November 22, 2005

The National Chairperson of the IFP, Ms. Zanele Magwaza, today condemned with utter contempt accusations by the ANC in KZN that she led a protest against the Speaker and ANC KZN Ministers in the Abaqulusi Municipality today.

Ms. Magwaza said:

"The statement by ANC Spokesperson, Mr M. Mthimkhulu demonstrates clearly the contempt he holds for my position as the Mayor of Zululand, in which capacity I attended the meeting. I attended this meeting even though I was not invited but rather as a sign of respect to the Speaker, Ministers of the KwaZulu-Natal Government and members who were present. The South African Constitution, after all, unambiguously stipulates that all three spheres of Government must work together. I was therefore very surprised to learn that senior members of the KwaZulu-Natal Government were coming to my area without even bothering to inform me and the Inkosi of the area, which they normally do. After reading the statement issued by Mr Mthimkhulu I begin to suspect that they were not here on KZN Government business but it seems they might have had an ANC KZN political agenda."

"Let there be no illusion this invitation was not issued by disillusioned members of the community as they claim but by a few ANC members. Neither was this invitation issued to the KZN Government but rather to the Speaker and ANC Ministers in the KZN Government. And that, I think, is why I was not invited."

"I was also amazed to read how the ANC in KZN was making a big deal out of IFP members wearing IFP t-shirts to this function. If this was indeed a Government function why should t-shirts matter at all? Surely Government delivery is not dependent on the slogan on your t-shirt. I can personally give many examples of events where ANC members wore ANC t-shirts to Government initiated events. One example is at the Princess Magogo Stadium on June 16, where the stadium was packed with ANC members wearing ANC t-shirts and carrying ANC flags. They were not barred from the stadium for wearing the t-shirts. Another recent example was Utrecht were ANC members clad in ANC t-shirts booed the Deputy-President of South Africa. Once again they were nor barred from entering the stadium. The IFP never objects to this but looks at it as the democratic right of South Africans to wear the t-shirt of their political choice."

"As Mayor of Zululand I have seen people wearing ANC t-shirts to meetings which I have called. I have never been threatened nor insulted by this action. In spite of all this, when ANC Ministers objected to IFP members wearing their t-shirts today, we as leaders present, asked them to remove the t-shirts, which they did. I am not aware of any destruction to property so I reject with contempt the statement by the ANC that IFP leaders looked on while their members damaged chairs and other property."

"I am aware however that the crowd did not want the Minister of Education to speak. As leaders present we did everything in our power to influence the people to allow the Minister the opportunity to speak. The Police were present and they can testify to this."

"Let me put on record that as the Mayor of Zululand I am satisfied that within my area development of the people, whoever they are, is a priority. I do not have to blow my own trumpet because my record speaks for itself. There is development throughout Zululand and particularly in Dhlomodhlomo. There have only been problems where, as in this case, the two members who issued the invitation to the Speaker, have sabotaged attempts for development."

"What the ANC must concede is that in this instance tensions are very high in Abaqulusi especially after the dissolution of the Abaqualsi Municipality, which is seen by many people on the ground as the ANC playing petty politics at their expense. So the ANC should not be surprised that some members of the community do not welcome them with open arms."

In conclusion Ms. Magwaza observed:

"In his statement to the media Mr Mthimkhulu omitted to inform that it is an ANC member who was taken into police custody for brandishing a firearm and shooting at people. Fortunately no one was hurt."

Ms. Zanele Magwaza
Zululand Mayor
IFP National Chairperson
082 804 7993