Last Thursday Mr S'Khumbuzo Khanyeza spoke frankly to the media in
this venue about his regrets over the debacle some youth leaders
created last year which has caused divisions in our Party and given
you a lot to write about.
Mr Khanyeza is among the young people who lit the fuse by refusing to
avail themselves of any number of opportunities to speak to the
leadership of the IFP through our internal party structures. Instead
of respecting our Party's Constitution and rather than accepting our
invitation to address National Council, these youth staged a media
spectacle outside our meeting with the clear intention of bringing the
Party into disrepute.
Our National Council had expressed its willingness to hear these young
people, so that we could determine the merit of their concerns and
take any fair criticism on board. But they chose to disregard our
invitations, feigning to the media that their opinions would not be
heard within our structures.
Shortly after this embarrassing display of indiscipline, a group of
members of the Youth Brigade from Johannesburg saw the error of their
ways and sought forgiveness. I, as the Party President, together with
the National Executive Committee considered their apology to have been
sincere and accepted it unconditionally. This was on the same day that
this occurred, on the 17th of May 2009.
Later, Ms Hlengiwe Mthiyane, the Provincial Publicity Secretary of the
Youth Brigade, also regretted her participation and apologized, and we
likewise accepted her apology straight away, without any conditions.
It may seem strange, considering the amount of damage these young
people have inflicted on our Party, that we keep forgiving them. But
one must be impressed by the courage they have shown in coming forward
to set the record straight. In his statement last week, Mr Khanyeza
did just that.
He pointed out that the ructions were caused by hotheadedness and
ill-discipline, and had nothing to do with a lack of democracy in the
IFP. Contrary to the lies that were spread, these youths were not
slapped down because they expressed a difference of opinion. They were
disciplined as required by our Constitution for bringing the name of
the IFP into disrepute.
Mr Khanyeza admits that he and other young people misled our youth and
made false accusations in the media. He admits that they could have
followed internal democratic avenues to raise their concerns, but
chose not to. He admits that they intentionally stirred up negative
media publicity. And he now commits himself to re-establishing
discipline and unity.
I and the NEC have accepted his apology.
Having made a grave error of judgment, Mr Khanyeza has accepted
responsibility and expressed his regret. He has also committed to
reparation. There would be no benefit in dragging him across the coals
after the fact. We have treated this matter in exactly the same way
that we handled the apologies of the Johannesburg Youth Brigade
members on the 17th of May 2009, and also that of Ms Hlengiwe Mthiyane.
I am pleased that this has been sorted out before our general
Conference next month. We welcome Mr Khanyeza back into the fold of
the IFP in terms of our Constitution. We will accordingly report this
to the next meeting of National Council for their formal ratification.