Hon Velenkosini Hlabisa, MPL
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Fellow South Africans,
In a few days’ time the 2019 Matric results will be released and most certainly whilst we celebrate the new year this is also a time of great anxiety for many learners, teachers and parents as we await these results.
I take this opportunity to congratulate those who have passed, and wish them well for their future endeavors. Go forth in the direction of your dreams, and make the world a better place.
To those who have not passed, this is not the end of the road. Take advantage of the rewriting opportunities. You have our support. Try and fail, but never fail to try for the greatest success is reserved for those who dare.
Fellow parents and guardians this is a time when we must renew our support for our children as they grapple with the realities that come this time.
To my colleagues in the teaching fraternity thank-you for all your hard work in shaping and molding the minds and dreams of our children during their schooling journey. As a former teacher and principal, I know the challenges that come with our profession; and our country owes you a great debt of gratitude for your endless sacrifices which at times stretch well beyond the call of duty.
As we mark the start of a new year and a new decade we must be mindful that we are not a new South Africa; we are still faced with escalating unemployment, debilitating corruption, pandemic inequality and socio-economic injustices.
In the face of the newness of the year and decade ahead, South Africa needs new leadership and new solutions. The IFP has both.
Fellow South Africans, we end 2019 faced with serious challenges as a country with SAA placed under business rescue, Eskom gripped by problems which plunged us into load shedding and an economy that continues to shrink. The sad reality of gender-based violence has fast entrenched itself as permanent feature of our daily lived experience. Women and children are under siege. This must change in 2020.
In 2019 I assumed with honor and humility the reigns to lead the IFP, and building on the Legacy of our President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, I recommitted the IFP to servant leadership. We exist to serve the People.
This commitment will be the north star for the IFP in 2020. We will put you, the People, first.
Our conscience will be your needs.
In 2020 the IFP will mark 45 years of its existence and service to the people of South Africa. This milestone is indicative of our fortitude and resilience against all odds. The NEC will announce details about our celebrations in this regard. This is a big year for the IFP and South Africa.
It is our historic mission from inception 45 years ago to pursue the liberation of the oppressed, dispossessed and vulnerable in our country. In 2020 we recommit ourselves as the IFP to ensure that political freedom translates into social and economic justice to take forward the collective dreams, hopes and aspirations of those we serve; the South African people.
In marking 75 years since the end of World War 2 we must renew global efforts of World Peace; and as such in our last year on the United Nations Security Council South Africa must assert its influence and diplomacy towards the noble ideals of our own democratic foundation of dialogue to bring Israel and Palestine to the table, China to the table with Hong Kong, Tibet and Taiwan. We must facilitate discussion between Russia and Ukraine; and between Morocco and Western Sahara.
On the continent, in the year 2020 we will assume the African Union Chair. Therefore, this must be a year for policy certainty, in a very uncertain World. We must focus the attention of the continent on People Centered Development wherein healthcare, education, infrastructure development and common peace and solidarity become the anchors of greater efforts of continental economic growth and development that competes globally, and benefits locally.
As the European Union navigates Brexit, we in Africa must focus on unity and common purpose because we are stronger together. The EU exists as a powerhouse today because it has always maintained common purpose; this would be a worthy example to follow and in assuming the AU Chair, South Africa must pursue this noble ideal if Africa is to be great.
The wise counsel of Ethiopian and African Statesman Haile Selassie becomes of particular importance here when he said “History teaches us that unity is strength, and cautions us to submerge and overcome our differences in the quest for common goals, to strive, with all our combined strength, for the path to true African brotherhood and unity.”
Certainty is what inspires hope and draws investment and creates stability; and all these elements have been lacking as we navigate our way out of the “nine wasted years” and state capture; and in the new decade we must walk our talk of hope and deliver on the promises of freedom and democracy.
Certainty sustains certainty and provides direction.
When I was elected as President of the IFP in August 2019 I said the following to the National General Conference, which I reiterate today for the benefit of all South Africans:
“The IFP has been endlessly resilient. We have remained as a significant player on the political landscape because of the strong relationship we have built over so many years with the people we serve. It is time now to reap the harvest of that relationship, for the sake of saving South Africa.
Today I am making a clarion call to all those that love South Africa to join hands in partnership with the IFP to fix that which is broken in our country, and to strengthen that which is functional.
To those who hate hatred; join the IFP.
To those who stand against racism and tribalism; the IFP is your home.
To those that want South Africa to grow and prosper; partner with the IFP
To those fighting patriarchy and gender-based violence, let us fight together against these ills.
To those that love this country and want that which is good for this country; we in the IFP are your partners.
My clarion invitation goes out to all South Africans, black, white, Indian and coloured.
The IFP is the home of all; the Xhosas, the Pedis, the Vendas, the Zulus, the Afrikaners, the Ndebeles, the Tswanas and the Sothos. The IFP is the home of diversity, and the paragon of National Unity and Social Cohesion”
As we embarked on our “Face to Face Tour” in 2019 which has already taken us to Limpopo and Mpumalanga as the new National Executive Committee to listen to our People, and see for ourselves their daily lived challenges and realities it has become abundantly clear that South Africa is not on the right track.
The South African ship needs a new captain; and that captain is the IFP, because those who have landed us in the current problems cannot in good faith be the ones to get us out.
The IFP is gearing itself for the 2021 Local Government Elections and in the 2020 we will present to South Africans our manifesto on the best ways possible to improve good governance, ensure heightened service delivery and build a South Africa that works for all South Africans.
To achieve the possibilities of our potential, let us join hands and build a South Africa that works.
I wish you all a Happy New Year.
God bless South Africa!
Velenkosini “VF” Hlabisa, MPL