Contribution of the IFP to the Debate
The Hon. Inkosi EM Buthelezi MP
Deputy President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
13 December 2022
Honourable Speaker, Honourable Members –
On the 16th of February 2018, our newly appointed President stood before us and declared that a wonderful new dawn had arrived. He instructed (and I quote) that “We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in our country’s leaders. We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us because a new dawn is upon us…”
He was clear that this new dawn was a shift away from what he soon called the nine wasted years under his predecessor; a shift away from corruption, away from abuse of power, away from unethical leadership and away from deception.
So, as news broke of the Phala Phala theft, there was only one word to describe South Africa’s response – disappointment. Dearly wanting to believe in the new dawn, some clung to the hope that the President had done nothing wrong. Thus a second wave of disappointment washed over our country last week, as the Report of the Section 89 Panel found that the President indeed has a case to answer.
The IFP has considered the Report of the Independent Panel, and we believe that it could not have come to any other conclusion based on the information before it. We therefore support the recommendations it has made.
We wish to thank our former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo and the Panel he led, for performing a very difficult task with objectivity and due care for our country. This Panel was established through Parliament to determine whether there is prime facie evidence that the President has a case to answer. The Panel has given its recommendations to Parliament. Thus Parliament should set in motion the process of an Impeachment Committee.
Regardless of whether this right course of action will be defeated by the President’s Party, and regardless of the outcome of the next process, something has been broken that cannot be fixed. South Africa’s trust in the President is irrevocably damaged.
Worse still, is that this trust was not only in the President, but in the President’s promise of a new dawn – the promise of honest leadership. Now we are left asking: is there any among them that is beyond reproach?
The temptation is to say, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. For many of us, President Ramaphosa was the only hope we had in the ANC. He stood against the faction that is fighting to impose Radical Economic Transformation at any cost – in truth, at the cost of our economy’s survival. If the President is not exonerated, we fear what will come next. Looking at the possible outcomes, it is clear that we should expect the worst.
The IFP has a deep concern for our country. It is patently clear that there are no leaders in whom we can put our trust, for what was once a glorious liberation movement has become a morass of moral corruption. I know the pain of the IFP’s Founder, who served that great liberation movement until it abandoned its founding principles.
It placed itself on a path towards a terrible destination. Tragically, that destination has been reached. Whatever becomes of this latest stain on the ruling Party, we the people have been utterly betrayed.