Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Monarch and Nation
KwaGolela: Mtunzini District
The Directors of Programmes; the Church Leaders present; the widows and children of our deceased Traditional Leader, and the Mzimela family and the representative of His Majesty the King, and members of the Royal Family present, His Excellency the President of the Republic of South Africa, members of the Traditional Council, Honourable National Ministers present, the Honourable Premier of the Province, Honourable MECs, the Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders and Traditional Leaders from other Provinces, Amakhosi of the Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal, Senior Officials of government, Honourable Mayors present, Izinduna, Councillors, fellow mourners present.
As I rise to pay tribute to this great son of South Africa, I feel numb for it is still difficult for me to accept that he is no more.
There have been close ties between me and my family and the late Inkosi and his family for generations.It is well known that all of us who are descendants of King Dinuzulu ka Cetshwayo are related to the Mzimela family.KingDinuzulu was the son of Nomvimbi Mzimela. A daughter of this family.Then the Inkosi’s grandfather Inkosi Ntshidi Mzimela and my late father Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi were very close friends.And the late father of Inkosi, Inkosi Lindelihle Mzimela and I walked a long road together in the service of the people of both King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon and the present King of the Zulu Nation.
Inkosi Lindelihle Mzimela served as a member of the KwaZulu Legislature under the erstwhile KwaZulu government. We were together in the service of the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the people of South Africa for several decades.
So Inkosi Mpiyezintombi Mzimela was a colleague with whom I have walked a long and difficult path.But above everything else, he was like a son to me, and he and my eldest son Ntuthukoyezwe had a difficult time at the University of Zululand when I was Chancellor of the University for 21 years through the actions of those who used some students in an effort to humiliate me.
The road that Inkosi Mzimela has walked with us has not been an easy one to travel. He was the first Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders. In that capacity he did his utmost to help to resolve the issue of the obliteration of the powers and functions of Traditional Leaders in the republic of South Africa. During that time I was the Provincial Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders and Inkosi Mzimela was my Deputy.
Because of the time factor, I will not give details of all the efforts that the two of us made in an effort to persuade the national government and the provincial government to implement a solemn agreement that was made on the 30th of December 2000 on the eve of local government elections. The colonial governments and the apartheid regime made many false promises to our people by not honouring many solemn agreements they made with our forebears. We do not expect that from our own black government.
President Thabo Mbeki and Cabinet set up a Committee to go into the issue of what needed to be done in order to avoid the obliteration of powers and functions of Traditional Leaders as a result of the powers and functions by municipalities over the whole territory of South Africa.A formal agreement was entered into in terms of which Traditional Leaders undertook not to boycott the local government elections in consideration of the formal promise received by thatCommittee set up by His Excellency President Thabo Mbeki which consisted of National Ministers, Senior Counsels and Traditional Leaders.
It was chaired by our then Deputy President His Excellency Mr J G Zuma, now our Head of State. A formal promise was made on that day that Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution would be amended to ensure that the powers and functions of Traditional Leaders would not be obliterated by the implementation of the Municipal Structures Act and other municipal legislation. Traditional Leaders then supported the elections. The present position is that only 20 percent of Amakhosi may attend Municipal Council meetings and none of them may vote.
I recall that in 2012 there was a meeting to which we were invited by the MEC of COGTA in Durban, to work out on how we as Amakhosi may cooperate with municipalities in terms of Section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act. At the end of the meeting, the MEC for local government the Honourable Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube, spoke to us as if the agreement had been reached that provisions of Section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act were acceptable to us. We were flummoxed. And the late Inkosi Mpiyezintombi Mzimela and I got up to express the view that we had not agreed to comply with the provisions of Section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act at that meeting. No other Inkosi contradicted us.
However, divide and rule has been successfully used to create cleavages within the institution of Ubukhosi in the Province, I am sad to say.
I know that Inkosi has died when he was still committed like myself to ensure that our government is persuaded to do what is right and fair to Ubukhosi, and Amakhosi which is far from being the case. As long as Amakhosi are not part of governance at local level, there can be no justice to our institution. As long as the national government does not finance traditional structures with any budgets, we, that is the government and Amakhosi are bluffing each other. And how long must this go on?
Inkosi Albert Luthuli, my mentor taught me to obey my conscience whatever consequences this may have for me. Inkosi Albert Luthuli taught us how any Inkosi should behave in exercising servant leadership. Inkosi Albert Luthuli taught us that to be a good servant of the people means that one does not become a lackey of the powers that be, whatever it may cost us. Our Kings and other Traditional Leaders paid a great price for our freedom. Here in the Kingdom, King Cetshwayo, our present King’s great great grandfather, my maternal grandfather, fought a war against the then mightiest nation in the world, the British in 1879.My paternal great grandfather Mnyamana led the King’s Regiments in that war. King Dinuzulu, the great grandfather of the King, my grandfather, who was a descendant of this Mzimela family suffered for our cause. He was not only exiled on the island of St Helena with his uncles, but was later charged with Treason because of the fact that he gave sanctuary to Inkosi Bhambatha Zondi’s wife uMa-Zuma, Siyekiwe and Kholekile, their daughter at Osuthu and that implicated King Dinuzulu in that rebellion. He died in exile at Uitkyk farm in Middleburg in 1913.King Mampuru of the Pedi was hanged. My own paternal grandfather Mkhandumba Buthelezi, a veteran of the Anglo-Zulu war was hanged for murder in which there was no corpus delicti. Inkosi Albert Luthuli, the then President General of the African National Congress was banned and deposed for his convictions. He died under very suspicious circumstances.
How can we forget these sacrifices of our Kings and other Traditional Leaders?
Inkosi Mzimela adhered to these teachings of our leader Inkosi Albert Mvumbi Luthuli to the end of his life. Today I am honoured to be amongst those who are paying tribute to this great son of the long line of brave Mzimela leaders. He led the National House of Traditional Leaders with great distinction. He and I had to go the High Court when the Provincial Government tried to oust us from our positions in spite of the fact that we were duly elected by our peers in the positions that we held as Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders which I held, and Deputy Chairperson of the Provincial Housewhich Inkosi Mzimela had. We deserve better treatment than we are getting from our own black government.
Inkosi Mzimela was a proud Zulu who believed in upholding the customs and traditions of his people which is the first duty of any Inkosi who is worth his salt. He was a loyal subject of the Zulu Monarch and followed in the footsteps of his forebears, in serving our present King with dedication and loyalty.
Before I sit down to the great relief of some, may I also thank Inkosi for not being blinded by blandishments that blind so many of our peers, when it came to his commitment also to my Party, Inkatha Freedom Party. We were both misunderstood when we dealt with matters of traditional leadership. We did not mix these with political party matters. However, we had at all times to counter vigorous efforts to misinterpret our motives by some, when what we did had absolutely nothing to do with political party matters.
We thank God for giving us a son like this at such a crucial time. We are saddened by the fact that he should depart this life before completing his mission in life. My great sadness today is that as my son, I was hoping that he would bury me instead of the other way round.
The death of this hero of the people reminds us of the words of Longfellow when he said; “Lives of great men remind us we can make our own lives sublime and dying leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.”
MNGUNI! LULWANDLE KALUWELWA LUWELWA ZINKONJANE ZONEZINDIZA PHEZULU!
IFP Media, Parliament