government
at a loss.
Many of our children still learn under trees or in
mud schools, under degrading circumstances. This despite President
Zuma's commitment to address the problem. Just last year I visited
Maliyamakhanda Primary School in Mahlabathini to hand over ablution
facilities which were kindly donated by an IFP businessman. It
brought me to tears to think of the indignity our children must
suffer, when they cannot even go to a proper toilet, in privacy,
during a school day. This is not the kind of life we want to give
As parents, as mothers, you want to offer your
children more than you had as a child. You want to make up for every
indignity you ever suffered at the hands of the apartheid regime,
and under the iron grip of poverty. I know that many of you are old
enough to remember what we achieved in KwaZulu with the meagre
resources the apartheid regime afforded us. I encourage you to tell
your younger sisters, so that they too may be inspired by the
knowledge of what can be done, even in the most dire circumstances.
In many ways, today is better than yesterday in
terms of opportunities to rise above your circumstances. But I am
aware that our women today suffer deeply under the pressure of our
societal imbalances, which are yet to be rectified by a democratic
government. I recall how our women suffered during the apartheid era
when their husbands were taken away from home to work on the mines.
Families were broken up and women were forced to take the role of
head of the home. You were often providers as well as single
parents, and the battle to make ends meet was oppressing.
Today many of our women find themselves single
parents and the head of the home because of HIV/Aids and
unemployment. We also face the tragedy of child-headed families
because of the scourge of HIV/Aids.
There is a new battle raging in our country, but
many of its effects are the same. We no longer fight discrimination
and oppression. But we fight poverty, corruption and disease. The
IFP has been in this battle with our women for 35 years. We have
fought with you side by side, in the trenches; and you have given us
the measure of what can be achieved through hard work, selfless
commitment and unbreakable faith.
As the founder of this Party, I must confess that
the strength and the role of the Women's Brigade took me by
surprise. I was expecting our women to lead us in the charge, for I
have seen what the incredible passion of women can accomplish. I
expected our women to be the custodians of our vision and our
mission. I expected you to be the engine room of our political
activity. And I expected you to make our Party proud. But I could
never have anticipated the dynamic power of the Women's Brigade that
I have witnessed over the past 35 years.
I was raised in the presence and at the knees of
politically-minded women who were courageous and bold, particularly
by the standards of their own generation. My mother, Princess
Constance Magogo kaDinuzulu, never fitted into the mould that was
expected of her. She fulfilled her responsibilities and her role,
but she was always bigger than her people expected her to be. She
was, for instance, a praise-singer of note, memorizing the history
and lineage of our people with almost supernatural ability. In a
world of men, she was a tower; impossible to ignore and majestic to
And she was a hard worker. I did not want to see
her working in the garden when she was in her late 70s and 80s. So
she would use her grandchildren, my children, as her spies. She
instructed them to warn her to rush back into her cottage as soon as
they heard the sound of my car, whenever I had been away from home.
My mother showed me what women are capable of. She
taught me that there are no limits on a woman; that the limitations
of our mind that we place on ourselves are nothing but constructs of
the imagination and constructs of social conditioning. The era of
women's liberation came to the Western world when I was a young man,
but I already knew that women are powerful creatures, and I already
knew what they could achieve for our country, given a channel to
When I founded Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe in
1975, I made certain that women were central to our movement. The
majority of our membership was female, which is still the case
today. And our women always proved more politically active than our
men, which is also still the case today. This is why I urge our
women to lead our election campaigns, because you are the custodians
of our mission to serve the people of South Africa in the spirit of
If the Women's Brigade of the IFP cannot be equal
to the challenge of implementing our vision and mission, then this
Party is doomed. It is not surprising that our political enemies
have always sought traitors from amongst our women. Not that we do
not have a string of treacherous men who again and again betrayed me
and the IFP, in the last 35 years.
But you are the custodians of our vision, which is
to create a just, prosperous and moral society, whose citizens
engage with one another on the basis of ubuntu. You are the
custodians of the values of the IFP, which are solidarity, freedom
and unity in diversity. And you are the custodians of a united IFP.
One vision, one mission, one Party.
I look forward to seeing what the Women's Brigade
will achieve in the years to come. For now, I ask you to win us the
2011 election. I do not doubt that you may yet surprise those who
have been writing a string of obituaries of this Party. You may yet
prove the old saying that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand
that rules the world.
I thank you.