IFP YOUTH MAKES SHENGE PROUD
By: Given Jama
Inkatha Freedom Party’s President Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi commended the youth of his party for “not celebrating Youth Day by spilling feaces on building entrances” at the Durban City Hall on June 16.
Buthelezi said, “I am intensely proud to lead a party whose youth are so dynamic and innovative.”
The Prince of Phindangene was addressing hundreds of party supporters and senior members who attended the party’s Education Summit organized by the IFP Youth Brigade, the party’s youth wing. The summit’s theme was “The Right to Learn: A Fundamental Human Right Threatened”.
Buthelezi said that the party’s meeting today was in commemoration of the student uprising which took place in Soweto in 1976. He remarked that at the time, the Bantu Education system was marked by overcrowded classrooms, “appalling” insignificant funding, dilapidated buildings and discrimination on racial grounds. He called this a “time bomb for social discontent”.
He said that even today, there is still a sense of history repeating itself.
“Although Government is spending significant amounts on education and although education is a universal right enshrined in the Constitution, there are still schools unfit for human use, where children get sick because of dilapidated toilet facilities, leaking roofs and broken windows,” said Buthelezi.
He also blamed President Jacob Zuma for using “meaningless catch-phrases” that do not address teacher strikes, undelivered textbook problems, dismal pass rates and high dropout rates.
“What would change by re-labelling the problem?” he asked, referring President Zuma’s announcement in his State of the Nation Address that he upgraded education from an “Apex Priority to an essential service”.
Buthelezi said that the ANC was unwilling to jeopardise South African Democratic Teachers Union’s political support as it could not commit and backtracked on that teachers would lose their right to strike as education was declared an essential service.
“Cabinet spoke in glowing terms of an education system that has “turned the corner”, with steady progress being made and with government providing “realistic solutions.” he said. He called this and the “naming and shaming campaign” to root out corruption “all part of the ANC’s pre-election nonsense,” he mentioned.
After highlighting that it had emerged that the ANC-led government had only built 33 schools since 2004 despite the enormous budget available and how the IFP-led government had done better with little funding, he asserted that the IFP knows how to solve the education crisis better than the ruling party.
“There is nothing more important to the IFP than seeing this generation freer, healthier and happier than the generation before,” said Buthelezi. He further said that the ANC lacks the political-will, backbone and know-how to lead South Africa out of the current educational crisis.
Buthelezi then urged the party’s youth wing to set aside this year as a year of intense activity and sign up new members to bring the numbers in favour of the party.
IFP youth wing Chairperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who had earlier mentioned that they are committed to “education for liberation” said that they had noted what came out of the summit discussion and they will certainly take the conversation forward to be good vanguards of the future.