Statement By The Inkatha Freedom Party
On the 702/Cape Talk Interview Of 29 October 2018
On Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi: IFP President
On Tuesday 29 October 2018, 702 and Cape Talk broadcast a live hour long interview hosted by Mr Eusebius McKaiser with Professor Richard Pithouse, an Associate Professor at Wits University. The topic was formally posed as “Does Buthelezi have a shameful place in history or is it ‘complex’?” On the runner was the provocative question, “Was Mangosuthu Buthelezi a human rights violator?”
There was no one offering an alternative viewpoint to that of Prof. Pithouse, whose views were unreservedly negative, provocative and damaging to Prince Buthelezi’s public reputation. This interview falls far short of the Code of Ethics’ standard of fairness and balance. It was, quite simply, an exercise in character assassination.
McKaiser indicated that he had been wanting to do this for a long time. Yet in all this time, the IFP was never approached to provide an alternative viewpoint. We were not even alerted that this very damaging interview was taking place.
The IFP therefore requested a right of reply and we were offered a telephonic interview with Mr McKaiser, this morning.
What we were not told is that Prof. Pithouse would join this interview. The IFP was not allowed to contradict his lies on Tuesday, but today they brought him in to waste valuable time contradicting the truth. This cannot be seen as a reasonable right of reply.
It is extremely difficult to correct an hour’s worth of lies and defamation in 15 minutes. Thus, subsequent to this morning’s interview, and still reserving our right to take this further, the IFP wishes to place the following on record for the sake of truth and accuracy.
Throughout Tuesday’s interview with Prof. Pithouse, McKaiser failed to display an objective approach. At one point he asked where Buthelezi, whom he disrespectfully referred to as “Gatsha”, ranks “in the degrees of evil”, thereby conveying his belief that Buthelezi is unquestionably “evil”.
The formulation of his questions to Pithouse was leading and invariably steered the listener to a negative image of Buthelezi. For instance, he asks “How was Inkatha founded? Was it an apartheid project or an expression of Zulu ethnicity?” That is like asking, “What did McKaiser do this morning; did he kill a child or did he drive drunk?” Neither option has any basis in truth, but it’s posed deliberately to suggest that only one or the other must be true.
Pithouse did not answer the question of how Inkatha was founded.
The facts are as follows. In the 1970s there was a political hiatus in South Africa with the ANC banned and many of its leaders in exile. Buthelezi was working closely with Tambo, as he had with Luthuli. Both of them had asked him to lead the KwaZulu Government when the homelands system as imposed, because even though we rejected the homelands system, it wasn’t optional. Tambo and Luthuli believed in a multi-strategy approach and called on Buthelezi to accept leadership of KwaZulu, if the people chose him, to enable them to undermine the system from within.
As leader of the KwaZulu Government, Buthelezi was able to get his passport returned – it had been confiscated for 9 years because he had used it to meet with Tambo in London in 1963. Now that he was able to travel again, he met with Tambo often, even though doing so endangered his life in South Africa. They met in London, Nairobi, Lagos, Stockholm and Mangoche (where Buthelezi was invited by President Banda with Chief Minister Lucas Mangope). The Government couldn’t very well confiscate the passport of the Chief Minister of KwaZulu.
He also visited African Heads of State to thank them for giving sanctuary to all our exiles. On one of those visits, to Zambia, President Kenneth Kaunda advised Buthelezi to form a membership based organisation to reignite mass mobilisation towards liberation. When he got back to South Africa, Buthelezi immediately sought the advice of Tambo and Bishop Alpheus Zulu. With their approval, Buthelezi then founded Inkatha ye Nkululeko yeSizwe.
Inkatha was effectively a front for the ANC, on South African soil. But it was presented as a cultural organisation to avoid being automatically banned under the prevailing laws.
More should be said though on Buthelezi’s relationship with Tambo. When Luthuli sent Tambo out of the country to establish the ANC’s mission-in-exile, Buthelezi continued to work closely with Tambo. Their first meeting in London, mentioned above, was in 1963, when Buthelezi was on his way to Canada for the Anglican Congress as a lay delegate of the Anglican Church from the Diocese of Zululand.
