As the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP recently raised concerns over the behaviour of the ANC Government towards the Zulu monarchy.
We noted that they have tabled proposals in the Rules’ Committee of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature to scrap the guard of honour which salutes the King, and to scrap the day set aside for the King to address the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature. We further raised concerns over the withdrawal of the King’s security, the disbanding of the Royal Household Department, and the reduction of resources made available to the Zulu monarch.
In a scathing diatribe the following day, the Premier and the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal launched an attack on the IFP, with the most unseemly name-calling and bluster. What they did not do, however, was respond to any of the substantive issues.
They neither denied nor explained their behaviour towards the Zulu monarch. This leaves the issues firmly on the table, with our original question still unanswered: Why is the ANC hellbent on alienating the Zulu King?
This is not the first time the IFP is raising questions about the treatment meted out to the Zulu monarch. Twenty-seven years ago we withdrew from participation in the 1994 elections on the basis of the ANC’s bad faith negotiations on the issue of the Zulu monarch. In fact, while everyone was free to come to the negotiating table to hammer out our democratic dispensation, the King himself was barred.
It was only on 19 April 1994, just eight days before the elections, that the ANC made a solemn promise to deal with the issue of the monarchy after elections, through international mediation. That agreement, signed by Mr Mandela, President de Klerk and Prince Buthelezi, was the basis on which the IFP agreed to participate in the 1994 elections.
But the ANC reneged on that promise and never fulfilled their written commitment. We pointed this out recently, when speaking about the history of their behaviour towards the monarch. But that too elicited no denial or explanation from the Premier, beyond calling the IFP “a political party which has run out of currency and is desperately looking to… buttress its waning and flaccid political fortunes.”
Evidently the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal still believes that the best defence is attack. Ignore the issues, ignore the facts, and just attack.
The reality is that the IFP is the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal. We are the ANC’s biggest competition, and by-election after by-election has proven the fact that the IFP is growing, while support for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is on a rapid decline.
That, however, is not the point. The point is that they have not answered the question of why they are undermining the Zulu monarch. This is not about the present King, but about the institution of the monarchy. It is about the office of the King, for it is that office that the ANC Government in KwaZulu-Natal is trying to erode.
The IFP has raised issues of governance, yet the KwaZulu-Natal Government has dodged the issues with a political attack.
We could ask more questions, like why the commitment of the Ad hoc Cabinet Committee led by then Deputy President Zuma was never fulfilled. A promise was made to amend Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution to protect the role, powers and functions of traditional leaders. On the basis of that promise, Amakhosi led their people to participate in the first Local Government Elections.
Now we stand on the eve of South Africa’s fifth Local Government Elections, and the ANC’s promise has still not been fulfilled. Moreover the role, powers and functions of traditional leaders have never been enshrined in a single piece of legislation, twenty-seven years into democracy.
The IFP has championed this issue for years. We have not suddenly decided to speak up for the monarchy because we think it will gain political mileage. This is not about politics. It’s about being accountable for governance decisions that will affect the dignity of millions of people.
The IFP would like to place on record that we have no quarrel with the national leadership of the ANC. In places outside of KwaZulu-Natal, such as in Gauteng, we have constructive working relations with the ANC to provide good governance. Yet since before democracy it has always been the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal specifically that has ruined talks of reconciliation and driven a wedge between our parties.
It is a matter of historical record that in 1999 President Mbeki offered Prince Buthelezi the position of Deputy President of South Africa. The President’s intention was to continue reconciliation within our country. But the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal torpedoed that offer, demanding that the IFP relinquish the premiership of KwaZulu-Natal, despite the fact that the electorate had rejected their leadership. The IFP refused to manipulate democracy.
It was likewise the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal who prevented Mr Mandela from meeting with Prince Buthelezi upon his release from prison. Mr Mandela had expressed his wish, in writing, to meet with Prince Buthelezi as soon as possible to address the ongoing violence. Yet when traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape asked Mr Mandela why he had not yet met with Prince Buthelezi, he told them that the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal had almost throttled him. They had ordered him not to fulfil his commitment.
