INKOSI MZAMO BUTHELEZI MP
DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Boksburg Civic Centre, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, 12 October 2019
Members of the National Executive Committee,
Members of the outgoing Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee,
MMCs, Portfolio Chairpersons in the City of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni,
Members of the media, observers present,
My fellow comrades.
It is my pleasure as the Deputy President of the Inkatha Freedom Party to be part of this very important occasion and to witness the Gauteng Province electing its leaders who will take the IFP family into a new chapter.
I speak of a family rather than a party, because of the IFP’s belief in unity in diversity, collective wisdom, solidarity and our underpinning core of the humanistic value of ubuntu/botho – this is what distinguishes us as a family.
Just like in a family everyone has a role to play, a contribution to make and every contribution is respected. Every member understands that the good of the whole is dependent on the wellbeing of every individual.
This comrades, is the IFP.
Our collective responsibility is to ensure that our family unit internally is unified and strong in order for us to offer our country the best alternative in realising the vision of a prosperous and successful South Africa.
It is because of this very unique advantage that we were able to see ourselves through a very successful and democratic exercise of our National Elective Conference in August, despite what many detractors, analysts and in some cases the media had to say, because they were unaware and caught off guard when we came together as a family and how we functioned as a unit.
We have been blessed to have been led for over four decades by one of South Africa’s most formidable and iconic leaders, and our President Emeritus, His Excellency Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
I am humbled and honoured on a daily basis to have been able to walk in his footsteps, learning from him directly as the Deputy President.
Like no other leader in our country’s history, Prince Buthelezi has a remarkable sense of duty, and I have learned from him what it means to be fully committed, all the time.
He has led with the example for us as leaders of what it means to serve selflessly, to be true servants of the people and to serve with absolute integrity, for the good of our entire country.
The leaders who will be elected at this conference will lead the party in the province which holds our second highest numbers in support.
The new era which will be led by this leadership, needs individuals who when issues became heated, and undercurrents are strong – keep a clear head and a sharp focus on the goal of social and economic justice for all.
Gauteng needs leaders who can disagree without being disagreeable.
Leaders who never shy away from speaking truth to power and saying what they mean and doing what they say.
Leaders who focus on building upon our strengths and not leaders who find fault and exploit our weaknesses.
Leaders who do not seek to sow divisions but who seek to build on reconciliation and unity and leaders who are committed and who work together so that we can grow the IFP and build upon our offer as a voice of reason and as a party committed to our new struggle as South Africans for social and economic justice.
Our party has been referred to as the voice of reason, because, when our country faces turmoil and hardship and when we are in the midst of a political storm, the IFP is the only party who will point out what needs to be done and we start walking in that direction.
This is the leadership we expect this conference to elect. Leaders with a sense of duty, a sense of clear direction and focus and leaders who are builders.
We have a legacy spanning over 44 years and we are trusted for that reason. We now have a responsibility to ensure that the next 44 years builds upon our values and will be the legacy of growth in the party.
In the IFP we don’t lead through rhetoric or by appealing to people’s emotions only to let them down in the end. We lead by example, showing the way towards development, growth and shared prosperity.
The IFP has become a lighthouse in a sea of corruption and political scandal.
The results of the 2019 Elections prove that the electorate wants the kind of leadership the IFP provides which is the very same kind of leadership all delegates have a responsibility to elect today.
Gauteng as our second largest home is poised for considerable growth as our country’s economic hub finds itself divided and torn between political options and leaders who seek only to enrich the very few and the elite in province, and have forgotten about the majority who suffer sometimes in silence and sometimes in protest.
The majority I speak of here are those who are left to suffer in unspeakable conditions and who bear the brutal brunt and effects of those who’s dinner table is equivalent to a buffet every night while the majority scrape Rands together to put bread on the table and worry about the cost of the paraffin for the lamp they have to light tomorrow.
The majority of our people are left in dire straits, are left desperate and are unable to break the chains of poverty, joblessness, homelessness and indignity.
Many in this province we have seen recently misdirected their anger and frustration at the ever rising levels of inequality, poverty and sheer injustice that marks their daily reality towards our fellow African brothers and sisters. We can all agree that those who are residing within our borders must have their papers, but those who are here on asylum and on who come from war torn countries we cannot turn our backs on because they seek a country of peace, and they seek greener pastures and to live under our democratic and Constitutional values.
I say that their protests are misdirected because they should be protesting at the ballot box. They should be marching towards the various party headquarters who have failed them with more of the same broken promises and failed policies. That’s where the fight should be.
Comrades, there is lesson to be learnt from these protests, and there is hope in that lesson which is that our fellow African brothers and sisters look to us as a country as a beacon of hope, fortune and freedom.
We should be flattered by it, but because the elites in the political arena have failed all our people, we cannot even see through the mess they have created to appreciate the “example we can set” for other countries.
We have forgotten these ideals, and we need to remind ourselves that we must take up this role we once were popular for. Let us be the leaders in unity and not division. Let us be the country that is an example on our continent that we are indeed stronger when we are united.
We must not just speak of values, we must live them. This is true ubuntu/botho.
Gauteng needs leaders who will fight and stand up for those who are afraid to voice their concerns, those who are left on the periphery and those who have long been forgotten by the fancy and flashy politicians.
Our Leaders who will be elected today must take our message to each and every home ahead of the 2021 local government elections and secure a victory for the forgotten, and a victory for the IFP.
Our country is suffering from fatigue with politics as usual. Some parties have promised people “heaven on earth” but the people have only experienced daily struggle which appears to be more like hell.
The electorate have witnessed, have felt and have experienced the failure of government leaders and their failed policies.
We are tired because every headline is on corruption, crime, gender based violence and widespread destruction and indignity.
Our people are the forgotten people and that is why we must take up their plight and make it our business to champion, because we are the only party that will be championing the new season of our collective struggle for social and economic justice.
Our party is FOR the forgotten, the marginalised, the overlooked, and the downtrodden.
Comrades, the leaders who will be elected to the Provincial Executive Committee will be tasked with a huge responsibility to ensure that we reach out to our people and to fight their fight, because many in Gauteng have said that enough is enough.
But the PEC will not be alone in this struggle as this fight is for all of us.
I thank you.