National Convention

Aug 16, 2023 | Press Releases

Wednesday 16 August 2023
Opening Press Briefing
Remarks By
Hon. VF Hlabisa MPL, President of the IFP and
Leader of the Official Opposition in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature


Greetings to Professor Gumede and his team, to all my fellow leaders present here today, to support staff, to the members of the media and to the people of South Africa.

Let me first pay my respects to those who lost their lives in Marikana; may they rest in peace.

Today we meet in this historic venue to press a reset button for our country. South Africa is on the verge of becoming a failed state.

The IFP is here today because we believe that there is still hope for our country, and for the people of South Africa.

However: if we want things in our country to change, we cannot continue to walk the same path that we have been walking. If we want change, we will have to do things differently.

This Convention is about South Africa and its people. This is not an anti-ruling party club: our reason for convening here is much more important. We do not hate the ANC: we hate what they have done to South Africa.

After years of struggle, in 1994, the people of South Africa stood in long queues to cast their votes. I was one of them.

We were full of hope that our country was entering a new phase of freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, all our hopes are now lost.

As the IFP, we are here to determine how best we could serve South Africa together, how to bring about much-needed change, and how to make sure that the issues that are important to our constituencies are on the negotiating table.

These include crime, unemployment, poverty, inequality, loadshedding, and the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.

The good news is that there is already much that we agree upon. However, as politicians, we cannot bring change alone.

We need the support of all South Africans, including civil society.

This is why I ask you, my fellow compatriots, please vote. Stand up and be counted.

If you are unhappy about the way things are in South Africa – do not stay silent. Register to vote, take a stand, and effect a change of government in 2024.

I look forward to the next two days of deliberations. I am hopeful that we as leaders will engage in positive, constructive discussions that put the priorities of the people of South Africa first.

I thank you.

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