Community Meeting in Chatsworth

Dec 17, 2023 | Press Releases

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Our host, the Hon. Mr Les Govender MPL; the Treasurer General of the IFP, the Hon. Mr Narend Singh MP; the IFP’s General Secretary of Administration, Mr Mfanje Mbango; leaders of the IFP; leaders in business; members of this community; and, in particular, our senior citizens, who knew and worked with His Excellency Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi for so many years.

It is a privilege for me to join you this afternoon as we honour the life and legacy of the IFP’s Founder and President Emeritus. The passing of Prince Buthelezi on the 9th of September this year had a profound impact on South Africa. Indeed, the loss was felt throughout the world wherever freedom, democracy and peace are accorded value. Prince Buthelezi was a champion of these ideals, and did more in his lifetime to secure and entrench them than any have done within this generation.

When we stood at his funeral in Ulundi and marked the respect accorded to him by Heads of State and international dignitaries, it was evident that Prince Buthelezi’s legacy extends well beyond South Africa. But here, in South Africa, within our own communities, what we have lost was truly felt. Because Prince Buthelezi was a son of this soil – he was a man of the people, who lived, walked and served among ordinary South Africans his entire life. His greatest commitment was to his own people.

To Prince Buthelezi, however, that did not mean the Zulu Nation exclusively. Despite being the son of Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu, the full sister of His Majesty King Solomon, and of Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi, the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and despite serving in that same position for almost seventy years, Prince Buthelezi saw himself as a South African.

In the same way, he considered the Xhosa, the Sesotho and the Pedi South African. He considered the Afrikaner, and the English, the Coloured and the Indian, as truly South African. While retaining our individual identities and heritage, we are one nation under the banner of a sovereign South Africa.

That was Prince Buthelezi’s core belief. And it is a belief that influenced the way he worked for our country. He sought, always, to build bridges between people of different backgrounds and cultures, highlighting our commonalities, instead of our differences. He understood that regardless of our skin colour, regardless of the language we speak at home, and regardless of the culture we were born into, we share the same dreams and the same fears.

We all want a safe, prosperous country in which to raise our families. We all want our children to have access to quality education that will provide them with the skills needed to take up work. We all want our parents and our grandparents to have access to quality healthcare and timeous medical treatment in the moment it is most needed. We all want loadshedding to end, service delivery to work, politicians to be honest, and for our daughters and sisters to be safe wherever they go.

These are human ambitions and human ideals. They are not related to race or ethnicity. And these are the ideals that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi worked to secure for all of our people in South Africa. In doing so, he created a legacy that will continue long into the future.

Prince Buthelezi taught us many things. He taught us the value of self-help and self-reliance; the importance of servant leadership; the necessity of empowering ourselves through education. But he also taught us, through his example, the priority of leaving a legacy.

The reality is that we will all leave a legacy. It may be great, or it may be insignificant. It may be good and beneficial to those we leave behind, or it may be damaging and something we wish would not be remembered. But we all leave a legacy. I believe that the greatest lesson of Prince Buthelezi’s life, is the importance of leaving a legacy one can be proud of; a legacy that continues to serve after our own time on Earth is done.

We can all do this. Think about it. In the simple act of forgiveness, we can leave a legacy of restored relationships and unity. In a simple act of generosity, we can leave a great legacy – we might be the small stepping stone that allows someone to reach their destiny. Prince Buthelezi invested himself in constant acts of kindness, self-sacrifice, generosity, service and forgiveness. He did what was right in difficult circumstances. He followed his conscience. He put the needs and interests of his country ahead of personal ambition.

In countless ways, he was sowing into his legacy. It is not by chance that he will be remembered by so many people, with gratitude and respect.

Looking around this room, I see many who have expressed their gratitude and respect towards Prince Buthelezi over the years. I feel that we are in the company of friends, for we are linked by the friendship we all had with His Excellency, uMntwana waKwaPhindangene.

