Iniquitous to Compare Erstwhile KwaZulu Government
with the Post-Apartheid ANC Government

04 June 2013     


During today's budget debate (04 June) on his Department of Economic Development and Tourism, ANC MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu accused Inkatha Freedom Party of having failed to improve the lives of the people of then KwaZulu which it controlled prior to the democratic order. In this accusation, Mabuyakhulu was merely rehashing a favourite chorus of some ANC Members of the KwaZulu-Natal Cabinet who have used a number of platforms to attack the IFP for "having done nothing to improve the lives of the people of KwaZulu in almost two decades of its rule in the then KwaZulu."


I believe therefore that it is time we examined these attacks to see whether there is any historical substance in them. In so doing, I shall look at Inkatha's conduct between 1975 and 1994 - when it was in charge of then KwaZulu Government - against the context of the mandates given to its President, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.


Blocking the Excision of KwaZulu

History knows that the homeland system came into existence as part of the National Party's oppressive apartheid policy that was responsible for terrible sufferings that befell all whose skin was not white; the same policy which the United Nations condemned as a crime against humanity.

Further, apartheid ensured that black people were systematically removed from any fertile pieces of land and dumped in barren and undeveloped 'reserves' or homelands, where the best they could hope for was to struggle for survival. The ultimate goal of that policy was well captured by Sheena Duncan, ex-President of the now defunct Black Sash, who in 'South Africa International,' stated: "The end (of apartheid policy) remains the denationalization of the black majority, the entrenching of the power of the minority through the dismemberment of the country, and the permanent exclusion of black South Africans from political participation in the common society." (Vol. 13, Number 2, Oct. 1982, p98) Referring to the Black States Citizenship Act of 1970 she said: "This (act) meant that every black person in South Africa, who was not already a citizen of Transkei in terms of the 1963 Act and who was not a foreign black person from another African country, became a citizen of one of the homelands. The late Dr Connie Mulder - then Minister of Bantu Administration and Development - in 1978 told parliament in unequivocal terms: "There must be no illusions about this because if our policy is taken to its full logical conclusion, as far as black people are concerned, there will not be one black man with South African citizenship."


In order to create the impression that blacks were acquiescing to their own oppression and disenfranchisement, the architects of apartheid sought their 'blue-eyed boys' and planted them in homeland governments so that they would carry apartheid to its desired finality.


It was in those circumstances that the leaders of the ANC came to the conclusion that one of the ANC's cadres - Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi - had to be urged to go inside the "enemy territory" within the KwaZulu self-governing territory. The primary mandate that the Prince carried as he went in was to abort the ultimate goal of the Nationalist Party regime, the excision of KwaZulu and the resultant disenfranchisement of South Africans of Zulu origin, and broadly, to spearhead the campaign for the abolition of the entire homeland system.


Any objective assessment of the Prince's and Inkatha's conduct within the KwaZulu Government must therefore begin by answering the question whether or not Inkatha failed to execute that mandate that the struggle had assigned to the Prince. Did the people of KwaZulu ever lose their South African citizenship and their right to continue struggling within the borders of South Africa? History says, "No! KwaZulu remained an integral part of this country until 1994. Above that, the Prince's fierce and vocal opposition to apartheid was pivotal in galvanizing public opinion against apartheid and strengthening the leaders of other homelands to reject Pretoria's pseudo-independence.


Therefore on the basis of these historical facts, it is just to declare that anyone who accuses Inkatha of having failed in its mission is politically depraved.


Revival of the Spirit of Resistance

That was the responsibility on the shoulders of Inkatha. However for the sake of the young generation, let me continue to look at the second responsibility that fell on the shoulders of the Prince and Inkatha as Inkatha operated within the KwaZulu Government structures. That responsibility was to restore hope within the oppressed; to ensure that they regained their spirits, cast fear aside and moved forward to their liberation. Lest we forget, that was after the setbacks of the 1960's when the enemy throttled the struggle by muzzling the liberation movements, locking up some leaders, murdering others and causing some to run for their lives to shelter themselves under foreign flags. After the Prince's address to the masses on the Reef in 1972, Shadrack Khumalo had this to say in the Sunday Times:"His winds of change have swept frustration and even hatred for a while from many hearts and brought a glimpse of hope. Schoolchildren jump about in the streets singing Chief Buthelezi's self-composed song entitled 'Malibuye izwe lethu (Give us back our land)"


It was in these circumstances that Inkatha, under the leadership of the Prince, emerged to denounce apartheid, to defiantly hoist the colours of the people, to publicly sing the songs of the struggle, to publicly speak of and quote banned leaders and literature and to campaign for the release of political prisoners and the unbanning of liberation movements.


