In Honour of
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and
Nation Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan
Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party and
Leader of the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal
Mofolo Park, Soweto
15 October 2023
Part A: Memorial Service
Hon. Princess Phumzile Nokuphiwa Buthelezi, daughter of uMntwana KwaPhindangene; National Chairperson of the IFP Women’s Brigade and Member of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature for the IFP;
His Royal Highness Prince Ntuthukoyezwe Zuzifa Buthelezi, son of uMntwana KwaPhindangene, IFP National Council Member and Chairperson of the Buthelezi Family Trust;
Hon. Princess Angela Sibuyiselwe Buthelezi, daughter of uMntwana KwaPhindangene, IFP National Council Member, and Member of Parliament for the IFP;
Members of the Buthelezi Family and of the Zulu Royal Family;
Members of the Buthelezi Clan;
Members of the IFP National Council;
Members of the IFP NEC;
Hon. Bonginkosi Dhlamini, IFP Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, and Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature for the IFP;
Hon. Zandile Majozi, IFP Gauteng Deputy Provincial Chairperson, and Member of Parliament for the IFP;
Members of the IFP Gauteng’s Provincial Executive Committee;
IFP Women’s Brigade Gauteng Chairperson, Ms Samkelisiwe Zungu;
Members of the Gauteng IFPWB;
IFP Youth Brigade Gauteng Chairperson, Cllr Dalsy Mangany;,
Members of the Gauteng IFPYB;
All other IFP Members and supporters who are here today.
I am honoured to be here with all of you in the heart of Soweto, as we take time to reflect on the life and legacy of the IFP’s Founder and President Emeritus, the Prince of KwaPhindangene.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the IFP’s provincial leadership in Gauteng for making it possible for us to be here today, to pay homage to a man we all greatly loved, admired and respected.
It is still quite unreal to think that it has been just over a month since the Prince of KwaPhindangene left us to join his heavenly Father.
I am sure that I can speak for each person here today when I say that a giant tree has fallen. Words cannot adequately express just how deeply Shenge will be missed. However, I believe that we can draw solace from the fact that he has left the world a better place than when he found it.
On behalf of the IFP, I would also again like to convey our heartfelt condolences to uMntwana’s family – you remain in our thoughts and prayers, and we hope that today’s visible outpouring of love for Shenge will bring you a small measure of comfort.
Thank you also, for so generously sharing uMntwana KwaPhindangene with his IFP family, South Africa, and the world. We are eternally grateful that Shenge was always willing to give of his time and his talents for the greater good of humanity.
Despite being born into royalty, he always remained a man of the people, selflessly dedicating more than seven decades of his life in service of his fellow South Africans.
Shenge was a man like no other: he was a family man, a man of God, a freedom fighter, a respected Traditional Leader, a true statesman, a conservationist, and so much more.
uMntwana was a true visionary.
He believed in the power of education to change lives, and inspired the young people of the IFP to take up the call “Education for Liberation”. In a telling testament to his wisdom, this call still rings true today. And Shenge did not merely pay lip service to his beliefs – while he governed in the erstwhile KwaZulu, more than 6 000 schools were built and the Mangosuthu University of Technology was founded.
uMntwana KwaPhindangene was a man ahead of his time. Long before the rest of the world realised the importance of conserving our precious flora and fauna, he was a champion of the environment, defending the rhinos, the elephants, the lions and the ground hornbills.
He led his Party, the IFP, with integrity and diligence, and was never afraid to speak up for truth and to take a stand against injustice.
During the dark years of apartheid, Shenge was a beacon of light to millions of South Africans, as he worked without faltering to ensure their freedom. First, as leader of the Zulu Territorial Authority, and later as Chief Minister of KwaZulu, he worked to undermine the apartheid system from within and fight for the rights of Black South Africans.
He also served with excellence as Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation for over seventy years, in the service of three Kings.
Shenge had a positive influence on the lives of so many.
It was my great privilege to have had the opportunity to work closely with and learn from uMntwana KwaPhindangene for more than 40 years.
And I was not alone.
Most, if not all of the Members of the IFP’s NEC and National Council benefitted from years spent working side-by-side with Shenge. He led by example and taught us the importance of putting the people first. He reminded us that we are the servants and not the masters of the people. He taught us to champion the values of self-help and self-reliance, which are so necessary if we are to restore dignity to those that have been forgotten and overlooked.
uMntwana was both a leader and a teacher.
As we gather here today, I can confidently assure you that we, as the leadership of the IFP, look to the future with hope and confidence, thanks to Shenge’s faith in our ability to steer the Party in the right direction.
In 2019, when he stepped down as IFP President, he said, and I quote, “I am excited to hand over the baton to the next generation of leaders. I have confidence that we have done everything possible to secure a smooth transition into the next chapter of the IFP. This Party is standing in a place of strength. There has been a resurgence in support and a growth in membership that speaks of the IFP’s continued value in the politics of South Africa, and in the hearts of the people.”
uMntwana KwaPhindangene continued to play an active role as the IFP’s President Emeritus. Thanks to his ongoing support and guidance, the plans we – as leadership – put in place as far back as 2012 to grow the Party, are bearing fruit.
I believe that this is just the beginning of our new chapter, and so did Shenge.
He said, and I quote, “They are wrong to think that the IFP has reached the end of the road. This is just the beginning. They are wrong to think that the IFP will not survive. We have been restored as the official opposition in this Province through a national election. They are wrong to think that we are divided internally beyond repair. The IFP is moving and speaking as one.”
In our 48 years of existence, the IFP has weathered many storms, yet we are still standing. uMntwana unified us then, and our shared commitment to upholding his legacy unifies us now.
Unfortunately, since Shenge’s passing there have been those who have attempted to sully his legacy. However, the truth always triumphs and facts always trump hearsay and biased opinions.
It is a fact that after 1994, when South Africa became a constitutional democracy, uMntwana continued to serve – as a Member of Parliament, as Minister of Home Affairs, and even as President of South Africa on 22 occasions – a responsibility that demonstrated the high regard that the leaders of the ruling ANC had for him.
It is a fact that President Kenneth Kaunda and the Leaders of the Frontline States, as well as Oliver Tambo, advised the Prince of KwaPhindangene to form the national cultural liberation movement, Inkatha yeNkulukelo yeSizwe, which became the IFP we know today.
It is a fact that uMntwana held more “free Mandela” rallies than any other leader.
It is a fact that when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, he spoke of Shenge’s contribution in ensuring that political prisoners were set free and that political organisations were unbanned and allowed to come home.
It is a fact that Madiba described uMntwana KwaPhindangene as “a freedom fighter in his own right.”
I know that I do not have to convince those present here today of the strength of uMntwana’s character.
The facts of Shenge’s life far outweigh the fictions conjured up by those who seek to harm his good name.
It is incontestable that Shenge has run his race, and has run his race well. Those of us who are left behind, now have the responsibility to pick up the baton and continue the race.
There is much work to be done.
In 1994, the people of South Africa gained their political freedom but today, almost 30 years later, millions are still trapped in poverty, with no hope of achieving economic freedom in their lifetime. This is largely thanks to the ruling ANC, which has lost sight of the ideals it was built upon, and instead chooses to put the interests of the Party – rather than the people – first.
One does not have to look far for evidence.
Our economy is stagnant, with little hope of the dramatic growth needed to create more jobs. South Africa makes news headlines for all the wrong reasons: supporting aggressors in international conflicts and hiding behind “impartiality”. However, the markets are not impartial, and the Rand continues to weaken steadily.
In May 1994, the Rand was trading at R3.61 to the US Dollar.
In May 2023, the Rand averaged R19.03 to the US Dollar.
Eskom and Transnet, the heart and lungs of the economy, are crippled due to years of mismanagement and corruption. This has left them unable to fulfil their most basic functions – to provide a reliable power supply and to provide an efficient transportation network for goods, and for commuters.
Children go to sleep hungry. Education has become a numbers game, with the focus on the quantity of learners passing through the system, not the quality of the education they receive. The result is young people who find themselves ill-equipped to deal with the world of work.
The gap between the rich and the poor is ever-widening, and as hopelessness takes hold, so do social ills like substance abuse, and violence against women, children and vulnerable South Africans. Crime continues to increase, with murders a daily occurance, and people living in constant fear.
As the IFP, we refuse to accept that this is South Africa’s status quo. We refuse to stand idly by and watch the country that we love become a failed state, dragging the good people of our nation into recession, depression, and despair.
We cannot allow the dream of 1994 to become the nightmare of 2024.
South Africa and her people have been through too much and deserve better.
South Africans are hard workers and innovators, they are people with unlimited – and untapped – potential.
It is our responsibility – as servants of the people and as directed by the Constitution – to “improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person”.
This is not an impossible dream. This is Shenge’s dream: a just, prosperous and moral society, whose citizens engage with each other on the basis of ubuntu/botho.
It will take time, and it will take hard work and commitment, but if we work together, we can rebuild our country, restore hope, and achieve another South African miracle.
This is how we honour uMntwana KwaPhindangene’s legacy.
Part B: Volunteers Launch
Let me remind you that the IFP is one of the few parties in this country that has governance experience in all three spheres of government: at local, provincial and national level.
This is one of our unique strengths, something to be proud of, and something to build on.
