Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Weekly Newsletter to the Nation
My dear friends and fellow South Africans,
I was dumbstruck, as were the overwhelming majority of South Africans, when, last Monday, Julius Malema, the ANC Youth League leader, declared that the League would not only die for Zuma, but would "kill for Zuma".
Even more lamentable is that the League has given their unstinting support to the young man's remarks.
I do, however, commend the President of the ANC, Mr Jacob Zuma, for his swift condemnation of both that remark and of the public humiliation of President Thabo Mbeki by members of the League last weekend. Mr Zuma will know that once this precedent takes hold, he too will be prey to the same treatment. Mr Malema's utterances are abhorrent in a civilized and democratic society regulated by the rule-of-law.
There is no need to be philosophical about this: killing is evil and has never in the history of mankind resolved a problem. Did the internecine violence between supporters of the ANC and the IFP during the 80's and 90's secure one political objective? Did the Provisional IRA in Britain, ETA in Spain or Hamas in Palestine, bomb and maim their way to a peaceful solution? No.
Even the use of the nuclear bomb - supposedly meant to end World War II - now hangs ominously over Teheran threatening a terrible conflict like humanity has never seen. It is not for no reason that the injunction "Thou shall not kill" is a fundamental commandment of every major faith and belief system.
It is possible, tempting even, to view Mr Malema's remark as a spontaneous outburst or the excesses of a hothead, but that would be quite wrong. His remarks are "legitimised" by a culture of four decades of uncensored lawlessness which, as I have so often stated, has its roots in the liberation struggle.
The most infamous manifestation of this was Peter Mokaba's "Kill the farmer, kill the Boer". The sanctions campaign, the slogan "Liberation before education" and the armed struggle were supposedly used to serve the liberation struggle, but the long-term effect has been to erode the very gains which the struggle was fought for. These gains are human dignity, security, freedom and prosperity.
Two years ago, during Mr Zuma's rape trial and the widespread rioting in Khutsong and other townships, I wrote that early spring flowers of democracy are wilting in the icy winter of discontent. Could we have known or ever imagined that the disintegration and instability were set to worsen? The chickens have come home to roost as the struggle culture of ungovernability continues to find expression in the form of ugly dissent in our public discourse.
Until the root cause of this culture of decadent lawlessness is addressed, the Malemas of this world are going to continue getting away with such deplorable behaviour. And each time they do, our constitutional compact unravels a little bit more.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP