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ANC did not liberate SA alone, but it did destroy economy single-handedly – IFP’s Hlabisa


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ANC did not liberate SA alone, but it did destroy economy single-handedly – IFP’s Hlabisa

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Velenkosini Hlabisa
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Velenkosini Hlabisa

13th February 2024

By: Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia


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In his speech, on Tuesday, in the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Velenkosini Hlabisa painted a harsh picture of the African National Congress (ANC) and the challenges facing the country under its leadership.

He noted former IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s last message to the ANC – “If the promise of South Africa is truly still alive, it is thanks to the resilience of our people. But how far is this Government willing to test our resilience? They are playing a dangerous game” –  and said the ANC was moving in the wrong direction.


Hlabisa pointed out that the ANC did not come into democracy and freedom by itself and lamented the passing of the Government of National Unity, which he said gave South Africans hope after the end of Apartheid.

He stated that between 1994 and 1999, under the leadership of a Government of National unity, South Africa had flourished.


He pointed out the progress made by that government through the passing of landmark legislation, growing skills and investment, and finding a balance between human rights and national security.

Hlabisa quoted the International Monetary Fund’s perception of South Africa in the first ten years of democracy, as a country that had made “impressive gains” to stabilise the economy, set up higher economic growth and strengthen finances and that since the ANC's sole governance, the perception of a well-performing economy had waned.

He reminded Ramaphosa that the ANC did not govern alone between 1994 and 1999 and so, he said, that period could not be a measure of the ANC’s success alone.

He said it was only when the ANC gained unfettered power that the quality of good governance began to decline.

“So no, Honourable President, do not keep telling us what the ANC has done since 1994. Again, the ANC did not liberate South Africa nor build democracy alone. But the ANC did, when given the chance, destroy the economy single-handedly. The ruling party did create the conditions for crime to flourish and for corruption to run rampant through the public service. You did cripple the education system and the healthcare system, destroying our hope of building our future,” Hlabisa said.

He blamed Ramaphosa for continued economic decline under the ANC government and an increase in crime.

Hlabisa said while the IFP supported initiatives such as universal healthcare, the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill that the ANC government wanted to pass into law would be a “recipe for disaster”.

“The [Health] Minister has already confirmed that government does not have the funds to hire doctors. The NHI Bill has been overwhelmingly rejected by the healthcare sector, business and the opposition. Like Outcomes-based Education, which handicapped our education system and had to be abandoned, the NHI will cripple our health sector,” he warned.


Hlabisa echoed Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen’s call for change through voting and said, “It truly is now or never.”

He stated that the country was on autopilot and in crisis, and he accused Ramaphosa of putting the ANC ahead of the country.

He dismissed another five years of ANC rule and said the IFP was ready to govern.

“We did it in 1994. And the IFP is ready to do it in 2024. We will do it with our votes,” he said.

Hlabisa, like Steenhusien, hit back against Ramaphosa’s story of Tintswalo, a child of democracy, born in 1994, and meant to represent someone who had reaped the benefits of freedom, under the ANC government.

“Tintswalo’s story is not the story of today’s youth. Unlike Tintswalo, 41% of our youth are unemployed. Thousands of NSFAS beneficiaries are sitting at home with their degrees and diplomas, without jobs. Their dreams are fading away. Millions of children of democracy still live in shacks and informal settlements, with no clean water, toilets or refuse removal. Their only connection to Tintswalo, is that she, too, sits vulnerable in the dark, on Stage 6 loadshedding,” the IFP leader said.

He added that the failures by the ANC were “unforgivable” and drew points of difference between ANC and IFP governance, stating that antiretrovirals were rolled out free of charge for the first time, more houses were built when compared with the ANC, and emerging farmers, entrepreneurs and small businesses were granted loans by the State-owned Ithala Bank, under an IFP government.

“The ANC and the ANC alone gave us State capture. The ANC gave us loadshedding. The ANC gave us ‘nine wasted years’. The ANC gave us close to 8-million unemployed citizens. Let us not pull the wool over our people’s eyes and pretend that the ANC is the only party that can protect South Africa and do what is best for her. The ANC serves only the ANC. How many MPs and Ministers implicated in State capture have been taken to task?” Hlabisa asked.

He ended by quoting former President Nelson Mandela who had once said, “If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.”


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