They did this again when Mr Mandela and Prince Buthelezi finally met on the 29th of January 1991, and committed in writing to address joint rallies from that point onwards to signify their intention for peace to prevail. At the first opportunity, when a rally was scheduled for Taylor’s Halt, a busload of ANC leaders from KwaZulu-Natal, led by Mr Harry Gwala, descended on Shell House, demanding that Mandela renege on his commitment.
Indeed one commitment after another has been broken, and they all lead back to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. They have a great deal to answer for when it comes to attempts to derail reconciliation.
It is simply embarrassing for them to say that the IFP has “run out of currency”. We have a track record of absolute integrity. In all the years that we administered the KwaZulu Government, not a single allegation of corruption was ever levelled against our administration. In the ten years we governed KwaZulu-Natal, there were no corruption scandals. We do not need to use the Royal House to advance our fortunes. We have our clean record for that.
In stark contrast, the ANC has given KwaZulu-Natal Mike Mabuyakhulu and Zandile Gumede, both of whom are facing allegations of corruption.
The Provincial ANC cannot win in a contest of leadership with the IFP. But it would do well to at least respond to the actual issues, if it has any respect for the people.
Clearly the IFP’s strength is really upsetting that ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. They have blocked our campaign vehicles, hurling threats and expletives at our leadership. We are proud of our supporters for enduring their tirades with patience and calm. Nevertheless, the KZN ANC’s actions are in sharp contrast to the pledge they took this past week to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct. No doubt they are fuming because, in every single ward we are contesting on November 1st, the IFP will be number one on the ballot paper.
It was the luck of the draw. But as they say, life imitates art.
On the day of the IFP’s manifesto launch, the KZN ANC bussed in a rowdy group to protest outside as the Mayor of Zululand engaged investors and businesspeople to boost the local economy. Why people would protest investment in their own community is nonsensical – unless of course they are incentivised.
So it came as no surprise when the KZN ANC immediately issued a press statement pointing to these “impoverished” “concerned citizens” (who had somehow hired busses) as evidence of “corruption and abuse of resources” in the IFP-led Municipality of Zululand.
Do they really think so little of the electorate’s intelligence? While the IFP’s municipalities are winning awards, under the ruling Party R26 billion has been lost to irregular expenditure at local level. A staged protest will not hide the facts revealed by the Auditor General.
It was rather amusing when the “protestors” began to show a bit of initiative and spoke about approaching the courts. The KZN ANC quickly shut them down, reminding them to just stick to the script about voting.
On a more serious note, the ANC in KZN has tried to sully the legacy of IFP Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, repeatedly claiming that he has participated in “despicable acts of corruption and fraud”. This is absolute slander, and they know it.
Prince Buthelezi’s legacy is the most powerful asset of the IFP. It is why the people trust us. And it’s what frustrates our opponents the most, because they cannot obliterate it.
No matter how many times they refer to the erstwhile KwaZulu as a “Bantustan”, they cannot change the fact that KwaZulu never became a Bantustan. Unlike the TBVC States of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei, KwaZulu never took independence from South Africa. Prince Buthelezi rejected the Bantustan system and aborted it through his consistent refusal of independence for KwaZulu.
This was attested to by former President de Klerk before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He admitted that it was Prince Buthelezi’s stand that had derailed their entire scheme of creating Bantustans to excise the black majority from South Africa. Because of Prince Buthelezi, millions of black South Africans retained our citizenship. Because of him, we had a country to inherit.
Under his leadership, South Africa received the first non-racial, non-discriminatory government; the KwaZulu Natal Legislative Assembly. It was the blueprint, years later at the negotiating table, when our democratic government was designed.
To prop up the blatant lie that KwaZulu was a Bantustan, the ANC moved the entire provincial legislature from Ulundi to Pietermartizburg when it took control of KwaZulu-Natal. They claimed they couldn’t administer governance from “bantustan” buildings, so they rented colonial buildings instead as enormous cost to the taxpayer. For the sake of sustaining a lie, they saddled KwaZulu-Natal with unnecessary debt.
Hitler’s Chief Propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, said a lie repeated often enough becomes accepted as fact. The ANC KZN may be consummate propagandists, but the IFP prefers to deal in the truth.