IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa

Durban - IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said in his New Year message on Thursday that South Africa needed a new captain. 

"The South African ship needs a new captain, and that captain is the IFP, because those who have landed us in the current problems cannot in good faith be the ones to get us out."

Hlabisa also said that it was a fallacy that there was anything "new" about the country. 

"As we mark the start of a new year and a new decade, we must be mindful that we are not a new South Africa; we are still faced with escalating unemployment, debilitating corruption, pandemic inequality and socio-economic injustices."

In the face of the newness of the year and decade ahead, he said, South Africa needed new leadership and new solutions, and "the IFP" had both.

"Fellow South Africans, we end 2019 faced with serious challenges as a country, with SAA placed under business rescue, Eskom gripped by problems which plunged us into load shedding and an economy that continues to shrink. The sad reality of gender-based violence has fast entrenched itself as a permanent feature of our daily lived experience. Women and children are under siege. This must change in 2020."

The party celebrates 45 years of existence in 2020. Hlabisa said the milestone was indicative of its fortitude and resilience.  

"It is our historic mission from inception 45 years ago to pursue the liberation of the oppressed, dispossessed and vulnerable in our country. In 2020 we recommit ourselves as the IFP to ensure that political freedom translates into social and economic justice to take forward the collective dreams, hopes and aspirations of those we serve; the South African people."

Hlabisa also congratulated matriculants who had passed their exams and urged those who had failed to take advantage of rewriting opportunities. He called on parents and guardians to renew support of their children as they grappled with the realities facing school leavers. 

"To my colleagues in the teaching fraternity, thank-you for all your hard work in shaping and moulding the minds and dreams of our children during their schooling journey. As a former teacher and principal, I know the challenges that come with our profession, and our country owes you a great debt of gratitude for your endless sacrifices, which at times stretch well beyond the call of duty."

African News Agency