Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
I must congratulate the IFP Youth Brigade for choosing this significant date to launch our youth campaign for the 2016 Local Government Elections.
Today, South Africa marks Human Rights Day, a day on which we remember the valour of our parents’ generation, my generation, as they stood up for freedom and equal dignity.
Today we as a party also celebrate our 41st anniversary. On 21 March 1975, courageous men and women gathered at KwaNzimela to launch a liberation organisation that would unify the many disjointed efforts at pursuing freedom. Inkatha became a driving force for freedom within South Africa. We became home to patriots and heroes; to ordinary people fighting an extraordinary battle.
Our battle was not fought through the barrel of the gun. It was fought with principles, through unity and by maintaining the high moral ground. And it was won with these powerful weapons. Thus we entered democracy with a clear conscience.
It did not come cheaply though. We suffered immense losses for refusing to abandon our principles. We paid with the lives of thousands. But we did it for South Africa, for this generation, so that you might live in a country free from the legacy of lawlessness, destruction and violence.
That is the character of the IFP. We stand up against those who wield power like a personal plaything. We challenge every attempt to undermine the independent institutions that our Constitution has designed to be a watchdog over government. We are steadfast and consistent, maintaining principle, and always doing what is best for our country and our people.
Thus the IFP is a lighthouse in the rough waters of economic crisis, political crisis and social crisis that besiege South Africa. It is little wonder that people are turning to the IFP and finding safe refuge. With every by-election since 2011, the IFP has seen victory after victory as people return to the party they trust. We have been growing consistently, signing up new members and welcoming former members home.
There is an upward trend of growth in the IFP at this present moment, which is very encouraging for the future of South Africa. I invite you today to become part of this growth, to partner with us in driving solutions for the challenges of the present.
Unlike other political parties, the IFP doesn’t feed off your anger and frustration. We don’t rile up your emotions over every injustice, hoping that our rhetoric will win your vote. No, we are on the side of solutions. We don’t see the point in talking endlessly about the problems without talking about ways to solve them.
The IFP believes in empowering people to rise out of their circumstances through their own efforts. It’s not about a handout, but about a hand up. I think every young South African deserves a break. You deserve that opportunity to launch your business, to start your studies, to find your passion, to make a difference. South Africa is sitting on a diamond mine of young talent. But we’re not sinking shafts. Instead we’re protesting on the surface while the diamonds stay trapped in the dirt.
The IFP sinks shafts. We find ways to bring talent to the surface by giving everyone the opportunity to participate and contribute. We knit members into structures at the local level, inviting every member to join a branch and become active within that branch. During every election campaign, our branches are converted into election committees, and they work closely with our Daily Management Committee and our National Campaign Committee to ensure that the IFP’s message is spread throughout South Africa.
Thus, when you join the IFP, you join an active movement in which everyone has a role and everyone has value. I therefore encourage you to join not just the IFP, but also the IFP Youth Brigade or the IFP Women’ Brigade. Then join a branch in your neighbourhood, so that you become part of the IFP culture.
Let me tell you about the IFP culture. It’s one in which every individual matters, in which family is valued, in which self-reliance is taught, in which opportunities are created, in which community prospers, in which change becomes possible, and hope rises. Ours is a culture of respect, integrity and accountability. It’s a culture in which human rights are taken seriously, and your right to the truth is never violated.
This, above all, makes the IFP different in the present climate of hidden agendas, blatant lies and false advertising. The question resounding across our nation is this: “Who can I trust?”
Who can I trust to be honest about political interference in the running of our country, when senior government leaders have begun confessing that someone other than the President offered them ministerial positions?
Who can I trust to be honest about the economy, when chopping and changing of finance ministers rocks our currency?
Who can I trust to be honest about corruption, when the President himself ignores the findings of the Public Protector until he is dragged to court?
Who can I trust to be honest about their motives, about their fine print, about their willingness to fulfil promises? Who can I trust when inflation makes the things I bought yesterday unaffordable today? Who can I trust to deliver services when everyone seems out to line their own pockets? Who can I trust to be my voice, when all everyone is talking about is doom and gloom?
I have an answer for you, and many very good reasons to back it up. Who can you trust? You can trust the IFP.
Look at our track record. Look at 41 years in the service of our nation. Have we ever made a promise that we failed to keep? No. Have we ever been accused of corruption, or been taken to court for abusing authority? No. Have we ever been tainted with the accusation of racism? No. Have we ever lied about the whereabouts of our leaders? No. The IFP is a different kettle of fish entirely. We play it straight, because you deserve nothing less.
In the present political climate, it is somehow odd for a party to be so open and honest with the people we serve. Every party seems to have something to hide and employs spin doctors to tell you what they think you want to hear. But with all that spinning, they’ve lost the plot. They’ve forgotten why they got into politics in the first place. Now it’s about money, money and power. It’s about buying votes and getting seats. It’s not in the least about you, except insofar as you can do something for them.
That is the simple truth.
Now let me tell you about a better way: the way of the IFP. The IFP has laid a foundation of service that has endured for 41 years. We have served in local governance and we have served in opposition. We have served at the helm in the Provincial Legislature, we have served in Cabinet, we have served in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. We understand what it takes to administer good governance.
When we choose leaders to represent the IFP, we choose people who put service first and who place a high premium on honesty. We watch their character over time and hold them to account for meeting the needs of those they serve. No one gets a free ride in the IFP and no one is protected if they fail you in any way. We demand a high level of integrity from all our leaders.
We also welcome a high level of participation from every member. We encourage people to take the initiative and we love hearing new ideas. This is a party of innovation. We find unique ways of solving problems and meeting needs. We build on past successes, and we learn from our mistakes. We listen. We care. We put service first.
If that is the kind of party you want in your corner, then join us. Channel your energy into being the answer to this country’s problems, rather than staying a victim. We are all victims at some point, whether it is a victim of crime, of poverty, abuse, ignorance or circumstance. But we have a choice to remain in that space of being a victim, or to empower ourselves to rise above.
The IFP is your partner in empowerment. We know that you need someone at your side encouraging you to become stronger, healthier and better. The present state of our country is demanding great endurance from all its people. We can do with a bit of support; and that is the IFP. Your partner in this storm. The party you can trust.
You are not powerless. There are things you can do right now to take back your power. Join the IFP. Register to vote on 9 and 10 April. Get involved in the Youth Brigade. Renew your party membership. Get active in a branch. Vote in 2016. Vote IFP.
I thank you.