On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, I wish to extend my well wishes for 2023 to all South Africans and the people of the world.
The start of a new year brings with it the promise of hope and change, and as we start 2023 with optimism, we must also be realistic and honest in admitting that South Africa is in dire straits.
For many South Africans, daily life is punctuated and characterised by poverty, poor service delivery, unemployment, racism, socio-economic injustice, and crime.
Loadshedding has become a permanent feature of South African life, much to the detriment of an already fragile and struggling economy, and is crippling businesses, big and small.
Road and water infrastructure continue to be badly maintained.
How we arrived in this national crisis has been well ventilated in the Zondo Commission and the perpetrators are the ruling party who – by their own admission – are “accused number one”. They simply no longer deserve to be in power.
What is evident is that South Africa is bearing the brutal brunt of an absent government. There is an absence of leadership from those in power and it is the people who suffer, daily.
We have a ruling party addicted to corruption and a president fending off serious allegations related to Phala Phala Farm.
Haile Selassie of Ethiopia makes a poignant observation when he says: “Throughout history, it has been inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
Therefore we, the people, must ultimately become our own liberators and wage a new struggle for economic and social justice; and accountable leadership that will put the needs of our country first.
The veil has been lifted.
For close to 29 years of freedom and democracy, South Africa has been inching closer and closer to becoming a failed state, with the ruling political elite carrying on with business as usual, in times of business unusual.
2023 must be a year of heightened political activism ahead of the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, for it is these elections that will make or break South Africa and her future.
We must engage in election mode for change on one hand and ensure progress in people’s lives on the other.
I am inviting all South Africans to join the IFP in our patriotic endeavours to change our country for the better. I am calling for grassroots activism on our journey to 2024.
The IFP exists to serve the people. Following the 2021 Local Government Elections, which saw the IFP resurge, and as we continue to maintain this upward trajectory in subsequent by-elections, we owe it to the people to account on progress and challenges. This we will do.
In the first quarter of 2023, we will undertake a full-scale assessment of service delivery output in all IFP-governed municipalities, with our 2021 Manifesto’s 10-point plan being the yardstick measure.
Post this assessment, where leadership changes are required, Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Speakers, and Councillors will be recalled, even if it means going to by-elections. We will not accept excuses nor allow complacency to take over.
At the IFP’s National General Conference in 2019, we committed to engaging South Africans to enrich our developmental agenda as the party for the people; and we were interrupted by Covid-19.
As normality resumes, we must restore trust between people and politics. This means we must be firmly rooted amongst the people anew, for the people are our masters and we are their servants.
I want to hear every voice of every South African as we craft new solutions for the development of our country. As President Julius Nyerere said, “If real development is to take place, the people have to be involved.”
To this end, I will be embarking on a nationwide tour to meet the people: from village to village, township to township, and city to city; to hear the forgotten voices, and to unearth the wealth of wisdom of our people. Our people know what needs to be done; unfortunately, we are governed by those that just do not listen.
As we kick off 2023, I want to reassure you of an IFP that will continue working for you; with you. To achieve the possibilities of our national potential we must join hands locally and together build a South Africa that works.
Happy New Year South Africa.
God bless you.
Velenkosini “VF” Hlabisa MPL