Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Weekly Newsletter to the Nation
My dear friends and fellow South Africans,
As the ruling Party is readying itself for the December Conference there is a matter I feel I should mention.
I refer here to my concern about the consolidation of reconciliation between the ANC and the IFP. On the 26th of April this year Professor Herbert Vilakazi delivered a lecture in Durban on the relations between our two organisations. He also proposed a way forward. He invited leaders and members of both the ANC and the IFP. The leaders of the ANC just like those of the IFP promised to attend. However by the time the lecture was delivered leaders of the ANC in the Province were conspicuous by their absence. Only IFP’s top leadership attended.
There was a debate in ‘The Sowetan’ newspaper on the proposals by Professor Vilakazi. It was not surprising that it had to be Professor Ben Magubane who tried to put a spanner into the works. That was bad as he has been given the task of writing the contemporary history of the liberation struggle by the President of the ANC. However as far as the Province of KwaZulu Natal is concerned which was the theatre of the war of attrition between members of the UDF/ANC and members of the IFP it was remarkable that someone in Premier Sibusiso Ndebele’s office Professor Musa Xulu wrote a long article in ‘The Sowetan’ shouting down Professor Vilakazi’s proposals.
It is now clear that he was probably acting on the instructions of Premier Ndebele. This is the impression one gets when reading a leader page article this week by the Premier in which he is reacting to my address at the recent annual Conference of the IFP. His reaction reminded me that the leadership of the ANC in the Province has always been opposed to any reconciliation between members of the ANC and the IFP. On the 29th of January 1991 delegations of the ANC leadership and the IFP leadership, led by President Mandela and myself met in Durban.
We reached an agreement that both Mr Mandela and I should from that date address joint Rallies in the Province and in Gauteng attended by members of both organisations. An opportunity presented itself when I was invited to address a rally at Taylors Halt in Pietermaritzburg. I proposed to Mr Mandela that Mr Mandela and myself should use the opportunity to address a Joint Rally of members of both organisations.
Mr Mandela agreed. However just before we were due to appear together at the Joint Rally, I heard that Mr Mandela was no longer attending the Rally. When I phoned Mr Mandela to verify the rumour he told me that the then leader of the ANC in the Province Mr Harry Gwala had arrived at the ANC Head Office in Johannesburg with a busload of ANC leaders from the Province of KwaZulu Natal to tell him not to address the Joint Rally at Taylors Halt with me. So that never happened. It has not happened even when the IFP invited the ANC to join the Coalition government of the Province after winning the elections in 1994. It has not happened to this day. Although this was supposed to be a Coalition government it never brought any real reconciliation between the ANC and the IFP. In the national government where I worked under the Presidency of President Mandela and later-on under President Mbeki there was more rapport and camaraderie between us as members of the same Cabinet. That is apart from the Billy Masethla debacle. It was not surprising that in 1999 when President Mbeki had decided that I should work with him as Deputy-President of the Country that the whole thing aborted because of the attitude of the ANC leaders in the Province. President Mbeki told me that the ANC leaders in the Province of KwaZulu Natal forced him to demand from me that if I took the position of the Deputy President, I should give the position of Premier in KwaZulu Natal to the ANC. They knew that there was no way that I could accept such a thing. So the whole thing fell through because they did not want me to be Deputy-President.
There are too many agreements, too numerous to mention that were concluded between the ANC and the IFP in KwaZulu Natal which have all been broken by the ANC. The worst of these is that when the ANC received more votes than the IFP in the 2004 election they told us that this marked the end of a Coalition government between us. That the government was now the ANC government. That the IFP would be in it only by the courtesy of the ANC. So three of our members of Parliament were invited into Mr Ndebele’s Cabinet. One of them later resigned for personal reasons and two remained. There was appointed an ANC/IFP Committee of 3 which was supposed to deal with any problems that arose between the two organisations. In August 2005 Premier Ndebele was interviewed by ‘The Sunday Tribune’ newspaper. Among other things he mentioned that he was concerned about the fact that the state of relations between him and myself were not what they should be.
In August 2006, the Premier held a gathering which they call Imbizos at Mondlo. I was also invited. In my presentation I tried to respond to the concerns that the Premier had expressed in his ‘Sunday Tribune’ article about the state of relations between us. The Premier then expressed his intention to visit me at my home at Kwaphindangene. I was shortly thereafter approached by both the Director-General Professor Mandla Mchunu and the Director in charge of Liaison in the Premier’s office Rev Vundla for a date for a meeting between me and the Premier to be scheduled on the 22nd of September 2006 in the Premier’s office in Ulundi. And that we could only go to my home for Refreshments after our discussion in the office. In our discussions with the Premier we were dealing with the issue of relations between me and the Premier and his government. Among the things I quoted to the Premier was an incident which indicated how bad the state of our relations was, and that was the manner in which my daughter Sibuyiselwe had been treated. That she was discriminated against because she was my daughter. She had been appointed to a position on merit under Minister Narend Singh who was an IFP Minister. He signed the document confirming her appointment before he left Cabinet. When the new ANC Minister Ms Weziwe Thusi was appointed to replace Mr Singh, she froze my daughter’s appointment. She was quite open to some people that she could not countenance a situation where my daughter being my daughter was appointed to a position dealing with Security in her Department. My daughter was not going to be in charge of the Minister’s personal Security. I had mentioned this matter to the Deputy-President of the ANC Mr Jacob Zuma in Greytown during the Inkosi Bhambatha Celebrations in the presence of the Minister concerned.
