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Subject:LETTER TO THE EDITOR: By Liezl van der Merwe
Sipho Khumalo’s article titled “Rare praise for KaMagwaza-Msibi” (13 December 2011) claims that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi “heaped praise on his political arch-rival Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi” at a Local Governance Summit in Durban, but then “found it too difficult to refer to her by name”.
This is a rather bizarre assertion. Prince Buthelezi referred to Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi directly and openly when he praised her for her contributions in promoting traditional leadership in Zululand. It was clear to everyone at the summit, including KwaZulu Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, who Prince Buthelezi was referring to when he talked about the “Mayor of Zululand”. It was not necessary to explain to the audience who the Mayor of Zululand is.
Moreover, the praise Prince Buthelezi “heaped” on her constituted three lines of a twenty minute speech, the content of which Mr Khumalo completely ignores. Instead, he claims that Prince Buthelezi “found himself agreeing with Zululand District Mayor” on the role and authority of traditional leaders in local governance.
This is like saying Newton found himself agreeing with Edmond that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or Aristotle found himself agreeing with Cassander that deductive method is supreme in logic. When the student echoes the teacher, the teacher is likely to agree.
Throughout his 60 years in traditional leadership, Prince Buthelezi has championed the local governance role of Amakhosi for the sake of rural development, social justice and service delivery. He discussed these issues in his comprehensive speech at the summit. In fact, he set out in detail the broad brush strokes that Khumalo attributes to Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi.
All this really shows is the Mayor of Zululand’s continuing admiration for the values and ideas of her former leader. That is not surprising, for Prince Buthelezi is a rare kind of leader; the kind that criticizes and commends friends and foes alike, based on an honest assessment rather than a hidden agenda.
Liezl van der Merwe
Press Liaison Officer to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP