Alberton: 1 May 2011
I greet you warmly in the name of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Saviour.
It is a pleasure for me to be in Alberton this
morning to visit with the Church of the Living Word. I appreciate
your invitation to receive me, particularly when you know that we
politicians are on the campaign trail for the local government
elections, and it is going to be very difficult for me not to
include in my remarks what is called politics, which some may feel
is out of place in this house of God.
But I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak
to you, because we share a doctrine of faith and a belief in Christ,
and because being in the midst of His people never fails to refresh
me. My life's work in leadership in South Africa has been trying, to
say the least. But I have always been buoyed on the prayers of good
friends who understand that I can do nothing apart from what God
gives me strength to accomplish.
I did not choose a leadership role. I believe that
God called me to this destiny from a young age. As an infant at my
mother's knee, I learned the Psalms as well as the history of my
nation. I learned about the valiance of King David and the boldness
of King Shaka. My faith became intertwined with my identity as a
Zulu, and I felt the quiet unction of the Holy Spirit leading me to
lay down my life in the service of my nation.
Like my father and his grandfather before him, I
am the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and the Zulu
Nation. My mother, Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu, was the sister of
King Solomon, and I trace my lineage back to King Senzangakhona, the
father of King Shaka, the founder of our Nation.
I could therefore not have avoided my leadership
responsibilities even if I had wanted to. By blood, by destiny and
by faith, I have lived to serve South Africa.
I am now 82 years old, and still active in
politics as the President of the Inkatha Freedom Party, which I
founded in 1975. I am still a Member of Parliament, and although not
the oldest Member, I have perhaps one of the longest memories of our
country's executive arm of government. Before 1994, I served as the
Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government for some 18
years. KwaZulu, unlike the former TBVC states, did not accept
nominal independence from the apartheid regime. This allowed our
administration to become a litmus test of multi-racial governance,
and we proved that it could be done.
Independence a la Pretoria was part of the
apartheid government's plan to balkanize South Africa, so that no
one could point to the gut-wrenching circumstances of the oppressed
majority and blame the minority government. They wanted to be able
to say that we ruled ourselves and our struggles were therefore
self-created. Apartheid was predestined to become untenable under
the international scrutiny of a world that was moving towards
enhanced human rights and human equality.
Had I accepted nominal independence, I would
automatically have become the ruler of my own domain. But I have
never been in this for the glory. I entered politics to serve my
people, not to have my own reputation glorified. The other
consequence of my accepting nominal independence would have been the
disenfranchisement of millions of black South Africans after
liberation was achieved, because independence would have deprived
our people of their South African citizenship.
431 years before Christ, Euripides said, "There is
no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one's native land." I
would not subject South Africans to the pain of that loss. Years
after our liberation in 1994, the former State President Mr FW de
Klerk, testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that
my rejection of nominal independence for KwaZulu was the anvil on
which the grand scheme of apartheid was finally crushed.
I thank God that I was the right man, doing the
right thing, at the right time. But I don't take any credit for
this. I know that God chose me, just as He chose the moment for
action. I have always believed that if you want to walk out your
God-given destiny, you need to be where you are meant to be, doing
what you are meant to be doing. Because sitting back for just a moment, taking a
break from your faith or a rest from obedience, can have devastating
consequences for your life and the lives of others.
I always think of King David and how he was
tempted by the sight of Bathsheba that fateful evening on the palace
rooftop. King David was not where he was supposed to be, doing what
he was supposed to be doing. The scripture says, "It happened in the
Spring of that year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that
David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they
destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David
remained at Jerusalem." (2 Samuel 11 verse 1) King David did not go where he was
meant to go, and he sent away all those to whom he was accountable;
then temptation came.
Throughout my 60 years in politics and public
life, I have ensured that I remain accountable to men and women of
God, and I have kept God's people close to me. I am often prayed for
in person and over the 'phone, by friends from the furthest corners
of the world, and loved ones in the bosom of my family. I am
grateful for every prayer.
I will not pretend that I have never stumbled. I
know that I am merely a sinner who has been redeemed. I will also
not pretend that I have never been lonely in my walk, even though
surrounded by friends. One of the loneliest times I ever endured was
when I stood against the adoption of the Kairos Document by the
churches in South Africa in 1985. The Kairos Document declared a
time of "just war" which lent respectability to the armed struggle
that the ANC's mission-in-exile engaged in South Africa.
In June of 1985, Mr Oliver Tambo addressed a
consultative conference of the ANC in Zambia and called on his
countrymen to "engulf the apartheid system in the fire and thunder
of a people's war". At that point, I sought a meeting in London with
the Head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
the Most Reverend Robert Runcie. In advance of the meeting, I sent a
memorandum through the South African Ambassador in which I sought
the Archbishop's guidance on the issue of a "just war".