En route, he stopped in London to visit Mrs Adelaide Tambo at their house in Muswell Road. Tambo was in Lusaka at the time, but his wife phoned him and he flew to London immediately to see Buthelezi.
Tambo was uneasy about agents of BOSS, the Bureau of State Security, reporting Buthelezi’s presence in the Tambo home. He feared there would be consequences for Buthelezi when he returned to South Africa. It turned out he was right. Buthelezi’s passport was confiscated by the apartheid regime for 9 years.
During that time, Senator Robert Kennedy visited South Africa to talk at our universities on academic freedom. At a private dinner with the Senator, attended by Buthelezi, Mr Alan Paton, Archbishop Denis Hurley, Dr Lazarus and Mr Knowledge Guzana (the leader of the Opposition from Transkei), Paton said, “Senator you have three passport-less citizens here”. He meant himself, Guzana and Buthelezi.
When Buthelezi became the Head of the KwaZulu Government, the apartheid regime was faced with dilemma. They could not in one breath tell the world that he was the head of a budding government, and in the next breath say he cannot be issued with a passport.
With his passport returned, Buthelezi was able to accept an invitation from the Head of State in Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo, to the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs. Obasanjo purposely sent this invitation to coincide with the date that Transkei took so-called independence, to enable Buthelezi not to be present at the celebrations in Transkei.
This was after the assassination of Mohamed Murtala who had staged a coup in Nigeria. Obasanjo sent tickets for Buthelezi, his wife, Mr Gibson Thula and Buthelezi’s Secretary Mr Eric Ngubane.
Just as they were due to return to South Africa, Obasanjo sent word to Buthelezi that he had invited Tambo, who would arrive in a few days. Buthelezi waited in Lagos and met Tambo at the airport.
In 1974, Buthelezi and Tambo were invited to speak at a seminar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the topic of economic sanctions and disinvestment against South Africa. The ANC’s mission-in-exile had made a policy decision to call on the international community to impose economic sanctions and to disinvest from South Africa. They appealed to the international community to withdraw their multi-national companies from our country.
Buthelezi held rallies in Jabulani Amphitheatre in Soweto, in the townships in Durban, at Langa Hostel, in Bloemfontein, in Kroonstad, in Welkom and in many other places. There he put the question whether he should advocate economic sanctions and disinvestment. The response was always the same: if he did that, the people would starve to death.
So when he and Tambo were invited to Addis Ababa, they first met at the Hilton in Nairobi, where they discussed the issue throughout the night. Tambo, as Buthelezi’s leader, finally decided that Buthelezi should go to Ethiopia, but that it would be prudent that he himself not go, as it would not look good for them as leaders to differ on an international platform.
Tambo thus remained in Nairobi, and Buthelezi went on to Addis Ababa, where he met with Mr Peter Onu, Under-Secretary of the Organisation for African Unity. He rejoined Tambo upon his return.
At that point, Kenya was celebrating its independence. Buthelezi went to the Anglican Cathedral with Mr Njonjo, the Attorney General, and his wife. Njonjo had been educated in South Africa, at Adams College and Fort Hare.
Buthelezi then decided to proceed to Lusaka and to Dar-es-Salaam. As mentioned, he wanted to thank President Kenneth Kaunda and President Julius Nyerere for having given sanctuary to all our political exiles. He left on the same plane as Tambo to Lusaka. But that was the end of their seeing each other. They never met in Lusaka.
Some of South Africa exiles came to see Buthelezi and his wife at the hotel in Lusaka, and one couple told them that they were instructed by the leadership of the ANC’s mission-in-exile not to come and see them. But they had come anyway. His Excellency Mendi Msimang also disobeyed that ban, and came to greet Buthelezi.
The reason behind this was the defection of eight members of the ANC, led by Ambrose Makiwane. They had mentioned Tambo’s closeness to Buthelezi as a reason for their defection. They objected to that closeness. After that Tambo ducked seeing Buthelezi several times.
When it comes to the ideological rift that opened between Inkatha and the ANC’s mission in exile, McKaiser again asks a leading question: “What was the basis of the rift? Was it because Inkatha was an ethnic and nationalistic outfit while the ANC was far more diverse in its orientation particularly in terms of non-racialism?”
