Right to vote is both a weapon and a tool, says IFP’s Hlabisa

IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa.Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/Independent Newspapers

IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa.Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 16, 2024


IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa says the greatest threat to democracy is that voters might simply not vote at next months national general election.

Hlabisa, speaking during the Gauteng launch of the party's manifesto on Sunday, said that for the first time in history, almost half the world’s population will go to the polls this year as elections are held in 64 countries.

“In South Africa, history is being made as well, for we have the longest ballot paper we have ever had, with no fewer than 325 political parties contesting the May 29 elections. The 27.6 million voters have the largest array of choices ever placed before them,” Hlabisa said.

He said in 1994, 20 million people or almost 87% of voters turned out to vote, but now many take their rights for granted.

'“Of course, we have not forgotten the sacrifices made by past generations; by our own parents and grandparents. For those of us born before 1994, we have not forgotten our own struggle. Democracy was hard-won in South Africa. We hold our democratic rights as inviolable.'”

Hlabisa said the right to vote is both a weapon and a tool, “protecting you from injustice and enabling you to build your future” .

'“The single most powerful thing you can do to change your circumstances, is to vote.

'“Our votes determine whether the economy will grow or remain stagnant, whether jobs are created, or unemployment spreads, to ensure that safety and security are prioritised, or that crime consumes our nation,'” Hlabisa said.

On education, Hlabisa said it is unacceptable that many Grade 4s still cannot read for meaning.

“It is unacceptable that there are trained teachers sitting at home while there are teaching vacancies, that learners struggle to find places in schools at the start of each year, that many schools still rely on pit latrines, and that the matric pass mark has had to be lowered to 30% because the standard of education is so poor.”

He said government is setting up children for failure.

The Mercury