22nd IFP WOMEN’S BRIGADE ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE
EMANDLENI-MATLENG : OCTOBER 10, 1999
The Women’s Brigade of the Inkatha Freedom Party met for its Annual General Conference at Emandleni-Matleng from October 8 – 10, 1999 and unanimously adopted the following resolutions:
We recognise and applaud the wise and consistent national leadership of the President of the IFP, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and his commitment to the empowerment and safety of women and children throughout our society.
We therefore call on all party structures to further our President’s example by continually working for the betterment of our country and its citizens by:
- promoting respect for the value of human life and the dignity of all women, men and children;
- motivating equality of opportunity and access by women to the economic, social and political life our country;
- leading by example in showing throughout our communities that self-discipline, self-help and self-reliance are critical factors in the creation of stable and successful individual and family circumstances;
- respecting and enjoying our national heritage and traditions and safekeeping the beauty and many wonders of our environment for generations to come;
- recognising that values including honesty, integrity and hard work are integral to our nation’s social, political and economic development and critical determinants for our international reputation and credibility.
In acknowledging the role of the family to be pivotal to the stability and upliftment of South African society, we believe statistical evidence reporting the increasing breakdown and disintegration of family structures throughout the Republic reveals a national crisis.
Members and supporters are therefore asked to:
- call for concerned citizens, religious and community organisations, local and provincial governments and national government to creatively prioritise this issue in their communications outreach and motivate the need for sound family values as a national imperative;
- identify and mobilise respected leadership, professional personnel and resources which can be used within communities to constructively assist families in danger of collapsing;
- specifically highlight throughout the course of their constituency work the growing social, economic and psychological cost and danger to our society of family disintegration leading to economically unstable and traumatised families;
- recognise the special needs of children affected by destructive family disbandment;
- rekindle respect for the pivotal social role within society in general and in particular, families of the elderly and grandparents.
Conference again condemns the ceaseless acts of violence being perpetrated against women and children throughout our society. We deplore that year after year this Brigade has to express its outrage at the physical pain, life-long emotional trauma, humiliation and powerlessness experienced by survivors of acts of barbarism.
We believe that communities throughout our land have become part of the problem in not providing a community response to what is essentially a community problem and that government cannot be expected to singularly solve what is actually a staggering social issue.
- again call for the State and society in general, in partnership, to prioritise this issue;
- request women, men and youth to establish focal points within communities to assist victims/survivors and to identify and report assailants to the South African Police Services;
- ask men of goodwill to isolate those men within our communities who are known for their disrespectful and/or aggressive behaviour towards women and children;
- call for government to re-examine all aspects of our justice system dealing with crimes against women and children and to adequately resource special courts to swiftly and sensitively handle crimes against women and children;
- insist that Government immediately re-evaluates sentences for crimes against women and children and ensures that bail is denied automatically when such crimes are involved;
- instruct IFP MPs to specifically pursue the possibilities of new laws which will create new sentences for the most violent forms of abuse against women and children;
- recognise the growing demand for debate and decision on whether the death penalty should be instituted for these heinous crimes against women and children.
In promoting the access of women to economic development and empowerment, Conference requests members of the Brigade and MPs and MPPs in particular to:
- identify all areas in which women throughout their constituencies have the capacity to individually or collectively compete and tender for contracts and/or selection requirements;
- access all relevant information relating to these development opportunities and entrance and/or selection requirements;
- mobilise women to take advantage of existing resources available to them within national, provincial and local government development programmes as well as those offered by parastatals and private enterprise;
- note that such opportunities exist in various areas including (but not exclusive to) environmental affairs and tourism, public works, education, health, economic development, social welfare, Telkom, Eskom and numerous NGO’s.
- assist and teach women how to organise and create legal and other entities and how to successfully meet the application criteria required for such contracts, tenders and programmes and how to network among a variety of women’s and other organisations;
- be mindful at all times to include within any group the participation, valuable contribution and insights of those who are disabled within our communities.
The epidemic of HIV/AIDS is now responsible for the ongoing deaths of thousands of men, women and children throughout South Africa and few homes have not been affected by the loss of loved ones. More often than not, our dead are buried without family and friends acknowledging the primary cause of the resultant fatal illnesses and a shroud of secrecy continues to cover the brutal reality of the terrible scourge of HIV/AIDS in our society.
Alarming statistics reveal that more than a thousand South Africans are being newly infected each day. It has now become a national duty for all South Africans to actively promote measures which are known to reduce the risks of infection.
We therefore urge members and supporters to:
- support policies and programmes which promote openness, tolerance and transparency within our society regarding HIV/AIDS;
- encourage greater personal responsibility within relationships;
- open channels of discussion and consult leadership within our communities so that socially appropriate ways can be found to discuss the issue within our homes and in public discourse;
- explore ways and means of having the wisdom of our elders used in teaching our youth how to survive HIV/AIDS;
- recognise the burden being placed on the elderly in our society, particularly grandparents, who are now faced with the financial and emotional support and nurturing of HIV/AIDS orphans;
- help social workers identify affected adults and children in need of assistance, support and care within our communities;
- assist social welfare organisations caring for adults and children affected by HIV/AIDS and encourage churches and appropriate persons throughout our communities to offer their hearts and their homes to HIV/AIDS orphans and those in need of care.
In witnessing the obvious degradation and human destruction of our environment, particularly within our towns and cities, members and supporters are requested to:
- encourage pride and individual and collective responsibility in keeping our towns, cities, parks and other open spaces clean;
- set an example within their own neighbourhoods and encourage their children to actively participate in clean-up campaigns within our townships and elsewhere where pollution is evident;
- involve teachers and parents’ associations in prioritising the issue of environmental awareness throughout our communities;
- urge community associations and groups to identify and constructively address individuals and groups who actively contribute to pollution and destruction in our streets and suburbs.