Improvement of the lives of the People

History also records that - in addition to successfully executing the mandates of the struggle - the Prince and Inkatha went on to improve the lives of the people of the then KwaZulu even though that was not the paramount mandate. Before I delve into this aspect, let me boldly state that, even if Inkatha had dismally failed on this aspect, impartial judgment would not condemn it since history shows that it did not fail the struggle on the two paramount mandates. In fact, it is disingenuous of the ANC to focus on the supposed Inkatha's failure to improve the lives of the people because it was ANC's position then that the masses had to be kept hungry and in conditions of poverty so that they would long for a better South Africa and thus run amok in revolutionary anger to install a "workers' dictatorship; hence their vehement opposition to investments.


Fortunately, history shows that the Prince and Inkatha did not fail the people of KwaZulu in terms of service delivery, regardless of the very hostile oppressive conditions prevalent at the time. What conditions were those?


The KwaZulu Government was not an institution born out of a democratic process and operating in conditions of freedom for all the people of the Province and South Africa. That government was set up within the straight-jacket of the National Party's apartheid policy as part of apartheid's grand plan whose objectives were not to ensure the improvement of the lives of black people, and Africans in particular. Homeland governments were the consequence of a system that wanted to disenfranchise black people and to move them to barren pieces of land while reserving better opportunities for whites.


Inkatha operated during the dark days of apartheid and war; and it governed pieces of land without any tax-base and no control of the fiscus. Worse, in addition to grappling with the general oppressive nature of apartheid, KwaZulu was subjected to tremendous pressures including financial emasculation by the National Party government because it did not toe the apartheid line.


The ANC-led Provincial government on the other hand is a democratically-elected government operating in a free South Africa; controlling a tax-base; led by the same party that also governs the whole country and which thus controls all state power and resources. The ANC Provincial government does not contend with any National Party strangulation. And, the ANC-government controls one geographic land mass, unlike Inkatha which controlled bits-and-pieces of, mostly, barren land.


As I stated earlier, despite operating in the worst and cruel conditions of apartheid oppression and being financially strangled by the apartheid government, the Prince and Inkatha took recognizable steps towards improving the lives of the people of the then KwaZulu. Let us look at a few aspects of the Prince's and Inkatha's achievements for the ordinary people.



It is history that it was the Prince who took the initiative to have the University of Zululand built, by not only pleading for land from amaKhosi but also by moving from one Inkosi area to another canvassing for funds to have the university built. And during his term as Chancellor of the same university, it established branches at uMlazi and uLundi in order to enable all black youth and adults who otherwise would have had no access to tertiary education, to get such opportunities.


The Prince also canvassed for funds for the building of the Mangosuthu Technikon (now Mangosuthu University of Technology) at uMlazi. At the time it was the only technikon which allowed black students.


In addition to building thousands of ordinary schools, the KwaZulu Government introduced specialized schools such as Ogwini Comprehensive High School, Umlazi Commercial and Technical High School, Technical Colleges, as well as Colleges of Education. It is in fact true that up to now, the majority of the schools in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal are those built during the term of the KwaZulu Government. This was admitted by Mr. Senzo Mchunu, MEC for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and KwaZulu-Natal ANC Chairperson, in his reply dated 13 August 2012, to a Parliamentary Question asked by IFP MPL Mntomuhle Khawula. In his reply, MEC Mchunu admitted that out of 6018 public schools in KwaZulu-Natal, only 33 were built after 2004 which was the time the ANC took over. This is an unequivocal admission that more than 5000 of the schools were built during the tenure of the IFP-led government; and it shows the ANC's accusation of the IFP as utter lies!


It is a fact also that, through the Prince's efforts, some among the leaders of the ANC accessed education from the same schools and university and also benefited from bursaries offered by the same Inkatha-led government. Of even more importance is the fact that the Prince ensured that multitudes of African children were consistently warned of the suicidal nature of the call to burn down schools and the "Freedom now, Education Later" call of the ANC-SACP-UDF Alliance.


In addition, Umxoxi magazine recorded that:

"The KwaZulu Department of Education and Culture was the first to start rolling back Bantu Education. Soon after it took control in 1972, it switched to English as the medium of instruction from Standard 3 and has concentrated on the teaching of English ever since. This has borne fruit already with a number of pupils obtaining A symbols for English in Standard 10.


