Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party And
Traditional Prime Minister Of The Zulu Monarch And Nation
The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg: 11 March 2016
I wish to thank the South African Christian Leaders Initiative for heeding the call of men and women of faith within the Christian community, who are calling for a more cohesive response to the present crisis within our nation. It is fitting that this initiative be convened by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Dr Thabo Makgoba, and that it draw together influential leaders from all spheres.
In my work as a Member of Parliament and as President of the IFP, I travel constantly and meet people from all walks of life. I find that whether we are discussing their son’s wedding, their studies, or the weather, the conversation invariable turns to the crisis we all face as South Africans; the crisis of economic hardship, uncertainty over the future, racial tension, and the absence of the kind of leadership needed to navigate out of the storm.
South Africans are worried. They are struggling. They are quite often desperate. And they are looking for something to hold onto.
Tragically, a vacuum has been opened by the absence of moral leadership, and it has been filled with irresponsible, revolutionary rhetoric that unites the many against the few. This has the semblance of our past struggle, but is far from righteous. In a democracy, the power of the many should never be used to isolate and target the few.
That being said, I feel it important that I clarify my own intentions in participating in SEFSA. This should not be misinterpreted as a pressure group that is ganging up against the President or against Government. We are not making the blanket statement that Government has failed and the Church must now step in. I believe the intention behind SEFSA, and certainly my own intention, is to assist those in Government to solve some intractable problems by adding our wisdom, our cautionary words and our advice.
We don’t give this as people sitting on the sidelines watching a difficult battle. We are in the battle. We are up there with the generals, leading the charge, for in each of our respective spheres, our people have asked us to lead. Thus we bear a responsibility to help steer our country into calmer waters, and we cannot abdicate that responsibility because some think it belongs exclusively to a political party or a Head of State or an elected administration.
Democracy grants us all the right to participate. Our moral conscience bestows on us the responsibility to act.
I have often said in the National Assembly that I seek to advise the President in good faith, for the success of our President is the success of our nation, while the failure of our President is experienced as the failure of our nation. I sit on the opposition benches. But when Government does what is right for South Africa, I support them.
Unfortunately, my advice, honestly given, has been blatantly ignored. But more tragic still is that the ruling party, with all its structures and capable leaders, has done nothing to advise, assist or direct its own president. This has led us into the present crisis in which the majority of South Africans distrust the captain who stands at the helm.
There is undoubtedly a lack of good advice and sensible direction being given in the current climate. Surely we in this room must fulfil that responsibility.
Each one of us has been chosen to participate in this Summit for a reason. We all have something of value to contribute. I am, unfortunately, unable to attend tomorrow’s session as I must travel to KwaZulu Natal. But I intend to pour every ounce of my insight into this debate, and extract a larger measure of wisdom to take with me as I continue to serve South Africa.