May 31, 2005

Today, the Leader of the IFP caucus in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament, Dr Lionel Mtshali MPP, delivered a burning indictment of the treacherous constitution-drafting process in KwaZulu-Natal. He pointed out how the process was a mockery of public participation, negotiations and of an all-inclusive settlement.

In the end, the Ad-hoc Committee on Constitutional Affairs returned to the House substantially the same Bill originally introduced by the Premier, notwithstanding the House having mandated the Committee to treat all parties' submissions equally. Dr Mtshali pointed out how the Chairman of the Committee manipulated the work of the panel of experts, to force them to adopt the ANC's minimalist approach. He also exposed how the ANC used the same tactics to push the IFP out of the process which it employed at the World Trade Centre, and in the Constitutional Assembly.

The Bill returned by the Committee only provides for the Monarch and the extension of the Executive Committee, while the rest of it is a futile repetition of the National Constitution. Dr Mtshali mentioned a long string of broken promises, highlighting the absurdity that all the provisions which were agreed to in the constitution of KwaZulu of nine years ago, would now be ignored and betrayed by the ANC, in spite of such provisions not having been objected to by the Constitutional Court or by the panel of experts.

This process makes a mockery not only of the present constitution-drafting, but also of the one which took place nine years ago, resulting from eighteen months of negotiations and millions of taxpayers' money spent. Dr Mtshali pointed out that the Bill's provisions for the Monarchy reflected the ANC's decision on the matter, for they provided exclusively for the King, but not the Kingdom. It is not the first time in history that people seek the betrayal of a Kingdom by accommodating the King.

The ANC's Bill excludes traditional leaders, the Traditional Prime Minister, the Royal House and, very importantly, the recognition for the laws, customs and traditions of the Zulu people, most of which were fully recognised and protected in the KwaZulu-Natal Constitution adopted nine years ago.

What is most outrageous is that the ANC pushed through provisions to accommodate the Monarch by silencing the voice of Senior Princes and members of the Royal House who sought to be heard in the process to speak on behalf of the Kingdom and put forward its case. The IFP abandoned its participation in the process when such Senior Princes and members of the Royal House were not allowed to speak, and the ANC claimed that it alone was entitled to make any decision on the process.

Dr Mtshali pointed out, time and again, that he who controls the process, determines its outcome and the IFP pleaded that parliamentary law should be respected by requiring that all significant process decisions be taken by virtue of the same majority required for the adoption of a constitution. Instead, the ANC adopted the same notion of sufficient consensus which pushed the IFP out of the World Trade Centre. In so doing the ANC has shown the full measure of its autocracy, which sends clear signals on the impending tyranny on our democracy.

Dr Lionel Mtshali
083 256 4902