Conference notes that a high quality standard of education is the right of every child in the new South Africa and that its delivery is the responsibility not only of government, schools and individual teachers but also of parents themselves.
Conference further notes that unless parents establish a culture of values, personal growth, vision, self-discipline, learning and ubuntu/botho in the home, schools will not able to discharge their duty of developing educated and high calibre individuals capable of contributing fully to the new South Africa.
Conference therefore calls for the following action to improve education in the home and in our schools:
- parents must accept their responsibility to work in partnership with schools to develop the full potential of the children of South Africa;
- the Department of Education must take education to the people by engaging in programmes aimed at educating parents about their role in education, their responsibilities and the responsibilities of teachers and schools;
- conferences must be organised throughout Provinces aimed at informing parents of their rights and responsibilities;
- radio, television, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and all media of communication must be used to deliver this message to parents;
- urgent action must be taken to improve the quality of school governing bodies;
- principals and teachers must accept as their solemn duty the care and education of the children of South Africa. The Department must root out from schools those principals and teachers who betray that responsibility by abusing children and who display a lack of self-discipline and commitment. Drunkenness, indolence and arrogance must no longer be tolerated;
- women who have previously been denied access to education must seize opportunities now available to them by the many programmes offered by the Department of Education and other centers catering for adult education;
- parents should recognise the importance of extra-mural activities and participate with their children in organising sporting and other cultural activities.
Recognising the critical importance of the forthcoming local government elections to the development and growth of the Inkatha Freedom Party and hence to advancing the developmental needs of women, men and children, we call on all members to contribute fully to the Party’s success by:
- providing support and assistance to IFP councillors and candidates in ensuring that local government meets the needs of the people;
- playing a full role in communicating to the people the work of the IFP within local government and the successes that the IFP has achieved on behalf of the people;
- pledging to actively campaign for the Party’s success in the local elections in whatever manner required by the Party;
- promoting awareness of local government elections amongst supporters and ensuring the fullest possible participation in these elections;
- recognising the critical need to ensure that voters have the required identity documents and assisting them to apply for these and to subsequently ensure that they register on the relevant voters’ roll;
- identifying candidates of calibre who will be able to serve citizens with distinction.
Being mindful of the initiative of the President of the IFP, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, in calling for South Africa to be transformed by a “revolution of goodwill”, we call on all members and supporters to advance this initiative by:
- promoting individual and collective respect and dedication to our families, work-places and communities;
- pledging our commitment to fostering law, order, social discipline, manners, moral values, rigorous work ethics and productivity within our communities.
- educating our children to be well-mannered, to have pride in their bodies, to respect their families, their fellow citizens and the institutions of the Republic of South Africa;
- campaigning fearlessly against crime, vandalism and intimidation wherever they occur;
- recognising that respect for parenthood is a critical social building block and that both parents have a responsibility for the financial support and maintenance of their children;
- insisting that family members meet their obligations in providing for their children and caring for the elderly;
- planning parenthood responsibly and within the realities of the economic circumstances of the family unit.
Noting that women comprise more than 50 percent of the population of South Africa and their key role in the upbringing of children and the development of stable social structures, we urge all members and supporters to play their full part in building the new South Africa, by:
- participating fully in the political life of the country at local, provincial and national level;
- encouraging all women to exercise their constitutional rights to equality and respect in politics, the work-place and the home;
- working tirelessly to translate the constitutional guarantees of equality into reality in every sphere;
- accepting the responsibility of putting the building of our nation before the desire for personal advantage or gain.
We reject the growth of a culture of dependence and entitlement which refuses to accept that we cannot expect help from others until we are prepared to help ourselves. We recognise that the transformation of our divided society cannot be achieved unless we are prepared to adopt the principles of self-help and self-reliance and we therefore call on all members to:
- follow the example of our President, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, by actively promoting the philosophy of self-help and self-reliance at every level of society
- demonstrate through our daily actions, our personal adherence to the principles of self-help and self-reliance, as individuals, within our families and in the wider community;
educate our fellow citizens that self-help and self-reliance bring with them a restoration of human dignity and self-
- worth in contrast to the dependence culture, which breeds inferiority and humiliation;
- redouble our efforts to lift our communities out of a cycle of dependence, decline and despair.
Conference expresses its condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured in the recent tragic bus crashes and numerous other vehicle collisions throughout South Africa. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the British families who have suffered bereavement following the Mpumalanga bus crash.
Conference notes that over 10,000 people are killed on South Africa’s roads each year, in private cars, mini-bus taxis and buses and calls for urgent steps to be taken to address this tragic loss of life.
Conference therefore urges the following action:
- all relevant government structures to work together with bus companies and taxi organisations, to ensure effective implementation of the current road and vehicle safety laws;
- provincial government to ensure that speed and safety checks are carried out on a comprehensive and frequent basis with particular reference to passenger service vehicles and to work with national government to ensure that funds are available to fill vacant traffic officer posts;
- all individuals to comply with road traffic regulations and drive with a sense of due care and responsibility to fellow road users and pedestrians;
- the relevant authorities to embark upon a saturation and hard-hitting public information campaign to make drinking and driving and all manner of unsafe driving socially unacceptable;
- the rooting out of corrupt vehicle safety inspectors who pass vehicles which are unfit for our roads, thereby endangering the lives of their fellow citizens;
- the removal of livestock from the vicinity of our roads;
- heavier penalties (not just fines) for offences including impounding vehicles;
- driver training and re-training for all professional drivers;
- passengers and drivers to adhere to socially responsible behaviour and to co-operate in isolating offenders.