Letter to the Editor
The City Press
Via email: [email protected]
Paddy Harper’s admiration for Ms Zanele KaMagwa-Msibi and his aversion towards the IFP are well-known. Mr Harper’s three articles spread over one full page of the City Press (Sunday: 08 April 2012) bear testimony.
In the lead article “Geriatric terrorists take on municipality” Mr Harper quotes Mr Doug Grewar who claims that all of Vryheid’s woes are due to the fact that the IFP ran the town for 18 years as “a one-party state” and “would not even talk to” the Vryheid Ratepayers’ Association.
Mr Grewar is mistaken both in fact and terminology. The IFP administered Vryheid by means of a popular mandate, democratically, and always in consultation with the people of Vryheid. The former Mayor, Mr George Dlamini, met with the Ratepayers’ Association on numerous occasions. Every last cent of the municipality’s R18m maintenance budget was directed towards infrastructure.
On the contrary, the people of Vryheid now have a local government for which they did not vote. The ANC/NFP coalition was the only way for the IFP’s political rivals to wrest control of Vryheid from the IFP. For the sake of gaining power, they ignored the thousands of voters who called for an IFP-led municipality. They have exposed their undemocratic tendencies.
Yet, Mr Harper’s next two articles are unashamed endorsements of Ms KaMagwa-Msibi. He claims there is “a desperate energy as contractors play catch-up to provide water to nearly 145 000”. The suggestion is that the previous IFP administration failed the people of Zululand. But Mr Harper neglects to mention that “the new mayor”, Ms kaMagwa-Msibi, was also the old mayor. So any failure in the past is her failure too.
To disparage the IFP, Mr Harper reinvents the reason for Ms KaMagwaza-Msibi’s removal as Mayor of Zululand, claiming “her former political bosses” axed her “for wanting to stand against IFP President Mangosuthu Buthelezi”. This is nonsense. Ms Magwaza-Msibi abandoned the IFP, not the other way around.
In the political arena, we expect slings and arrows. But bouquets are often unfairly withheld. The IFP has contributed a great deal to the development of KwaZulu Natal and continues to work passionately towards the advancement and prosperity of its people. But these facts are conveniently ignored, proving once again that the IFP’s detractors suffer from “PSA” – Politically Selective Amnesia.
Liezl van der Merwe
Press Officer to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Parliament, Cape Town