He was a unifier of diverse people, a builder of bridges, and someone who championed minority rights, believing that all human rights are inalienable, not just to be enjoyed by the majority. That is why he laid the principle of inclusivity at the foundation of Inkatha. The IFP believes, just as our Founder did, that every South African must have a claim to stake in the wellbeing of our country and our nation. Everyone must be able to make their contribution, and every contribution must be considered of value.

Only then will we truly reap the benefit of a diverse nation, enjoying the richness of our diversity, rather than the drawbacks. Yes, it may be more difficult for us to reach consensus in a society as plural as ours. But the pay-off of seeking and reaching consensus in a diverse society is massive, because each person brings something unique to the table in the shared pursuit of a share ideal.

There is truth in the simple statement that a team can go further than an individual. A team with a shared goal, in which every individual is making their contribution, is a powerful entity.

I am pleased to be among the community of Chatsworth today, knowing that you and I are part of the same team. We share the same vision for South Africa, and the same aspirations for our families. We share a belief in the value of human rights, the dignity of human beings, and the necessity of empowering ourselves as well as those around us.

I know why Prince Buthelezi so often praised the Indian community for the contribution it makes to the wellbeing of South Africa. He was right. In all spheres of human endeavour, this community has benefitted the broader Suth African society by its presence and its character. I am proud to know that the IFP has walked hand in hand with this community for almost five decades. I am proud of what the IFP has achieved, working with friends and fellow patriots of Indian descent.

Together, we have a legacy and it is good. Our task now is to keep building and keeping working in unity, so that the legacy we leave will be even greater and more beneficial to the next generation.

One of the simplest ways we can leave a good legacy, is by giving this country a leadership it can trust. There is no question that South Africa, and certainly KwaZulu-Natal, is in need of fundamental change. Our people are enduring far too much hardship, pain and suffering. Our economy is faltering and our service infrastructure is beginning to collapse.

That vision that we share of a safe, stable and prosperous South Africa is moving further and further way. It is time to put things right. It is time to stop the downward slide into chaos, poverty and despair. It is time to arrest corruption, and to turn the page on weak leadership. It is time for a new government to take the reins. It is time for the IFP.

In just a few months’ time, South Africa will hold its seventh National and Provincial Election. There is a high probability that support for the ruling Party will slip below 50%, opening the way for a coalition government of opposition parties who are capable of working together to serve South Africa. Across the board, the IFP is the clear choice for every opposition party to work with in a coalition Government at nation level.

Here in KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP is the strongest option to take over government, for we are already the Official Opposition and we are giving the ruling Party a serious run for its money. Since the 2021 Local Government Elections, where the IFP was rewarded by the electorate for being the Party you can trust, we have been winning by-elections throughout KwaZulu-Natal. In strongholds of our opponents, we are making inroads and seeing our support increase. And wherever the IFP already governs, we are seeing a strong partnership with the people.

Every sign points to a good electoral outcome for the IFP in 2024. And that is good for South Africa. Because change alone is not enough. It must be change for the better. If you, the voters of KwaZulu-Natal, will cast your ballot for the IFP, we can bring change for the better in this Province. I know you are ready for better. I am ready for better. The time of the IFP is now.

I want to thank you for welcoming me to speak to you today. I look forward to our continued conversations. We have a lot to talk about. But the most critical conversation we can have is the conversation about 2024. What will you do with your vote? Will you use it to secure the future? Will you strengthen the IFP, in honour of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the great role he played in unifying our nation and giving us all a voice?

2024 is almost upon us. Let us make the decision right now, right here, to bring change through the ballot box. If you have always supported the IFP, I thank you. But if, instead, you have supported people who failed you in the hope that they will do better, given one more chance, I want to invite you to change your vote. This time, vote IFP.

The IFP is going to do well in the coming election. If you want your voice to be heard, link it with the chorus of citizens who are voting IFP in 2024. Let’s make government better. Let’s move forward, together.

The IFP will always champion minority rights. It is part of who we are. We will always build bridges. We will always respect cultural diversity. And we will always see this community as part of South Africa, just as much as any other South African. In the spirit of ubuntu botho, I am because we are.

I thank you.

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