Letter to the Editor
To The Jewish Press
Via email: [email protected]
In an article published on 17 August 2012, The Jewish Press notes that His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini has accepted an invitation to visit Israel, despite the South African Government’s policy of discouraging its citizens from traveling to Israel, as a form of protest.
The King’s official visit will explore greater cooperation between the State of Israel and the Zulu Nation in particular. It is therefore pertinent that the article mentions Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP who, aside from being the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party, is also the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu monarch and the Zulu nation.
However the reference to Prince Buthelezi in the article is misleading. It does not mention his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nor his support for a negotiated settlement, nor his recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state, nor his promotion of a two-state solution. It does not mention that he marched in support of Israel in June, or that Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Dov Segev-Steinberg, wrote him a personal letter of appreciation.
Instead the article simply says that Prince Buthelezi walked out of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) “in protest of a lack of clarity on the need to unseat the king and his six wives”. That is both untrue and misleading.
The contention over the status of the Zulu monarch which arose during CODESA was sparked by Prince Buthelezi making the recognition of the Zulu monarch a non-negotiable priority in the creation of a democratic dispensation. Indeed, Prince Buthelezi never went to CODESA or the World Trade Centre, because the ANC and the National Party would not allow the Zulu King to have his own representative there.
When the constitutional process failed to entrench a federal outcome, which would have enabled KwaZulu Natal to recognize and protect the Zulu Monarchy, Prince Buthelezi refused to participate in the April 1994 democratic elections. He did this for the sake of the Zulu nation, despite the fact that it would have taken him into political oblivion.
He only agreed to participate in the electoral process on the 19th of April 1994, when a formal agreement was signed by Nelson Mandela, State President F.W. de Klerk and Buthelezi to resume international mediation “immediately after elections”. Such mediation would determine the measure of autonomy of KwaZulu Natal and the other provinces, which would have defined the scope of the provincial constitution in respect of the monarchy. But that agreement was never honoured.
Prince Buthelezi has risked a great deal to stand in support of the Zulu monarchy, just as he has to stand in support of Israel when his country’s Government so clearly stands in support of Palestine. As another leader who continues to defy South Africa’s rulers when South Africa’s rulers are wrong, Prince Buthelezi supports his King’s visit to Israel.
LIEZL VAN DER MERWE MP
PRESS OFFICER TO PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP