MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE
INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

 

Offering the best of both worlds

ARTICLE ON THE IFP DRAFT KWAZULU-NATAL CONSTITUTION

THE MERCURY

BY LIONEL MTSHALI, MPP,

LEADER OF THE IFP CAUCUS IN THE PROVINCIAL KWAZULU-NATAL PARLIAMENT

March 4, 2005

Along with economic power, the IFP draft KZN constitution redistributes political power across the province and its political spectrum, writes Lionel Mtshali.

The IFP's draft KwaZulu-Natal constitution does not stem from a formal obligation to supply a provincial constitution provided for in the 1996 constitution of South Africa.

Our draft essentially captures and makes legal provision for what is unique and peculiar about KwaZulu-Natal from a historical, cultural, social and economic perspective.

It places the Zulu cultural identity, forged in the 1820s, and all other provincial identities, forged at different times, at its forefront.

Our traditional institutions have survived the ravages of colonialism and apartheid. It is doubtful whether they would survive the onslaught of perceived modernity without a constitution to safeguard them.

The IFP has always maintained that tradition and democracy are not mutually exclusive but complementary.

Our draft constitution is a formidable attempt to offer the best of both worlds for the benefit of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

Most importantly, our draft constitution seeks wide consensus. We do not deny diversity. We embrace it. Not only does our draft accommodate social, cultural, linguistic and economic diversity within our province, it also incorporates, while expanding and improving on, a large portion of the ANC draft constitution introduced by the premier in his Constitutional Bill.


Empowers

By making the best of our status as an autonomous province of South Africa, we elevate the identity of the people of KwaZulu-Natal above an illusory pan-South African identity that may only exist in the minds of ANC ideologues and the ruling party's provincial functionaries.

In matters such as the Code of Conduct, we naturally call for uniquely provincial, rather than nationally imposed, measures.

We go even further. Our draft essentially empowers KwaZulu-Natal.

It brings the national government closer to our people by creating special entitlement to provincial services and by promoting economic growth and the protection of people as consumers.

By way of special protection, our draft makes sweeping provisions for children, especially those orphaned by HIV/Aids, and the disabled.

Through a Bill of Rights and the Privatisation Commission, our draft promotes Black Economic Empowerment, while requiring it to
be the genuine empowerment of many rather than the enrichment of an elite, well-connected few.

Along with economic power, the IFP draft redistributes political power across the province and its political spectrum in a truly revolutionary fashion.

In this, we have drawn on the experience of co-existing with the ANC in a creeping one-party state and our draft constitution, therefore, bolsters the notion of separation of powers between the provincial executive and KwaZulu-Natal parliament.

Firstly, our draft reshapes provincial government by shifting the weight of the executive power from the premier to the cabinet as a collegial body. Ultimately, it provides for co-operative governance within the province by promoting the co-operation between traditional leaders and municipalities on an equitable footing.

Secondly, the IFP draft re-establishes the centrality of the existing parliament and, by reconciling democratic institutions with tradition, it introduces a legislature consisting of two chambers, one of which is appointed by municipal councils, traditional leaders, universities, art and cultural groups, trade unions, and interest groups.


Consequences

In tune with the idea of equal distribution of power, our draft constitution places the ordinary seat of one house of parliament in Ulundi, the second in Pietermaritzburg and the cabinet in Durban.

With far-reaching consequences for democratic accountability, the IFP draft prohibits elected members of the legislature from crossing the floor.

The recent steps taken by the provincial government towards dismantling the House of Traditional Leaders have vindicated the IFP's concerns about the future of the traditional institutions.

The amakhosi, it would appear, have been all but earmarked for ultimate oblivion. To the Zulu monarchy, similarly, the ANC draft constitution pays insufficient attention.

The IFP draft, therefore, expands and improves upon the provisions for a Zulu monarch in the Constitutional Bill introduced by the premier in line with the body of ancient customs and conventions.

On a related note, our draft makes provision for the traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch.

In all this, the IFP has looked further than the ANC's political expediency.

We have proved considerably more progressive than the self-styled progressives in the ruling party in safeguarding the status, the rights and the privileges of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

Unlike the ANC, we have drafted a genuine people's constitution.

Contact: Dr Lionel Mtshali, 083 256 4902