Pietermaritzburg: April 12, 2005

Press Statement by Dr Lionel Mtshali MPP
Leader of the IFP Caucus in the
KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament

We are facing a grave crisis which affects the whole of our province. This crisis highlights the explosive nature of unresolved issues relating to the Zulu Monarchy as well as the ANC's arrogance.

Mr Xaba, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Constitutional Affairs Committee has ruled to shortcut public participation in the constitution-drafting process and prevented a high-ranking group of Princes and members of the Royal Family to make representation, and be heard, in respect of the drafting of a constitution for our province.

On March 18 it was agreed that members of the Royal family would be afforded an opportunity to be heard. When they could not attend the April 4 hearing, because the Chairman afforded them less than 72 hours notice, they asked for a rescheduling. They expected then to speak at the April 6 hearing, in compliance with the decision of the Ad-hoc Constitutional Affairs Committee taken at Richards Bay on March 24. However, after His Majesty spoke, they were prevented from making their presentation by a ruling of the Chairman who indicated that since the King has spoken, no one was to add or detract from what he had said.

This procedural issue highlights a substantive issue of the great difference between the ANC's approach, which intends to merely accommodate His Majesty, and the IFP approach, which intends to provide for the Monarchy and the Kingdom. We wish to have recognition of a Kingdom which is not such only in name, but recognizes and protects all its constituting components, including amakhosi and the Traditional Prime Minister. The unwillingness of the ANC to even afford those advocating this notion an opportunity to be heard shows how deep and wide the divide is between the two positions.

The gravity of this situation is compounded by reliable reports that His Majesty's presentation and the inputs of certain members of the Royal House supporting him, were actually formulated by the ministerial advisor of a national Minister. This advisor has no connection with our Province and has a long-standing track record of hostility towards traditional leadership.

The IFP does not intend to be party to betraying the Zulu Nation and will no longer engage in a process which is manipulated by the ANC to reach its goals.

A constitution needs to be adopted by a two-thirds majority and any decision relating to the process of constitution-making must require the same type of consensus. In respect of ordinary legislation a Committee Chairman, or the Speaker, who are elected by and represent the interests of a simple majority, may very well make decisions on how to proceed in deliberating on a law. However, in respect of a constitution it becomes increasingly clear that those who control the process, determine its outcome.

We experienced a similar issue in respect of the handling of the draft report submitted by the panel of legal experts, where we had to struggle to receive the opportunity for representations and submissions to be made to the panel of experts, in spite of the experts themselves having clearly stated that their job ought to be based on written submissions and oral arguments.

For this reason, the IFP will henceforth suspend its participation in the constitution-drafting process until agreement is reached on how such process should proceed, and the principle is entrenched that all processed decisions must require the same majority necessary for the adoption of a constitution.

Contact: Dr Lionel Mtshali, 083 256 4902
Leader of the IFP Caucus in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament