HOSTED BY MR AK LOCKHAT
AHEAD OF THE 2019 NATIONAL AND PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Crescent Hall, Parlock: 28 April 2019
It is wonderful to have the opportunity to speak to leaders in the Indian community. I want to thank Mr AK Lockhat for organising this meeting, so that we can discuss the coming elections and what they mean for our families, our communities and our country.
Let me begin by saying how deeply I appreciate my friendship with the Lockhat family. We have known each other for several decades and I have always admired the philanthropic generosity of this family.
In the toughest times of apartheid the Lockhat brothers, through the Lockhat Family Trust, did tremendous work, building classrooms, teaching skills and uplifting communities. I am proud to have worked hand in hand with such committed patriots. The Lockhats did not just theorise about social cohesion in the darkest days of the apartheid era. They lived it.
This family, like so many Indian families, is making a difference in society. They are serving not just the Indian community, but all South Africans. I have met Indians from all walks of life and I have always been struck by the sense of social responsibility that exists in this community. I value not only the friendships I have with Indians, but the incredible contribution that Indians are making in all fields, from law to medicine to the arts, academia and business.
Friendship is easy to express in the good times. But true friends emerge in the dark valleys. When my wife passed away last month, I was humbled by the outpouring of support from the Indian community. I received letters of condolence from the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, from the Jumma Musjid – the Grey Street Mosque – and the Islamic Burial Council, from the Consul General of India, from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, from Mrs Zuleikha Mayat and the Women’s Cultural Group, from Dr Devi Rajab, Dr Yagambararam, the Honourable Ela Gandhi, Mr Mahmoud Rajab, Pastor Ivan Naidoo of the Abundant Life Centre, Professor Hoosen Vawda, Mr Roy Hunsraj, the South African Hindu Youth Movement, the South African Muslim Network, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Dr Vasu Gounden; the list goes on and on. Every letter was a balm to my soul.
I wish also to mention that Indian philanthropist by the name of Mr Vivian Reddy. And this is not even to mention my comrades in the IFP, who came from the Indian family, such as the Honourable Mr Narend Singh, and Pastor Tim Moodley who prayed for my wife in the two hospitals in which she was hospitalised. I received wonderful support from people like Logan Reddy, Prem Ayer, Steven Moodley, Hassan Motala, and his relative Mr Motala in Stanger, the late Advocate Bawa and the Laganparsad family.
When it comes to the Laganparsad family, I must confide that my late wife and my late mother, Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu, shared a favourite food. For years Mrs Asothi Govender cooked biryani for them and sent it through her daughter Mrs Maggie Laganparsad. When Mrs Govender passed away, her daughter Mrs Maggie Laganparsad continued to prepare this favourite item of diet for my late wife.
With the many life-long friendships I have with Indians, I was not surprised when Mr Essop Pahad called me an Indo-Zulu. But I was honoured.
For decades people have referred to me by that title. It pains me therefore to see divisions in our society, and particularly to see some politicians stirring up racial tensions for the sake of political gains. To me, social cohesion is the most fundamental building block for the country we want to create.
This quest for unity underpins all we have struggled for, for so many years. I have lived through the worst of apartheid and I have given my contribution to nation-building and social cohesion. I have learned through experience that in all our diversity, we have only one destiny. We will swim, or sink, together.
I remember being inspired as a young man by the passionate speeches of leaders of the Indian Congress, like Dr Monty Naicker, Ismail Meer, Debbie Singh and Dr Yusuf Dadoo. They often shared a podium with ANC leaders like Masabalala B. Yengwa and Inkosi Albert Luthuli at the rallies in Nichols Square. I attended many of those rallies and stood side by side with Indian activists like Fatima Meer, Manilal Gandhi and Dr Goonam, all of whom were my friends.
It was these same friends, and the Poovalingan and Mayat families, who opened their homes to my wife and I when I was installed as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan. Hotels in Durban were strictly for Whites Only. Except for the hospitality of our friends, we could not have stayed overnight in Durban. We were determined to maintain unity, no matter how much apartheid sought to divide us.
When the apartheid regime passed the Improper Interference Act forbidding interracial politics, we responded with the Black Alliance. It included Inkatha, the Reform Party led by Mr Yellan Chinsamy, the Coloured Labour Party, the Inyandza Movement and the Dikwakwentla Party from the Free State. The regime’s introduction of the Tricameral Parliament was meant to break the Black Alliance. But Mr Chinsamy’s Reform Party continued to work with Inkatha.
As Chief Minister of KwaZulu, I was blessed by a close friendship with Sri Swamiji Sahajananda of the Divine Life Society. With his assistance we built thousands of classrooms for African children. There were several initiatives from the Indian community to assist African children, including, as I mentioned, the Lockhat Trust, as well as the Indian Education Committee and the Natal Committee, which helped finance classrooms and build schools.
This legacy of service and philanthropy still flourishes. Living closely with all our communities, I know that there are thousands of black people who would not be able to put food on the table, but for their jobs with Indian employers.
Of course, like you, I have heard some people complain about employers with racist attitudes. But that can be said of any race group. It is very unfair to tar everyone with the same brush. There are black employers who treat their workers well, but then there are also those who treat their own people as though they were sub-human. We cannot judge each other by the actions of a few.
Where an attitude of racism does exist there is, quite tragically, an historical context. I am sure you will know that in January 1949, an anti-Indian riot claimed 142 lives and created some 40 000 Indian refugees. It was bloody, brutal and devastating, and it came at the hands of Black South Africans. The scars remain in many Indian families.
Both black and Indian leaders have worked for years to heal that wound and to restore unity. Sadly, Professor Meer passed away before we achieved our shared vision for an Indo-African Institute in KwaZulu Natal.
Pain born from the past is difficult to undo. I remember the bitterness that welled up in the breast of Afrikaners over the concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer War. It persisted for generations after the war.
In the end, it falls to us to heal the wounds of the past. So when recriminations were levelled against the Mahatma Gandhi a few years ago, I pointed out that he was human, like the rest of us, but that nothing can erase the legacy he bequeathed on us of non-violent resistance and Satyagraha.
I was humbled to deliver one of the Gandhi Memorial Lectures at the Gandhi Phoenix Settlement, and to participate in the re-enactment on Pietermaritzburg station of the racial incident in 1893 that convinced Gandhi to stay in South Africa and work for social justice. It was wonderful to join Ms Ela Gandhi, the grand-daughter of the Mahatma, at a commemorative dinner with the Minister of External Affairs of the Government of India and the Indian High Commissioner.
Gandhi’s legacy is complimented by the contributions of countless Indian women and men who are shaping our country for good. In particular, I applaud the many Indians who are participating in predominantly black political parties, including the IFP; for your contribution is as relevant as my own. We are one people, whether some like it or not, and we share a common destiny.
It makes sense then for us to walk together. The road we are walking right now leads to a national and provincial election. Ten days from now South African voters in all our communities will go to the polls to elect a new leadership. The party you choose to administer governance will carry your voice and represent your interests. They will decide your future, and make decisions on your behalf for the next five years.
Five years is a long time. Look at the damage wrought to our economy in five years; the number of jobless graduates; the number of service delivery protests; the burgeoning of inflation. In five years, a government can transform this country, whether for good or bad.
It matters therefore who is elected on the 8th of May. It matters that you vote, and it matters who you vote for. I know that the Indian community has not been well served by the political representatives to whom you gave your mandate in the past. The ruling party has failed us all, but there are even opposition parties who are not living up to their responsibilities or their promises.
Is it not time to press mute on the loud voices scrambling for your vote, and serenely consider who is most likely to serve your needs? The best way to predict who will be honest with you in the years ahead is to remember who was honest with you in the past. If promises were made, and then broken, why trust the promise-makers? There is only one party who has maintained integrity, consistently serving in partnership, with transparency and full accountability. That party is the IFP.
I have no qualms in putting the IFP forward as the party you can trust, because I know the extreme care we take to maintain integrity. The IFP would rather tell you that something is going to take long, or be difficult, than sell you pie in the sky promises. But when we say we’re going to do something, we will not stop until it is done. Fortunately, we have vast experience in governance. We know how to do a lot with very little, and we know how to administer a lot without losing a cent to corruption.
Wherever I go I remind people that the IFP governed this province for 10 years, and that never once was an allegation of corruption raised against any of our three Premiers; Dr Frank Mdlalose, Dr Ben Ngubane and Dr Lionel Mtshali, or any of our MECs. The IFP brought that legacy of clean governance with us into democracy, because in 19 years of administering the KwaZulu Government, not a single allegation of corruption was ever levelled against my administration.
That is the way it should be. But it is such a far cry from what this province endures today, under the ruling party, that it’s worth talking about. And it’s not just KwaZulu Natal. Our entire country is suffering under the corruption of the ruling party. How much more evidence do we need? The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Bosasa, VBS, the PIC, the Guptas, and now Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book, “Gangster State” that exposes the Secretary General of the ANC.
The rot is at the top, and we know that the fish rots from the head. It would be madness to place power into the hands of these people again on the 8th of May.
There is one thing South Africa desperately needs, and that is to restore integrity to governance. If we want to save South Africa, we need to remove what is rotten. We need to give our mandate to a leadership that can clear the decks, and navigate us back to safe waters. The IFP is able. We are ready. We are willing. Give us your mandate, and we’ll turn this country around. Because where there is honesty and integrity, justice follows.
The IFP wants social justice and economic justice for all South Africans. We want a fair deal for you. That means fixing our economy, getting tough on criminals, placing social cohesion back at the centre, driving responsible land reform, getting our healthcare and welfare system working properly, securing a high standard of education for every child, building a dignified home for every family, making gender equality a reality, and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources so that we don’t run out of water or energy in our lifetimes, or in the lifetimes of our children.
These are key priorities, but somehow they are not being prioritised. The IFP is determined to correct the agenda, to put what matters back in the political spotlight. I want to encourage you to take a copy of the IFP’s manifesto. Read it. Think about it. And talk about it with your friends and family. If you have any questions, ask us. Connect with us online or give us a call. We want you to know what the IFP stands for and what we are doing for you.
I treasure the long partnership between the IFP and the Indian community. It is time to unleash the power of that partnership, to save South Africa. This is our country. These are our people. We cannot leave them floundering in crisis. Let’s lead the way out of these troubled waters by setting an example in KwaZulu Natal. This province has been at the forefront before, leading the way. Let’s do it again. Let’s make this a victory for integrity.
I thank you.
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