Inkatha never restricted its membership to Zulus. In fact, it grew so quickly that the then Minister of Justice Police, Mr Jimmy Kruger, summoned Buthelezi to Pretoria in 1977 to try to bully him into restricting Inkatha membership to Zulus. But Buthelezi refused. That meeting was recorded and the transcript is available.
In terms of non-racialism, the Improper Interference Act prohibited people of different races partaking in the same Party. As soon as that law was repealed Inkatha recruited members from all race groups, for we were founded on the same principles of non-racialism, inclusivity and non-violence that were laid at the foundation of the ANC in 1912 by Buthelezi’s uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme.
As an aside, Buthelezi grew up at the palace of his uncle, KwaDlamahlahla, in Mahashini. In the late 40s Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Buthelezi’s aunt Princess Phikisile Harriet ka Dinuzulu built a homestead in Mahashini area. When Buthelezi was doing matric at Adams College 1947, Dr Seme had an operation on one of his eyes and struggled to see well. He would send for Buthelezi to come and assist him, dictating letters which he would then sign. That was the first opportunity for Buthelezi to be mentored by no less than the founder of the ANC.
Pithouse doesn’t answer the question of what caused the rift between Inkatha and the ANC. In fact, when a caller again tries to get him to answer, Pithouse claims that he doesn’t know what happened at the 1979 London meeting.
This is the watershed moment that led to the great vilification campaign against Buthelezi. Does Pithouse genuinely not know what that meeting was about? And if he doesn’t, then how is he the expert on Buthelezi’s legacy?
The rift between Inkatha and the ANC was caused by the ANC’s divergence from its founding principles. Their decision to engage violence as a political tool went against the principles of the liberation movement. The ANC chose to abandon those principles. But Inkatha could not agree.
Buthelezi believed in negotiations and non-violent resistance. From exile, the ANC’s leadership was importing bloodshed and terror onto our soil. Buthelezi was here. He lived the daily indignities and hardships of oppression. In mass rallies across South Africa he asked us if we should engage this idea of a people’s war. Not a single voice said yes. We had enough to deal with. Accepting the addition of terror and death was too much to ask. So Inkatha opposed violence. We refused to engage an armed struggle, which is why we never had an armed wing like the ANC’s Umkhonto weSizwe.
In 1979, Tambo called Buthelezi to London where our delegations debated for two and half days. But they couldn’t convince us to use Inkatha’s structures to channel guns and guerrilla soldiers into South Africa. We also disagreed over the call for international sanctions and disinvestment, which Buthelezi knew would hurt the poorest the most as companies withdrew and jobs were lost. Moreover, the lack of competition which disinvestment created saw the rise of monopolies and cartels, which we’re still struggling with today.
Despite being unable to agree, the discussions were not acrimonious. In fact Tambo promised to come back to us in December after the NEC of the ANC had met. But the first surprise was that Tambo actually issued a statement saying that the meeting with Inkatha and Buthelezi never took place. Buthelezi was shocked that someone he respected so much could tell a lie like that.
The second surprise was that “The Sunday Times” ran with a lead story that the meeting had taken place, and Tambo immediately accused Buthelezi of having leaked it to the newspaper. But the Chief of the Sunday Times Bureau in London, Ms Suzanne Vos, stated that she had got the news from Mr Cap Zungu who was the ANC’s representative in London.
At that point, Inkatha was the biggest liberation organisation in South Africa. The ANC’s mission in exile calculated that if they couldn’t make Inkatha do what they wanted, Inkatha could pose a threat to their political hegemony. So Buthelezi had to be destroyed, to break the back of Inkatha.
In June 1980, the Secretary-General of the ANC Mr Alfred Nzo launched a blistering attack on Buthelezi and, without any warning, the sluice gates of lies, propaganda and vilification were opened.
Mzala’s book, which Pithouse and McKaiser refer to, was part of that propaganda campaign. It was never intended as an academic or historical account. It was a commissioned propaganda tract published by the ANC’s Researcher and a member of the South African Communist Party, Mr Nobleman Nxumalo.
