PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, thank you for joining us this morning. I am pleased to have with me our Chairperson of the National Campaign Committee, the Hon. Mr Narend Singh, and the National Spokesperson of the IFP, the Hon. Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who will be happy to provide more detailed information following these brief opening remarks.
The full NEC of the IFP has invited you here this morning so that we might share with you the outcome of this past weekend’s Policy Review Summit. This Summit formed a vital part of our strategic preparations for the 2019 national and provincial elections, which are certainly going to see some interesting viewpoints and sentiments being expressed by voters and political parties alike.
Having listened to the voices dominating the national discourse, and having listened to the voices of ordinary South Africans whom we serve every day in our own communities, the IFP has identified 5 keys issues that the coming elections must address.
While our policies cover all areas from Arts and Culture to International Relations, we felt it important to engage a policy review on these 5 key areas, to ensure that the IFP can provide rational, workable solutions that benefit all South Africans, right now.
The leadership of our Party thus met for two days this past weekend for intensive discussions around the following -
- The economy;
- Unemployment and job creation;
- Land, poverty and social development;
- Education and skills development; and
- Crime and security
In advance of this Summit, committees were established to undertake a detailed investigation of the problems, to consider what is being done across the board to address them – and whether or not what is being done is effective – and to find best practice solutions that could realistically be implemented in our South African context.
The extensive work of these Committees was presented to the Summit, opening intensive discussions both in plenaries and breakaway groups.
Throughout all these discussions a central theme emerged. It is undeniable that South Africans, in all our diversity, are unified on this one plea to our Government. We want justice.
What that looks like may vary, but the fact remains that we in South Africa have not enjoyed the social and economic justice that democracy promised. There is a widespread sense of unfairness and injustice that must be addressed.
This extends to all aspects of life in our country, from land to crime, from education to the chance of earning an income.
I will not go into detail this morning on the IFP’s policies, for the process of review is not yet complete. Suffice it to say that we have addressed all the priority issues, including land reform, and have been guided by our values and the interests of all South Africans.
For those of you who are not familiar with the IFP’s core values (although I cannot imagine that that relates to anyone in this room), those values are Integrity, Freedom, Unity in Diversity and Solidarity.
Based on the discussions during our Policy Review Summit, a set of policies on the 5 key areas is being finalised, for completion within the next 3 weeks. In the meantime, our structures will be advised of a public participation process that will take these policies into communities for debate.
We encourage all South Africans to engage with this process. It is not only for the rank and file of our members, but for everyone, because the policies of the IFP will provide solutions that meet the needs of all South Africans. We want to steer the national discourse away from inflammatory rhetoric and get people talking about real solutions.
The input we receive from this public participation process will inform the finalisation of our policies. We believe we have a great product to share with South Africans, but we want to hear from the people we serve how it can be tweaked to become the best possible blueprint for social and economic justice.
Our finalised policies will then be taken to the National Council of the Party, to be endorsed for presentation to our National General Conference. Once Conference has deliberated and adopted these policies, the IFP will run with it all the way to 2019.
The IFP believes that an opportunity exists to rescue our country from the brink of disaster. If people’s needs are not put first right now, if we don’t do what is needed immediately, it will be decades before the present damage can be put right.
Tragically, this Government is creating a legacy of poor decisions that are causing increased hardship and suffering, rather than solving the problems. One such poor decision, the implementation of fuel levies, has been highlighted by the IFP on behalf of all struggling South Africans. We have had an overwhelming response to our fight to suspend fuel levies, which has prompted the IFP to call for a National Day of Action.
My colleague, the Hon. Mr Hlengwa, will tell you more about this. I wish merely to thank you again for your presence and participation. We will of course welcome questions once Mr Hlengwa and Mr Singh have spoken. I am sure you are eager to ask more about the IFP’s campaign, particularly when there is so much enthusiasm for our electoral success in the wake of consistent by-election victories.
Let me tell you that this enthusiasm is high within our own structures. We believe the IFP can make a serious impact in the coming elections, and we intend to honour our commitment to providing the best possible solutions.
I thank you.
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539