It is with concern that the IFP has seen a media advisory issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Government today indicating that the KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, will host the unveiling of a Wall of Remembrance in Pietermaritzburg tomorrow, 12 March 2022. According to the advisory, this ceremony will honour “some of the struggle stalwarts… and those who perished during the notorious Seven Days War” which was part of the black-on-black political violence in 1990.
Attended by the Premier, the MEC for Arts and Culture and the Mayor of Umsunduzi, this is a Government-sponsored and Government-led event. However, no Members of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature have been invited or informed.
Moreover, while the focus will be on the political violence of the past, which raged between supporters of the ANC and supporters of Inkatha, there has been no invitation to the Leader of the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal nor to any IFP leader.
The black-on-black violence that took place in the 1980s and 1990s claimed victims from both sides: ANC and IFP. Accordingly, throughout talks on reconciliation between the ANC and IFP in the three-a-side, five-a-side, and ten-a-side Committees, it has always been emphasised that any commemoration of victims of violence or heroes of the liberation struggle should be balanced, and include victims and heroes from both sides.
It therefore surprises us that the ANC-led government of KZN and the ANC-led Umsunduzi Municipality have jointly planned a ceremony in remembrance of the political violence, without any involvement of the IFP – at any level.
The rogue behaviour of the KZN ANC remains a serious concern for the IFP, especially of late, under the leadership of Mr Zikalala. In its present format, with the deliberate exclusion of the IFP, this event will do little to heal the wounds of the past. Indeed, it will cause further divisions.
We want the people of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the IFP in Umgungundlovu to know that the IFP was not informed of, nor invited to, this ceremony. We were not consulted, we were not part of the planning, and we have not been asked to participate in any way.
While we applaud the initiative to honour stalwarts of the liberation struggle, it is grossly inappropriate to ignore some stalwarts while honouring others for the sake of perpetuating a skewed historical narrative. It would, moreover, be an abuse of taxpayers’ money if this event were used simply to promote the ANC’s version of history to score a political point against the IFP.
Finally, the IFP finds it very unfortunate that Mr Zikalala has selected 12 March 2022 for this event. This day marks the first anniversary of the departure of the late King, His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. Even if Mr Zikalala was not going to pay tribute to the late King, it would have been more appropriate for him to stay home as a sign of respect for the late King.
Hon. Velenkosini F Hlabisa MPL
Leader of the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal and President of the IFP
082 873 3685