Radio Freedom was quoting their leaders such as Mr John Nkadimeng saying “GATSHA IS A SNAKE THAT POISONS SOUTH AFRICA, THAT MUST BE HIT ON THE HEAD.” In the book ‘TAMBO SPEAKS’, published by Mrs Tambo and her son, one of Tambo’s speeches from that time shows him doing his best to vilify Buthelezi. Many similar bellicose utterances and statements were made about Buthelezi, portraying him – just as McKaiser’s interview tried to do – as a collaborator, and worse, when all that Buthelezi did was carry out the instructions of his leaders, Luthuli and Tambo.
Far from collaborating with apartheid, Buthelezi was opposing apartheid’s plans at every turn. One of the key examples is his refusal to take nominal independence for KwaZulu, unlike the Bantustans of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei; the TBVC states. KwaZulu never became a Bantustan. This derailed the grand scheme to balkanise South Africa and protected the citizenship of millions of black South Africans.
The regime’s plan was to excise those parts of our country to which blacks had been relegated, so that they could say to the international world, “Look, we’re not oppressing anyone. They are not part of South Africa.” Buthelezi’s refusal to play along kept apartheid morally untenable, enabling continued international pressure towards dismantling apartheid. In other words, Buthelezi did exactly what Tambo and Luthuli had asked him to do. He undermined the system from within, and he did it very effectively.
Pithouse claims that Zulu ethnicity was a colonial project, as though the British somehow formed the sense of ethnic identity of Zulus. He completely ignores that the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 saw the British imprison our King and divide our Kingdom into 13 artificial kinglets.
Later in the interview Pithouse claims that Buthelezi has no right to call himself the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, as he does not hold this position. Yet Buthelezi was appointed to this position. McKaiser fails to ask why the King would treat Buthelezi as his Prime Minister, if he does not hold this position, or why the King often refers to Buthelezi as his Prime Minister, as he did even this year at the King’s Imbizo and again at the King Shaka celebrations, in front of the whole Zulu nation.
Pithouse defines “collaboration” as participation in the system. Oppressed South Africans had no choice about participating in the system. That is what oppression means. Even the homelands system was not optional. Although we rejected it, it was imposed on us.
Their first step towards establishing homelands was the passing of the Bantu Authorities Act in 1951. Initially they said that the Act was merely permissive, and each Clan could take it or accept it on its own volition. Buthelezi says, “We deliberately took them at their word and said that, in that case, it was not for us as individual Amakhosi to accept the Bantu Authorities Act; our clans needed to make that decision. Two officials were sent to the Buthelezi Clan, Mr Nils Otte and Mr Eric Oltmann. They told me and my people that we were wrongly instructed and that we had no choice in the matter.” The law had to be complied with.
The next step was the establishment of Regional Authorities, and the next step would be the establishment of the government of the Zulu Nation through a Territorial Authority.
Luthuli and Tambo, who were in Wattville at the time, sent a prominent leader of the ANC, Mr Cleopas Nsibande, to Buthelezi’s sister, Princess Morgina, who was married to a doctor at Daveyton also in the Benoni Area. Knowing that Buthelezi was a member of the ANC, and the ANC was against the homelands policy, Luthuli and Tambo sent a message through Nsibande saying that although the movement was against the homelands policy, they pleaded with him not to refuse leading the KwaZulu Territorial Authority.
Indeed, in June 1970, Buthelezi was unanimously elected by members of the Territorial Authority, who included Amakhosi, as the first Head of the KwaZulu Territorial Authority. On the instructions of Luthuli and Tambo, Buthelezi accepted. The Territorial Authority later became the KwaZulu Legislative Authority, and later became the Government of KwaZulu.
Knowing that he was carrying out their instructions, the leadership of the ANC did not attack Buthelezi for being the Head of the KwaZulu Government. But unfortunately the leadership did not inform the whole organisation of the fact that Buthelezi was carrying out their brief. Thus some members sniped at him now and then.
Mandela, however, never attacked Buthelezi. In fact when Buthelezi addressed mass rallies in Jabulani Amphitheatre in Soweto, he quoted from Mandela’s book, “No Easy Way to Freedom”, in which Mandela explained that in certain circumstances it was the right thing for the movement to participate in government structures.
