the best of both worlds
ON THE IFP DRAFT KWAZULU-NATAL CONSTITUTION
LIONEL MTSHALI, MPP,
LEADER OF THE IFP CAUCUS IN THE PROVINCIAL
March 4, 2005
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Unlike the ANC, we have drafted a genuine people's constitution.
Dr Lionel Mtshali, 083 256 4902