Human Rights Day Statement

Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL

President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
21 March 2020

Mother Teresa aptly pointed out that “Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity”, and today 26 years on since the dawn of our democracy, Human Rights Day serves as a reminder of the brutal regime of the past, the challenges we continue to face as a country in the present and the infinite hope and progress that our country will enjoy in the future.

To amplify Mother Teresa our government must understand that we cannot simply all celebrate the hard-won victory of our Human Rights, when vulnerable South Africans still face grave injustice. Government must walk the talk of human rights.

Raising our voices in speaking out against injustices is essential to the creation of a future of peace, justice and sustainable development; where our government serves all our people, all the time with all our resources.

In all the noise of politics and political correctness; the only melodic sound that has sustained us is our unwavering commitment and hope to the promise of human rights which ideally exist, if achieved, as the greatest equaliser.

Therefore, at the apex of this day, we must celebrate the Bill of Rights preserved in our Constitution as it is the cornerstone of our constitutional and representative democracy.

The IFP considers Ubuntu/Botho as the foundation of all human interaction. Accordingly, we have respect, compassion and empathy for everyone, recognising that human dignity is intrinsic to all. Our country has accomplished much since 1994. But political freedom has not delivered social and economic justice for all our people.

No society can achieve its full potential while its people live in fear. Development is only possible when individual rights and liberties are secured. Thus safety and security, and access to justice, must be guaranteed. South Africans must feel safe and be safe.

At the heart of the noble ideals of human rights lies the core need to push back on the frontiers of inequality and give opportunities to those who bore the brutal brunt of apartheid and their successive generations. This calls for renewed action for better schooling, universal access to healthcare for all, dignified housing for all and importantly a job creating economy.

The IFP was founded 45 years ago today to fight human wrongs, and exists in modern democratic South Africa to uphold and protect human rights.

Combatting corruption, ending the scourge of gender based violence, putting the needs of South African workers first through job preservation and strengthening our criminal justice system by having a referendum on the death penalty are key causes the IFP will champion in Parliament, in the Provincial Legislatures and in all IFP-led local governments.

We can achieve the goals we set out for ourselves when we hold dear the values of integrity, trust and Ubuntu.

We are a nation building itself through the principles of togetherness, reconciliation and fighting to secure social and economic justice for all South Africans. These values are inextricably linked to our own values.

We can attribute this legacy of the IFP in fighting to secure universal human rights on the basis of humanity, freedom, justice, and peace for all South Africans. As we look back to draw inspiration on our legacy and how far we have come in our journey to a non-racial country, we look to the present to solve the many human rights violations millions of South Africans still suffer.

It is fitting that this day also marks the 45th year since the founding of the IFP by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in 1975. It is indeed regrettable that due to the Covid-19 pandemic we have had to postpone our anniversary rally celebrations.

While we may not be celebrating our 45th in the form of a major rally, we will strive to live out the legacy of 45 years in serving South Africa with integrity.

The best Anniversary gift in honoring our proud legacy is through gearing ourselves towards growing the IFP across the country.

Ultimately, let us honour the memory and sacrifice of Sharpeville by doing right!
Human rights for all!

Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL
IFP President &
Leader of the Official Opposition in the KZN Provincial Legislature
083 974 5783