Constitutional Affairs

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Constitutional Affairs

Since 1983, the IFP has participated in the constitutional debate with very detailed policies and proposals. Since 1991, the IFP policies and proposals have been far ahead of the debate and provided leadership in all respects. The IFP policies are embodied in:

  • Its submissions at CODESA;
  • The IFP’s many proposals submitted to the Multi-Party Negotiation Process between March and July 1993;
  • The many constitutional proposals made by the IFP between August 1993 and April 1994, including those submitted to international mediation;
  • Submissions to the Constitutional Assembly;
  • The Constitution of KwaZulu-Natal, which was unanimously adopted by the provincial legislature of that Province on 15 March 1995; and
  • The innumerable public addresses, articles and essays by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on constitutional matters presented both in South Africa and abroad.

In summary, the following are the main cornerstones of the IFP’s constitutional vision.

Devolution of Power

The IFP advocates the devolution of power, based on subsidiarity, in which the provinces are established as the primary government of the people, and in which the provinces have all the powers and functions that can practically be exercised at this level. This system would encourage policy differentiation and competition amongst provinces and would be best suited to serving the needs of their citizens.

In addition, the IFP favours a justiciable divide between government and civil society, also based on the notion of subsidiarity, so as to ensure the pre-eminence of civil society over government. Civil society, including families, traditional communities, trade unions, universities and professional associations should be empowered to exercise individual autonomy and to regulate their own interests whenever there is no compelling reason for government to interfere.

Recognition of Rights

The IFP constitutional vision encompasses a comprehensive system of constitutionally entrenched social, cultural and economic pluralism, which includes the recognition of group rights, community self-determination and the application of personal law in matters related to disposable rights and interests.

Economic Issues

In terms of economic considerations, the IFP constitutional viewpoint provides a mandate for privatisation whenever the private sector can provide the same service or product with comparable reliability and efficiency to the government. In addition, the IFP also provides a mandate in respect of the autonomy of the central bank, special parliamentary majorities and the requirement for a verifiable economic justification for the adoption of a non-balanced budget.


The IFP believes in a system that ensures maximum deregulation at any given time, and which directly empowers civil society to challenge any regulation, not merely on legal grounds but also on value grounds, thus shifting the burden on government to justify its intervention and regulation. Furthermore, there should be a requirement that all property and assets owned by government be linked to an identifiable function or purpose. Otherwise the asset should be disposed of, and the proceeds used to repay public (State) debt.

Bill of Rights

The IFP believes in the need for a strong Bill of Rights without any of the current loopholes, especially in respect of the limitation clause, which ought to be strengthened by inserting the additional requirement of necessity.

System of Government

The parliamentary form of government should provide for the separate positions of Head of State and the Head of Government. Political minorities should receive constitutional protection in Parliament. A German type mixed constituency and PR electoral system, with corrections to an overall PR outcome, is favoured.

Referenda, Plebiscites and Petitions

Youth priorities

The Constitution should entrench the right to referenda, plebiscites and petitions, both at national and at provincial levels.

Local Government Autonomy

The Constitution should entrench the autonomy of local government.

Traditional Leaders

The IFP strongly believes in the recognition of the autonomy of traditional communities, and the protection of traditional leadership within the overall system of pluralism.