Pithouse argues, quite bizarrely, that Buthelezi wasn’t trying to change the system from within because he wasn’t doing anything for Indian or coloured people. This is just nonsense. The Black Alliance, which Buthelezi chaired, brought together Inkatha, the Reform Party led by Mr Yellan Chinsamy, the Coloured Labour Party, the Inyandza Movement and the Dikwakwentla Party from the Free State. It was specifically to break this Alliance that the apartheid regime introduced the Tricameral Parliament, giving a limited political voice to Indians and Coloureds, but still excluding blacks.
The Buthelezi Commission, chaired by the Deputy Principal of the University of Natal Professor Deneys Schreiner, and the subsequent KwaZulu/Natal Indaba – on Buthelezi’s initiative – created the first non-racial, non-discriminatory government; the KwaZulu Natal Joint Executive Authority, proving (before democracy) that governance by all, for all, could be achieved. By 1994 the KwaZulu government and the Provincial Administration of Natal had one government. This is deliberately swept under the carpet by Professor Pithouse.
It is surprising that a professor educated in KwaZulu Natal would not know about Buthelezi having worked with people like Alan Paton, Helen Suzman, Frederik van Zyly Slabbert and Ray Swart. The only occasion on which Mr John Vorster summoned Buthelezi to his office was to accuse him of being used by the Progressive Federal Party and “The Rand Daily Mail”.
Pithouse claims that Buthelezi’s collaboration with the apartheid state “goes back to the 1950s when he wanted to be Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan”.
First of all, Buthelezi didn’t appoint himself as Inkosi. He was living in Durban, preparing to do his legal articles under Mr Rowley Israel Arenstein, who appeared in all the ANC cases. The Buthelezi Clan then approached Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu, Buthelezi’s mother, asking that Buthelezi return to Mahlabathini and take up his hereditary position as Inkosi. This was in 1952.
Buthelezi was hesitant, as he understood law as the path to his political activism. Moreover, the Government had just deposed Inkosi Luthuli as Inkosi of Amakholwa in Groutville, and it seemed futile for Buthelezi not to expect the same fate, as he believed in the same things as Luthuli.
He therefore consulted Luthuli, who was mentoring him in Durban, on the decision he intended to take to abandon his hereditary position. But Luthuli advised him not to do so. He, as well as Sisulu and Mandela, told Buthelezi to take up his position as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan, because traditional leaders were able to materially uplift their people. This is what Inkosi Luthuli himself had done when he gave up a lucrative teaching positon to return to Groutville as a traditional leader.
The apartheid State was not dangling this position in front of Buthelezi. In fact, they didn’t want him to take up the position, because they knew of his political activism.
He had studied at Fort Hare University from 1948 to 1950 and joined its branch of the ANC Youth League under Advocate Godfrey Pitje, and then under Mr Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. When they heard that the Head Of State, Dr G Brand van Zyl, planned to visit Fort Hare, Buthelezi and some fellow activists had organised a boycott. Because of this, Buthelezi was expelled.
He continued his studies at the University of Natal. Being in Durban, he was able to often visit the offices of the ANC in Lakhani Chambers in Grey Street. He quickly became close to Inkosi Albert Luthuli, the last elected President of the ANC before it was banned. Luthuli became one of his mentors, but Buthelezi also worked with many other leaders including Mr Masabalala Yengwa, Mr Lugongolo Mtolo, Mr P G Mei, Ms Bertha Mkhize and Dorothy Nyembe.
Not surprisingly, Buthelezi was heavily shadowed by the Security Police. The regime was not keen on installing a known political activist as a traditional leader.
At one point Buthelezi was called to the offices of the Native Commissioner in Durban and was interviewed by the Secretary for Native Affairs, Dr WWM Eislen, who questioned Buthelezi about his involvement in the boycott at Fort Hare. Buthelezi admitted that he had been involved, along with other students.
Dr Eislen then referred to the incident as “child’s play”. But when Buthelezi then asked when he could finally be expected to be installed as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan, over which he was the heir presumptive, Eislen made it clear that his political activism would be held against him for some time to come.