"The Department has also taken financial assistance from the private sector and loans from the Development Bank of Southern Africa to equip itself with computers and other high-technology equipment for technical education. It already seems light years away from Bantu Education, not just in facilities but in attitude also..


"It inherited four colleges of Education (teacher training) and now has nine. In-service centres have been established where teachers are able to improve their qualifications."


Housing, Health and Other Needs

Townships such as Ulundi as well as the town itself emerged from the veld as the Prince built them from nowhere. While other townships such as uMlazi, KwaMashu, Madadeni and others already existed when the KwaZulu Government began, it was that government which expanded and further improved as well as maintained them.


For those who may not know, it was almost impossible at the time for blacks to secure housing loans from the banks. That kept blacks trapped in the four-roomed houses that the government had provided for them while their white counterparts were able to improve their houses. The Prince, through the KwaZulu Government, established the then KwaZulu Finance and Investment Corporation (KFC) which made loans available to black people. Hence units such as 'N,' 'BB,' 'AA,' 'Chicago', 'Stocks & Stocks (at N & J), 'W' in uMlazi - as well as others in other KwaZulu townships - which became our 'suburbs,' emerged out of that KwaZulu Government initiative.


In addition, many clinics and hospitals such as the Prince Mshiyeni Hospital at uMlazi were built by the KwaZulu Government. Umxoxi (the Chronicler) records some of the projects that the KwaZulu Government implemented for the people of KwaZulu when it wrote about a new hospital wing at KwaHlabisa Hospital opened by Dr Frank Mdlalose, then Minister of Health, which was described as "the first major building project since the hospital was taken over by the KwaZulu Government's Department of Health."The same Minister opened Ncibidwane Clinic at Hlathikhulu:"The new building and the introduction of an ambulance service and telecommunications, made it possible to render a 24-hour service," said Umxoxi. Umxoxi also recorded two more clinics that were built, one at KwaYanguye in Melmoth and another at KwaWosiyane at iNdwedwe.


History tells too that it was the policy of the KwaZulu Government also to ensure that funds generated by its projects would be ploughed back to benefit communities as we see in this example:

"The KwaZulu Bureau of Natural Resources has announced that since tourist facilities at Kosi Bay Nature Reserve had been improved, utilization by visitors had increased by 66,3%.


"With the increase in the number of visitors to Kosi Bay, the Tembe Tribal Authority will be given approximately R30 000 for the 1987/88 financial year..An initial amount of R28 000 was handed over to the tribal authority during the 1986 and 1987."


Yet again uMxoxi recorded the KwaZulu Government's agreement with the Development Bank and the Frog electrical company which "enabled some residents of the Esikhawini H Section to have electricity in their houses."Umxoxi recorded too that the Department of Works accepted a loan amounting to R1 107 807 "for the upgrading of the Madadeni/Osizweni Sewerage works." The 1990 Umxoxi recorded the opening of the Sodwana Bay Lodge by the then Chief Minister.


More than anything else, Inkatha-led KwaZulu Government bequeathed to the democratic ANC government hospitals, clinics, police stations and a professional public service - all of which served as the springboard for the new government. Some of those public servants still occupy top positions in government today.



Not only did the KFC make housing loans available to Africans, but it also became the financial arm of the KwaZulu Government through which it drove economic empowerment and job-creation programs. Thus industries were established in areas such as KwaSithebe, eMandeni; eZakheni, in Ladysmith; eMlazi in Durban; and other areas. These provided jobs for thousands of households.


In addition, in a fore-runner to what is now called the Black Economic Empowerment, KwaZulu pursued a broad-based economic empowerment which tied big business, which sought to invest in business projects in the townships, to what was referred to as a Tripartite Arrangement which ensured that shares were divided between the investor, the KwaZulu Government and the ordinary residents of KwaZulu. Many ordinary people in the then KwaZulu territories owned shares in enterprises such as uMlazi Bakery, Madadeni Bakery etc. Above that, many black people secured business loans from the KFC, which enabled them to start or expand their businesses.



Have parochial and sectarian interests so skewed the character of some ANC leaders such that they are now devoid of ubuntu which teaches us to give credit where it is due, regardless of the differences? Why should they seek to rubbish history just to score political points? We have never denied that Inkatha and the Prince did not achieve all they wanted to, for various reasons. And no human government - even in the developed countries - will ever achieve that dream. Nor has the ANC government in almost twenty years and with all resources succeeded in bringing about the utopia they promised.


MJ Mazibuko, MPL

IFP Deputy National Spokesperson   083 992 6135