Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Online Letter
Dear friends and fellow South Africans,
"The moon landing was a hoax". "HIV does not cause Aids". "Our soccer stadiums are infested with killer snakes".
Just because one says something, doesn't make it true. Mr Julius Malema may not realise this. But he is well aware that there is always a group of people willing to believe whatever they hear; and that is why his lies must always be challenged with the truth.
When Mr Malema was elected and launched his vendetta against me, and against almost everyone else, I was chided by a former editor of one of our daily newspapers who said that I should not have degraded myself by responding to him. I know that bloggers often lament the catch 22 situation where discussing his faults gives him further publicity.
But I have always been wary of underestimating the role Mr Malema plays for the ANC. He speaks the mind of the ruling Party where its other leaders wouldn't dare. They can conveniently pretend he is just a passionate youth still growing into the wisdom and discretion of leadership, while giving him free rein to say anything he pleases.
No one seriously expected Mr Malema to suffer any kind of reproach during his recent disciplinary hearing. It was too much to hope that the ANC would finally explain public service and the national interest to him. It is no surprise that the hearing ended with a slap on the wrist. Rather, it is evidence of complicit support for his outrageous behaviour.
So, even though we all get tired to reading his name, it would be a mistake to allow the lies that he spreads to go unchallenged. A couple of these lies emerged at the weekend when Mr Malema spoke at an elective conference of the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu Natal, and couldn't resist the urge to repeat his joke that I am a "factory fault" of the ANC.
What he means is that I would not adhere to the cookie-cutter leadership mould the ANC demanded during the liberation struggle. I had the temerity to disagree with the party line that encouraged an armed struggle, international disinvestment and sanctions. I had the audacity to undermine the apartheid system from within - and the nerve to do it successfully!
Against all historical fact and record, Mr Malema told the Youth League that I wanted to declare KwaZulu Natal a one-party state. Does he ever read? How many times have commentators pointed to the fact that I refused to accept nominal independence for KwaZulu? I would have become the de facto President; but I knew it was a honey-trap to divest millions of black South Africans of their citizenship.
In fact, I even took the Nationalist Government to court when it tried to portion off parts of our province to Swaziland. Thank God, I won.
For 35 years the IFP has pursued a federalist agenda. We have fought against the creation of a one-party state when the ANC so clearly sought political hegemony. Let us not forget that when the DA won the Western Cape, the ANC Youth League immediately announced a plan to make the province ungovernable, as they could not accept anything less than blanket ANC leadership across South Africa.
Even now, senior leaders of the ANC such as Mr Tokyo Sexwale and the KwaZulu Natal ANC Women's League are participating in the on-going efforts to split up and destroy the IFP, by spreading the lies that we as the IFP leadership are persecuting our National Chairperson, Ms Zanele ka Magwaza-Msibi.
The ANC's efforts to destroy the IFP as an opposition party have a long history starting prior to the dawn of our democratic era in 1994. They cannot tolerate the existence of any credible opposition party, in pursuance of hegemony and the one-party state. We have never poked our noses into any of their internal problems, such as interfering in some of the family problems of the President, something into which the Youth League - led by Mr Julius Malema - does with impunity.
The same strategy of undermining their opponents at the expense of good governance - and really at the expense of the people they claim to serve - is in our headlines again this morning. The ANC Youth League has called on young South Africans to vandalise state-owned property in Cape Town and to make the city "ungovernable". This is a call to criminality in a country where crime is one of our greatest enemies.
Knowing that Mr Malema is the ANC's mouthpiece, is it not double speak of the worst kind when the ruling Party claims to be committed to fighting crime, while calling on its members to commit crime? I am deeply concerned about the direction we are headed, not because Mr Malema says outrageous things, but because no one in the ruling Party contradicts him.
When it comes to understanding history, economics or systems of government, I cannot fault Mr Malema for having such a poor grasp on the facts. He did not have the opportunity to gain the kind of education that I was privileged to have. One cannot, for instance, expect him to be able to distinguish between federalism and a unitary state.
But his ignorance should disqualify him from making public statements on matters of substance. I am a federalist, because history and experience has convinced me of its merits. One need only look at the United States, Germany, Nigeria and India, amongst other federal states, to recognize the benefits of this system.
This is in sharp contrast to the lessons history is trying to teach Mr Malema, who has become so enamoured with nationalization, even though it has ravaged all the countries who embraced it. I have said repeatedly that this debate should never have been engaged, yet it is still on the agenda of the ANC's upcoming National General Council.
It seems South Africa's best hope for the future lies with the "factory faults"; those of us who refuse to conform to populist ideas because we have the vision to seek something better for our country.
Yours in the service of the nation,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Contact: Ms Liezl van der Merwe, 082 729 2510