Mr Zuma asked her to sort the matter out. As this was in May and it was now August and it had not been sorted out, I then mentioned it again to Premier Ndebele in his capacity as Head of government and leader of the ANC in the Province of KwaZulu Natal. The Premier reacted to my plea by instructing the Director-General, Professor Mandla Mchunu who was present at our meeting to tell the Minister under whom my daughter worked to sort out the matter. Later on the Director-General told me that the Minister was defiant and stated that she was not prepared to accept the instructions of the Premier. My daughter eventually had to resign.
Our meeting was cordial and after our meeting I entertained the Premier in keeping with his status, and in accordance with our Zulu culture.
Everything went off splendidly. But to my great shock just about a month after such a cordial meeting I was told by the two IFP Ministers, who were still in the Provincial government that they had received letters from the Premier delivered by the Director-General Professor Mandla Mchunu, firing them from his Cabinet with effect from the 1st of November the following day. There was not as much as a notice given or some courtesy explaining to me after our cordial meeting the previous month.
At this year’s annual Conference of my Party I reported these things that happened since our last Conference and one of them was my daughter’s case and the way she was treated. Premier Ndebele has written a leader page article in one of our Province’s main newspapers lambasting me for mentioning my daughter’s case at the Conference. He makes this an ethical issue in these words: “At an ethical level it would be acutely embarrassing if an ANC leader were to go to a Conference to complain that he had intervened on behalf of his daughter to be employed in government”. If it were not so sad, it would be laughable that I should be taught lessons in ethics by people who have victimised my daughter, because she was a daughter of their political opponent. That is the ethical issue. My daughter had been appointed on merit by the Minister in charge at the time. She was a Captain in the police and later did a Bachelor of Laws Degree when she had left the Police and worked in another Provincial government department.
The diatribe that the Premier has written about me and the erstwhile KwaZulu government is an indication of how important what Professor Vilakazi was trying to do in encouraging some rapprochement in the lecture he delivered in April.
The erstwhile government of KwaZulu which I headed was the most poorly funded by Pretoria because of my opposition to the balkanisation of our Country into ”independent” mini-states. Premier Ndebele does not want to face facts. I mobilised the people of this Province of all races against apartheid. We are the only Province which had a non-racial Government structure before 1994, the KwaZulu Natal Joint Executive Authority where both the KwaZulu Government and the Provincial government combined to serve all the people of this Province. President de Klerk admitted before the TRC that it was my rejection of independence which made them to abandon grandiose Apartheid.
I commissioned the well-known firm of Chartered Accountants De Loitte and Touché and they did a survey which came out with the report that on a per capita basis we were less funded as a government than any other territorial government in South Africa. And yet the things that we accomplished speak for themselves. We built thousands of class-rooms on the basis of a rand for a Rand basis consonant with our belief in self-help and self-reliance. We built several Teacher Training Colleges all over the Province which the ruling Party closed down. We built several Houses in many townships and helped many budding entrepreneurs to start their own businesses through KwaZulu Finance and Investment Corporation. We founded the ITHALA BANK which is unique in the whole Country. It is today misused to help more the elite than the people for whom we founded it.
Inkosi Albert Mvumbi Luthuli was my leader and mentor. Of all the leaders that are living today there is no one amongst the living leaders who worked as closely with him more than I did. I delivered the oration at his funeral requested to do so by both his family and the ANC Mission-in-exile. The Luthuli Memorial Foundation in London Chairperson Dr Zami Conco requested me to help his widow Mama Nokukhanya Luthuli to make arrangements for the unveiling of his tombstone at Groutville Mission Graveyard. When Inkosi Luthuli was given a post-humous OAU Award, his widow and family requested me to accompany her to Maseru where she received the Award on behalf of her deceased husband from King Moshoeshoe II who presented it on behalf of the OAU. I spoke on behalf of Mrs Luthuli and the people of South Africa. Premier Ndebele ends his diatribe with the words: “As we commemorate 40 years of Luthuli’s death would it not be a fitting Tribute to say his children are at last working together to achieve ideals advocated by him.” It is Premier Ndebele and the leadership of the ANC in this Province who have made sure that such a thing will never happen by the way they have treated me and the IFP.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP