Christmas is a time for many South Africans to celebrate the birth of Christ, and the promise of renewed hope for the future. As a country, South Africa has never been more in need of hope than now, as we approach the end of 2022.
On behalf of the leadership of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the entire IFP rank-and-file, I would therefore like to echo this message of hope for the future and wish all South Africans a time of peace and joy.
It has been a challenging year, as South Africa struggled to recover from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic and to rebuild the economy, while facing the difficult truths about state capture and corruption, laid bare in the Report of the Zondo Commission. In addition to this, our power grid has continued to deteriorate, with the country potentially facing a Christmas Day without electricity for extended periods.
It is quite clear that things need to change in 2023.
As the IFP, we have noted the theme of renewal that was adopted by the ANC at its National Conference, held a few days ago. However, this so-called ‘renewal’ is merely more of the same, with the party simply recycling their ‘new dawn’ message. The new dawn never arrived. Even this ‘renewal’ will have to pass the test of the Zondo Commission recommendations, as well as demonstrate the ability to resolve, among others, unemployment, poverty, loadshedding and the Phala Phala Farmgate scandal.
The IFP believes this was yet another missed opportunity for the ANC to effect real change, as their newly elected leadership features many of the same actors who will, no doubt, follow the same old script.
We call on South Africans not to become too comfortable with this status quo. Despite recent decisions taken in Parliament, President Ramaphosa still has serious allegations to answer to, and agencies such as the NPA and the Reserve Bank are yet to make their pronouncements.
Amidst this, let me reassure you that the IFP remains firmly committed to a renewed South Africa: a just, prosperous, and moral society, whose citizens engage with each other on the basis of ubuntu/botho. We will continue to champion our core values of solidarity, freedom, and unity in diversity. We will continue to follow the example of servant leadership set by our Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Further, although Christmas is a time for families and celebration, let us never forget those who are alone, or unable to celebrate, as they instead battle for survival. Let us stand together and extend a hand of kindness to those in need and offer support to those who are vulnerable.
I wish all South Africans a blessed Christmas, and trust that the hope, unity, and joy of this special time will spill over into the new year and give us renewed strength, as we work to rebuild and restore our country.
Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa, MPL
IFP President and Leader of the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature
083 974 5783