Indeed it was five years before they formally recognised him as Inkosi, in September 1957. This surprised everyone as Buthelezi was the hereditary heir to the position.
Expanding on the lie of collaboration, Pithouse claims that Buthelezi collaborated directly with the apartheid security forces, through intelligence and military training for what he calls “Inkatha militia”. This is simply not true.
As Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Government Buthelezi continuously received intelligence on assassination plots against him, planned attacks on his Cabinet Ministers, and plans to destroy government buildings. KwaZulu’s small police force could not protect against such attacks. Buthelezi therefore reported the threats to the national government. In response, his Secretary of Administration, Mr Zakhele Khumalo, was asked to send 200 men for training as VIP Protectors.
Unfortunately, upon their return, one of these VIP Protectors was involved in an act of violence. The ANC immediately took the gap, claiming the South African Government had trained “hit squads” for Inkatha which, they said, proved collusion to destroy the ANC.
But this accusation was tested in a criminal trial in 1996 against the former Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan, and the IFP’s Administrative Secretary. That 18 months’ trail ended in acquittal by the Durban Supreme Court when the court, in its own words, could find “no convincing evidence that the… training had intended to equip Inkatha to carry out unlawful killings.” There was simply no collaboration.
Pithouse claims that violence by Inkatha started in 1983 when “armed Inkatha supporters attacked students at the University of Zululand and murdered some of them”. This is a serious distortion of history.
On 29 October 1983, the Zulu nation held a commemoration of King Cetshwayo at the University. As traditional Prime Minister, Buthelezi was to accompany the King. But students were indoctrinated well in advance to disturb the commemoration, as though this were a political event. This was at the height of the vilification campaign against Buthelezi and Inkatha, waged by the ANC’s mission-in-exile through broadcasts on Radio Freedom, incendiary pamphlets and fierce language. Before Buthelezi even arrived students began shouting insults, such as, “Gatsha is a dog! Oliver Tambo is king!” Some Zulu regiments, awaiting the arrival of the King, took umbrage and a clash ensued that ended tragically in the loss of life.
The claim that Buthelezi “has blood on his hands” is defamatory. Pithouse claims that “He was found culpable by the TRC but… there was no justice”. Buthelezi refused to apply for amnesty, unlike half the ANC Cabinet. They were granted blanket amnesty for acts of murder, violence and mayhem without ever having to disclose what they did. Buthelezi said, if I have committed a single human rights violation, let me be criminally charged. He never was, because there wasn’t a shred of evidence against him.
He did not ask for amnesty because his conscience was clear that he never orchestrated any human rights violations, as the ANC and UDF had done through Umkhonto weSizwe. He never orchestrated violence. There is not a single person who died on his instructions, nor did he ever order, approve or ratify the death of anyone. All he said was that, according to our jurisprudence, people have a right to defend themselves and their loved ones.
This is very different to the way the ANC and UDF orchestrated thousands of cruel deaths. When Alfred Nzo, Secretary-General of the ANC, was asked about the barbaric practice of necklacing, he stated that the ANC cannot oppose necklacing as it was chosen by people at home. Mrs Madikizela-Mandela famously said that with tyres and matches we will liberate this country.
Throughout the entire McKaiser interview no mention is made of any violence perpetrated by the ANC at any time, despite the TRC finding that the ANC created a “spiral of violence” that targeted the IFP. The people’s war imposed by the ANC, assisted by the UDF, claimed thousands of black lives. In her seminal tome titled “People’s War”, Dr Anthea Jeffery provides an evidence-based historical account of the violence of the eighties and early nineties. The finger of history points directly at the ANC.
Pithouse says we are still dealing with political violence in KwaZulu Natal, implicitly saying that this violence is committed by the IFP. Yet the Moerane Commission found that the present political violence is predominantly intra-party and predominantly within the ANC. Why is the IFP dragged into it?
Pithouse further claims that the Ingonyama Trust was a concession to the IFP at CODESA. This is rubbish. The Ingonyama Trust was never discussed at CODESA – it was never part of negotiations. The Ingonyama Trust Act was passed by the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly which had full authority to pass such legislation. It didn’t need or seek permission from the National Party Government.