When I arrived at Lambeth Palace for our meeting,
the Archbishop had my memorandum in his hand. Before we even sat
down he asked me whether other leaders agreed with me in opposing
the armed struggle. I responded, "Your Grace, you too are a leader.
Do other leaders always agree with you?" When he did not respond, I
then asked him, "Did everyone agree with Christ?"
I did not receive any guidance in that meeting. I
had sought the advice of the highest authority in my church, and
found myself on lonely ground. Six years earlier, in 1979, Mr Oliver
Tambo and his delegation had called me and Inkatha to London to seek
our support for taking up arms. I could not bring myself to accept
bloodshed, violence, mayhem and murder, even for the sake of such a
noble goal as our political liberation.
My refusal to endorse or engage the armed struggle
caused a rift between the IFP and the ANC that has never healed.
There are some in the ANC who have never forgiven me for standing up
for the very values the ANC was founded on; non-violence, passive
resistance and negotiation. A vicious campaign of vilification was
launched against me and I was decried as an apartheid collaborator
because I would not accept the armed struggle or the ANC's call for
international disinvestment and economic sanctions against South
My own Archbishop, the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu,
was one of the leading advocates throughout the world of sanctions
and economic disinvestment. So I found myself pitted against my own
Archbishop and Metropolitan. I was condemned even by the World
Council of Churches. I was vilified at home and internationally, and
assassination attempts were made on my life. It was a terrible and
lonely time; but once again it was because I was doing the right
thing, at the right time. If this were not true, I would surely not have the
peace of the Holy Spirit.
I thank God for the few Christian brothers who
continued to pray for me and offer me succour during this time.
People like the Reverend Ross Main,
Bishop Alphaeus Zulu, Archbishop Bill Burnett (the former
Archbishop of Cape Town), Pastor Nicholas Bhengu of the Assemblies
of God, Dominee Willie Marais of the Dutch Reformed Church, and
laymen such as Dr Piet Koornhof, strengthened me with their
fellowship. It pains me that my brothers in Christ often suffered
rejection on my behalf.
But when I look back over this painful history,
one fundamental truth stands out; that the church got involved. It
took a stand and chose a side. It made a statement. The church
immersed itself in politics. To me, this is the way it should be. In
our constitutional democracy, the law of the land decrees a
separation of church and state. But that does not mean that
Christians should fear to tread into the realm of politics. It means
that we need to be vigilant that we are not told what to believe and
what to support. Our convictions should not be dictated to us. But
we must have convictions.
We must understand the times and be aware of the
workings of government. We must ask questions and demand answers. We
must make informed choices and wise decisions. We must speak up,
speak out and get involved. Now I did warn you that if you give an
inveterate politician the podium, you are going to end up discussing
politics. But I believe that every one of us has the
responsibility to vote on the 18th of May in the local government
elections. It is part of our responsibility as competent citizens,
and part of our God-given dominion mandate.
I am here in Ekurhuleni to campaign for the IFP,
because I believe the IFP has something valuable to offer. We are
the only credible alternative to the current leadership, because we
know how to govern and we have proven that we do it well. I served
in Cabinet for ten years as the Minister of Home Affairs, and I was
appointed Acting President of South Africa more than 20 times. But
long before the 27th of April 1994, I was administering the
governance of a province and doing so with excellence.
In the 18 years the IFP led the erstwhile KwaZulu
Government, not once was a single accusation of corruption ever
levelled against us. When it came time for all South Africa's
provinces to hand over their resources to the state coffer, ours was
the only province not in the red. Even though we received less from
Pretoria than any other province, KwaZulu alone was able to give
back a portion of its budget. This is a testimony to sound financial
administration and excellence in government.
But I am not here to blow my own horn, or even to
promote the IFP. I am here with a message of exhortation. I am here
to urge the church to get involved and take a stand. I am here to
ask you to vote on the 18th of May. Make an informed choice. Choose
a leadership of integrity, because the future of our nation depends
on your vote. As Plato wrote, "The good man takes on leadership
because he fears the penalty for refusal, which is to be ruled by
lesser men." Put more simply, evil prospers when good men fail to
I thank you for inviting me here this morning. I
hope that our engagement has given you food for thought. But above
all I pray that God will strengthen you as you continue to do His
work, both in the ministry and in the world.
I was humbled by the invitation to speak here in this Church
today. I thank my friend
and brother Councillor Eisterhuizen, through whom I received your
May god bless you.