In Celebration of New Year’s Day 2024

Jan 1, 2024 | Press Releases

Message from the Hon. Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party


As we begin a new year, the space opens for us to shed the mindset of despair and embrace hope yet again. We may not be leaving our troubles behind, but we can take a fresh perspective on how to handle them going forward, and in doing so we can find the energy to keep trying. That is the gift of a new year.

This new year, the focus falls on a great opportunity for us all. 2024 holds the promise of a national and provincial election. It is a watershed year, for it brings us the ability to effect change in our country and in the provinces where we live. The coming election will determine whether we remain on a trajectory of economic stagnation and growing debt, or whether we open the way for the revival of South Africa.

Our economic future is but one aspect of our country that will be fundamentally determined by this year’s election, but it is of massive significance. If we fail to change the leadership at the helm, we will fail to change the way governance is administered. We will allow a failed administration to keep moving our country in the wrong direction, at the expense of us all.

The importance of the success of our democratic process cannot be overstated. It is thus deeply troubling that voter turnout has been steadily falling since 1994, with millions of voters no longer bothering to go to the polls and vote. For some it is a conscious decision, in the misplaced hope of sending a message to those in power. For others, there is simply no longer the drive to participate.

I suspect that many of our citizens have lost sight of one truth about elections. The ballot box is the great leveller. There is no elite at the ballot box. Your vote counts for exactly the same as the vote cast by a CEO, a celebrity or a politician. It holds the same weight as the vote of your neighbour, your boss and the guy who sold you a cell phone.

A democratic election is the one place where we all are truly equal. So whenever you feel that you have no control, that someone else is deciding your fate, or withholding an opportunity, or getting a better deal in life, consider this: If you vote, and they don’t, you have all the power. If you vote and they vote, your voices have equal weight, regardless of how much money they have, where they live or who they know. If neither of you vote, other people will decide for you. But if you don’t vote, and they do, you are giving them more than they already have while you are left voiceless.

It’s an important way to look at elections, because this is what it really comes down to. Are you exercising your power, or surrendering it? Are you giving it to someone else; someone who may not think the way you do, or share your vision, or have your interests at heart?

You need to vote in 2024. It is the only way we are going to collectively change things for the better. This is a one day only opportunity. If we miss it, we condemn ourselves to five more years of failed governance. It’s that serious.

Let’s look at the flip side though. If we do vote, and we vote wisely, giving our mandate to a leadership we can trust, a leadership of integrity, with a legacy of service, we will usher in a time of renewal for our country. We will give South Africa a fighting chance, and reignite a passion for serving within government.

It is time to create that change. It is time for the IFP to govern. Whether we lead government or influence it as a major coalition partner, the IFP needs to be in power after this election. Because the IFP is the greatest hope for the people of goodwill who want what is best for our country, our families and our future.

As we enter 2024, therefore, I urge you to make voting a top priority. Keep engaging your representatives at all levels, on all issues. But know that when it comes to making change, there is nothing that compares to voting.

May 2024 be the change we need.

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