The IFP is not a regional party – as some naysayers like to label us. We are a national Party. This very gathering today is testament to this. We have supporters in Gauteng, in KwaZulu-Natal, in Mpumalanga… we are the fourth largest party in the National Assembly. We speak on behalf of hundreds of thousands of South Africans.
I believe that as leaders, and as IFP members and supporters, it is our shared responsibility to nurture and grow the IFP: not for power, or personal gain, but because when we have more Councillors in our Wards, and on Municipal Councils; when we have more IFP representatives in our Provincial Legislatures and in National Parliament, we have more influence.
When we as a Party have more influence, we can improve the lives of more of our fellow South Africans by making sure they receive basic services, as well as the other rights guaranteed by our Constitution, such as access to quality healthcare and decent housing.
In this way, we can honour Shenge’s legacy.
We are not a Party that watches from a distance: our leaders, members and supporters live in our communities. We know which issues matter, and we are committed to finding solutions.
Gauteng is a province with desperate needs, which were confirmed yet again this week.
According to the recent Census 2022 figures, which were released on 10 October, Gauteng is home to just over 15 million South Africans – the most of any province.
Of these 15 million, 72% are of working age, or between the ages of 15 and 64. This means more 11.3 million people in Gauteng need work.
According to the Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey for Quarter 1 of 2023, approximately 4.9 million people in Gauteng are currently in employment.
This means 6.4 million people that could be working, don’t have jobs.
The IFP understands the urgent need to create more jobs, and to make sure that South Africans are prioritised when it comes to job opportunities. We believe so strongly in this, that we drafted a Private Members’ Bill – the Employment Services Amendment Bill. The purpose of this Bill is, and I quote, “to ensure that when recruiting potential employees, an employer must confirm that there are no suitable South African citizens or permanent residents that can be employed in that position, prior to recruiting a foreign national.”
We have noted that the ruling party has adopted several of our suggestions, with Premier Lesufi recently calling for jobs to be reserved for South Africans – a policy that the IFP has been pursuing since January 2020.
The IFP listens when the people speak.
We know, for example, that government consistently sidelines and neglects hostel communities in Gauteng, and we will continue to raise this issue at the highest level.
The housing backlog also continues to grow. According to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, in August 2022, they had a backlog of more than 1.2 million RDP housing applications. More shocking: tens of thousands of these requests have been on the waiting list since 1996.
When Ministers and MECs report back in the Provincial Legislature, sharing long lists of percentages and costs, it becomes easy to disguise that each number is a person, more likely a family, that does not have access to decent and safe housing.
The devastating fire that claimed over 70 lives less than two months ago in the Johannesburg CBD was a terrifying reminder of the importance of providing decent housing for impoverished families.
We cannot have people living on the streets, forced to make a choice between battling harsh weather conditions or the equally hazardous risks posed by taking shelter in condemned buildings.
Government must do better.
It is clear that the pressing issues that we championed in 2021 are still very much part of the day-to-day challenges that the people of Gauteng are constantly struggling to overcome.
On behalf of the leadership of the IFP, let me assure you that we remain committed to:
- Good governance
- Growing the Local Economy
- Resolving Service Delivery Issues
- Providing Decent Housing
- Providing a Safe and Reliable Transport System
- Prioritising Safety
- Combating Gender-Based Violence
As the IFP, we will continue use all the channels available to us: whether it be raising questions for the Premier to respond to in the Legislature, voting for – or against – resolutions in the Councils where we serve, or taking to the streets to raise awareness about an issue, as members of the Gauteng IFPYB did in June. They staged a peaceful march to Jabavu Clinic here in Soweto, following complaints from the community about the lack of proper care being provided to patients.
Here in Gauteng, Hon. Bonginkosi Dhlamini, our Provincial Chairperson, leads the PEC and represents the IFP in the Provincial Legislature. He serves as Chairperson of the Oversight Committee on the Provincial Legislature and Office of the Premier in Gauteng.
While we currently only have one Member in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, we do not despise small beginnings, nor underestimate the power of being the lone voice of reason.
To quote former US President, Barack Obama: “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it can change a state, it can change a nation…”
In our case, Hon. Dhlamini is speaking on behalf of the IFP to ultimately change the province, and by extension, the nation.
I would like to commend him for being such an exemplary representative for the Party, and for ensuring that the IFP has a voice in the Gauteng Legislature.
The IFP also has Councillors in all three Metros in Gauteng, with seven Councillors in the City of Johannesburg, three in Ekurhuleni and one Councillor in Tshwane.
In total, if we include our representatives in the Local Municipalities, we have 14 Councillors in six Municipal Councils across the province. The only District where the IFP remains without Councillors is the Sedibeng District.
