Ulundi: October 4, 2005

Judging by ANC Provincial Spokesperson, Mtholephi Mthimkhulu's press statement 'ANC statement on IFP's double agenda', it appears that some of my recent interventions have touched a raw nerve.

The inference in Mtimikhulu's complaint is that I cannot exercise my role as the leader of the nation's largest predominantly black opposition party because my Party participates in the ANC-led government.

It is strange that even when I served in the Government of National Unity, under the ANC, I was free to voice the views of my Party. Even when the IFP secured a majority and served in a coalition with the ANC, this did not stop ANC leaders in the provincial and national government from criticising me and the IFP.

Mr Mtimikhulu is clearly trying to bring about a crisis because he and others want and are salivating over the three MEC posts that were offered to the IFP by the ANC. We did not ask for them.

I further wish to challenge Mr Mtimikhulu to explain why Dr Jiyane informed us that Mr Bheki Cele, the MEC for Transport, told him that he was not going to get the bus company he now runs because of his affiliation to the IFP. At the time, he was thinking of taking legal action. Mr Mtimikhulu must explain who negotiated this agreement despite Mr Cele's statement.

And are not my criticisms about the lack of progress in service delivery and the ANC penchant for wasting money on glitzy imbizo's a key part of the IFP's oversight role in the "multi-party democracy" which Mtimikhulu claims is so vibrant? He clearly only has an elementary grasp of the concept of opposition and the vital checks-and-balances of democracy.

Well-constructed institutions do not of themselves guarantee democracy: a nation first needs a critical mass of individuals who truly grasp it and practise it. This project is still underway.

The fact that Mtimikhulu feels the need to rise to the defence of Nedeco is instructive, as it is revealing. With Mtimikhulu by their side, at least they will not need to employ their own media officer!

I stand by my comments that South Africa is drifting towards a de facto one-party state. I repeat that having won 70 percent of the popular vote in the 2004 general election, the ANC, in real terms, has confidently exercised 100 percent of the political power ever since. Nedeco is not constituted of "progressive-minded members", but, rather, is a splinter party of people who have stolen votes given to the IFP. In so doing they have merely bolstered the ANC's grip on power.

The reality is that today it is the IFP that is emerging as the core block of a democratic, non racial alternative to the ANC's failed government. I will not be deflected by Mtimikhulu cheap shots in this great task.