Eventually McKaiser asks Pithouse, “Is there anything nice to be said about Buthelezi?” Pithouse responds that he doesn’t want to be mean-spirited but “we need to be honest”. He then associates Buthelezi with burned homesteads, murdered babies, the sound of battle, fear, mourning, funerals, vigils, and women crying.
He says nothing of Buthelezi’s accomplishments, his service to our nation, or the respect that he has earned as an elder statesman and a leader of integrity.
Buthelezi was received by many Heads of State including President Jimmy Carter, President Ronald Reagan and President George Bush in the United States, Lady Margaret Thatcher and Mr John Major in the United Kingdom, Mr Den Uyl in the Netherlands, and Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Germany.
He was received by Presidents in Africa, including President Kenneth Kaunda (more than once), President Nyerere (more than once), President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Hastings Banda in Malawi, President Hosni Mubarak, Emperor Haile Selassie (who established the OAU), President William Tolbert in Liberia – who awarded Buthelezi the Knight Commander of the Star of Africa – King Sobhuza II, King Mosheshoe II and King Letsie of Lesotho.
President Giscard des Tang of France awarded Buthelezi the French National Order of Merit. He was received by three Popes; Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict VII.
If he was truly the man Pithouse portrays him to be, why did any of this happen? These people had their intelligence sources. They knew and accepted Buthelezi’s liberation credentials.
But McKaiser clearly does not want to hear anything positive about Buthelezi. When Pithouse starts speaking about Buthelezi being received by Reagan and Thatcher, how he was a global figure, and the Financial Times’ ‘Man of the Year’, McKaiser quickly cuts the interview, redirects the conversation and starts reading tweets.
Again, when a caller named Cunningham starts explaining how the ANC leadership asked Buthelezi to lead KwaZulu, McKaiser cuts him off and tries to shame him for having called ‘Richard Pithouse’ ‘Richard Calland’, saying “not all whites look and sound the same”. He doesn’t allow Cunningham to continue.
On the other hand McKaiser fails to follow up when Pithouse makes damaging accusations without offering any evidence. For instance, Pithouse claims that “dodgy things happened” to enable the IFP to win KwaZulu Natal in 1994. McKaiser doesn’t ask him to explain that accusation.
McKaiser asks, “Was (Buthelezi) useful to us in a post-1994 South Africa?” Pithouse responds that Buthelezi was brought into the Government of National Unity and given a ministerial position as a compromise to stop the violence. This is nonsense.
The IFP won its place in the GNU through the 1994 elections. We got the votes. More than two million votes secured us seats in Cabinet, in terms of the interim Constitution. Buthelezi was certainly not “given” his position as Minister of Home Affairs as a favour.
Pithouse goes on to claim that Buthelezi was ineffective as a functionary of the State, and that Home Affairs was a disaster under his leadership. He also claims that Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had to fix it.
Minister Dlamini Zuma didn’t take over from Buthelezi. She took over an ANC run Department, which had been run into the ground by an ANC Minister.
Buthelezi took over Home Affairs from the former regime which had administered the Department through apartheid laws and policies. He transformed the entire system of legislation, bringing it in line with both the Constitution and the needs of South Africa. His Immigration Bill laid the foundation for bringing in skills to boost the economy. Under his leadership, every citizen gained access to documentation, from cradle to grave. He undertook an enormous task and did it well. It’s absurd to say he was ineffective.
Pithouse offers nothing to back this claim.
McKaiser ends the interview by asking “Are the IFP and Buthelezi a spent force?” to which Pithouse responds that the IFP is “a small regional force which may get a protest vote now and again”. How does a small regional force have seats in the National Parliament?
Pithouse’s prediction of the IFP’s prospects is contrary to every other current prediction by political analysts, yet there was no one to question or contradict him. This should have fallen to the interviewer. But McKaiser’s bias is so absolute, that he couldn’t bring himself to admit that the IFP, in reality, is making a serious comeback.
In the final analysis, this interview was an orchestrated, planned assassination of Buthelezi’s character and the truth.