In the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, the IFP received 588 839 votes. More than half a million South Africans answered our call when we asked them to place their trust in the IFP: and of those, 45 840 votes came from Gauteng.
This level of support means that the IFP is not only the fourth largest party nationally, but we also round out the top five political parties here in Gauteng, based on our portion of the vote in 2019.
Why have I shared this information with you?
I want to demonstrate to everyone here that the IFP has a voice across Gauteng, and that the IFP has the capacity to influence decisions being made – especially on those issues that directly impact our members and supporters across the Province.
However, as leaders, we cannot bring change alone. In order to turn the tide, we need many hands and many feet to go out into communities across Gauteng and share the IFP’s message of hope, and our track record of good governance and integrity.
In 2019, the IFP had almost 46 000 votes in Gauteng.
If each person here, and every person who voted for us in 2019, commits to growing our supporters by just one additional person, we will have almost 100 000 votes. This could mean another seat in the Provincial Legislature and the opportunity for the IFP to make an impact on more issues.
Did you know that there are currently approximately 27 million South Africans who are either not registered to vote, or are discouraged voters. I am sure that many of them are among the 15 million residents of Gauteng.
As IFP leadership, we believe that the opportunities for growth for the IFP in Gauteng are limitless.
That is why we are asking every person here today to become an IFP influencer.
Why do I say this? Let me explain.
As IFP supporters, you are familiar with me, and you know our leadership. You are familiar with the IFP’s vision and mission; you know that we are committed to upholding Shenge’s legacy, as well as to the principle of servant leadership; you know the IFP.
This is why you trust the IFP with your vote. This trust has been earned.
However, your neighbour, sister-in-law or bus driver might not know me, and therefore they would have no reason to trust anything I, or other IFP leaders say, or any of the commitments the IFP has made in the past, or will make in the future.
But your neighbour knows you. Your sister-in-law knows you. Your bus driver knows you.
The people in your circle know you, and you therefore have very valuable currency when it comes to trust. You have earned their trust.
This is why each of you needs to become an IFP influencer.
If you truly believe, as we do, that the IFP can change South Africa for the better and build a just, prosperous and moral society, whose citizens engage with each other on the basis of ubuntu/botho, tell someone.
And tell them to register, and to vote.
As former President Obama said, one voice can make a difference. I believe that one vote can also make a difference.
Therefore, we can also say with conviction that many voices – and many votes – can change the world.
I am reminded of an African proverb, which I would like to share with you, as I believe these are very relevant words of encouragement, and I quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.
We have a long journey ahead of us, and we will only reach our destination if we go together.
As IFP leaders, we renew our commitment to you, the people, and to partner with you to build a South Africa where you – and your children – can achieve your full potential. We are committed to a South Africa when no man, woman or child will go to bed cold, or hungry, or afraid.
As IFP leadership, we know that none of the goals we have set or the commitments we have made can be achieved overnight. There is no quick fix for growing the economy, creating jobs, or ensuring that every home has access to clean water.
This type of far-reaching change requires months, even years to achieve, as we first need to reverse the damage that has been done under the current dispensation.
However, we will always be honest with you about the challenges we face, and will work with you to find and implement the solutions.
As the IFP, we will never promise an instant solution in the pursuit of votes, but then ignore a community’s needs once the results are in.
As we approach the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, each of us here has to make a decision to give 100%. This will be a make-or-break election: it is all, or nothing. We will have to work harder than ever before, and we will have to make sacrifices. But I believe that the result will be worth all our efforts.
At present, the Party has over 75 branches throughout the province, with the majority based in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, which have 29 and 28 branches respectively. These branches are our engine rooms. It is at branch level where we will build our strong foundations for 2024, 2026, 2029, and beyond.
As IFP leadership, we also have high expectations for important roles to be played by the IFP Women’s Brigade, and the IFP Youth Brigade.
You are our connection to the hearts and minds of South Africa’s women, and the youth of the nation.
The 2022 Census revealed that more than half of South Africa’s population is female, and that 61.2% of South Africa’s population is under 35 years old, with a median age of 28.
This means two out of every three South Africans are young people.
When it comes to the women of South Africa, we remain committed to the fight against GBV and femicide. We remain committed to gender equality, and to providing quality healthcare, and childcare.
When it comes to the youth of South Africa, we need to give them a reason to hope, and a reason to vote. We need to speak to them about issues that matter, in language they can relate to.
Let us pick up the baton of Shenge’s legacy, and realise his dream of a just, prosperous and moral society, whose citizens engage with each other on the basis of ubuntu/botho, for this generation, and those that follow.
The time is now.
I therefore invite you to join me, and the other IFP leaders here today, as we embark upon our 2024 Election Campaign. We will ask much of you, but we will also give much in return.
I thank you.