Mkhuleko Hlengwa, MP
IFP Youth Brigade National Chairperson
Friday, 14 July 2017
Soweto, City of Johannesburg
Honoured guests from the various professional sectors
The Leadership of the IFP Youth Brigade in the Gauteng Province
The National Leadership of the IFP Youth Brigade present
The Gauteng PEC
Districts, Constituencies and Branches present
Councillors and other deployees
Members and Volunteers of the IFP present
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is fitting that we gather in this fashion in the historic Vilakazi Street in historic Soweto; which was a cauldron of ideas and activism during the dark days of apartheid.
We meet at a time when that culture of generating ideas and activism must return to the forefront of our discourse. The agenda of change must be birthed by the youth of South Africa.
It is, therefore, indeed an honour and a privilege for me to be here today to interact in a healthy discussion with fellow young South Africans on the vision of the IFP for our beloved country at a critical time when the economy is in a technical recession, economic downgrades are upon us, high unemployment has become a permanent feature of our reality, escalating poverty is fast becoming a norm and widening inequality is entrenching itself at a fast pace.
These prevailing realities 23 years into our freedom and democracy demand a serious moment of national reflection about our current trajectory, and together we must make an honest assessment as a Nation about our democratic project which is a work in progress.
At the outset I wish to be categorically clear that the easy path for any opposition party is to criticise and oppose for the sake of opposing anchored in the pursuit and hunger for soundbites and headlines; but the patriotic duty in the national interest for an opposition party is to oppose constructively and support that which works even if it is championed by our political opponents.
That is the IFP approach; to be a voice of reason and to be a constructive opposition because ultimately the prevailing realities of our times should not be petty political gaming but rather treated with the seriousness they deserve.
The politics of “isms” have long reached their sell by date; we cannot be bogged down by debates of ideology of yester years engineered abroad for conditions and circumstances foreign to our situation.
In this regard the IFP subscribes to a pragmatic approach to South Africa’s developmental agenda. South African solutions to South African problems.
We simply need to do that which works for South Africa and deals directly with our collective set of challenges.
For so long as we maintain the status quo of colonised education, devoid of South African and African literature we shall forever produce a colonised intelligentsia for a democratic and free South Africa and thus fail to solve our problems.
We must now confront the substantive issues of transformation and access in the education sector in its entirety if we are to produce the skills, knowledge, expertise and innovation needed by the type of people-centred economy and development we envisage for South Africa.
Such an economy needs beneficiation around our own economic strengths and capabilities; and this means a concerted effort of enhancing market linkages.
This is evidenced by the fact that in 2005 South Africa experienced economic growth of 5,5% but without the creating jobs because the focus remained largely on macro-economic growth much to the neglect of micro-economic development.
The IFP envisages an economic outlook where localisation for national and global trade is our modus operandi.
We need to change our focus, and better manage the competing priorities before us.
The rebuilding of the SMME and micro-economic sector must be the starting point if we are to succeed in pushing back the frontiers of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
We must be honest in that the middle class in the main is overburdened by these realities because it is the middle class that must foot the tax bill for these socio-economic challenges.
Whilst social grants are an important and necessary intervention, we must be bold to say that it is an unsustainable intervention particularly when it is an intervention made in a vacuum devoid of independence-inducing development for the beneficiaries.
We must maintain a healthy balance between social grants on one hand and self-help and self-reliance on the other.
The IFP subscribes to the twin pillars of self-help and self-reliance where in simple terms development has a particular bias towards teaching a man how to fish.
The attainment of a developmental state status and trajectory for South Africa in our view as the IFP requires a succinct development of the people in all material socio-economic aspects firmly rooted in a growing and developing economy.
When the economy grows and develops and capable of creating jobs we ease the burden on an already overstretched taxpayer.
More decent and sustainable jobs will generate more tax, and thus facilitate further development.
Programme Director, allow me to clarify one fundamental aspect about the make-up of the IFP. I wish to categorically state that the IFP is not a Zulu party, the fact that KwaZulu-Natal is our biggest support base does not mean that we are just for Zulus. Such a notion is propaganda to fuel tribal and racial tensions.
On 31 May 2015, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, traced the roots of this poppycock when he reminded us that from inception to date and beyond “Inkatha was never just a Zulu organization. Despite the Improper Interference Act, we received members from various African groups, for we represented all disenfranchised South Africans. In response, the Minister of Police and Justice, Minister Jimmy Kruger, summoned me to Pretoria just two years [in 1977] after Inkatha’s formation, and tried to bully me into limiting Inkatha to Zulu members only. I told him that as long as the National Party received whites of all ethnic groups, I had the same right to receive Africans of all ethnic groups.”
I wish to reiterate this principle today; the IFP is for all South Africans of all persuasions, ethnicities, races and social classes.
Programme Director, Wendell Phillips pointed out that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”; and never before has this observation been more true for South Africa.
It is common truth that South Africa is in dire straits as we grapple with corruption and state capture as politicians and public representatives entrusted with the fundamental duty of promoting, protecting and upholding the Constitution have dismally failed in this regard.
The present political paralysis can only now be solved by an active citizenry and electorate, which recognises that its role is not confined to voting every 5 years but rather a daily duty wherever we are. This is the price of liberty, and the duty of patriots.
2019 will serve as an opportunity to decisively change South Africa, but that moment of change needs citizenry activism to begin now.
We need to rid ourselves of the shackles of the past and its politics of nostalgia wherein corruption and state capture thrives because election campaign rhetoric is rooted in struggle credentials and devoid of a vision for the future.
The agenda of correcting the current challenges will not be an event, it is a process that must begin now and brought to its climax in 2019. But importantly it must be sustained beyond 2019, such that never again shall it be that we find ourselves as a country in a similar state of decay again.
In 2019 we must take South Africa back through the barrel of the ballot.
2019 provides you an opportunity to explore other alternatives, and we in the IFP are a worthy alternative to consider.
We have a vision. We have a plan. We have the political will. You can trust us!
South Africa stands at a political crossroads with its future at stake; and we believe that a partnership with you and the IFP can rescue South Africa.
In this regard for the IFP to be successful in good governance and accelerated service delivery we need you, as cadres of young professionals, to constitute clean, sound, effective and efficient government and state administrations. To this end, this will ensure a clear distinction and separation of Party, government and administration.
Speaking at the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, correctly points out that “Looking back now, I thank God for the foundation that was laid that day. Inkatha never deviated from the principles we placed at the heart of our organisation, the very principles of the 1912 founding fathers of Africa’s oldest liberation movement, the African National Native Congress. That is, unity, inclusivity, passive resistance, equality, integrity, negotiations and freedom.”
Therefore, the IFP exists today as the ANC in its original form.
I therefore wish to thank you all for taking the time to engage and interact with us today. And most importantly it is my hope that today we may lay a solid foundation for a healthy, growing and sustainable working partnership to take South Africa forward.
God bless you! God bless South Africa!