MEETING WITH THE DUNN FAMILY AND
MTHUNZINI DISTRICT : JUNE 1, 2001
I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given by the Minister of Traditional Affairs and the Premier of KwaZulu Natal, to present His Majesty the King to amaKhosi and to his subjects. It was as a result of a discussion that we had with His Majesty the King at the family church service which was held in KwaNzimela during the visitation of Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane to the Diocese of Zululand, that His Majesty and I discussed the acts of violence that have taken place here in the past few weeks. It was then that His Majesty insisted that we all accompany him here today to talk to his people who are in conflict. We also felt that we should come here in this fashion to make a statement that His Majesty, and all of us, strongly disapprove of what is going on here. Every conflict between human beings should be resolved around the table and that is the message which we all bring to this area today and to the parties in conflict.
At the same time, I wish to welcome my colleague the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs who, when she heard of this visit, had to change her very heavy schedule in order to be here in person, as matters over which there is a dispute fall under her particular line function. She did this at very short notice, and we thank the Minister for this exemplary conduct which has resulted in her having so many admirers both in Cabinet and outside Cabinet because of her commitment to her work and her dedication.
I further wish to thank Inkosi NJ Ngubane who, when he heard of His Majesty's wishes, immediately dropped everything he was doing to make all these arrangements for this meeting to take place. I thank the Honourable the Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Mr LPHM Mtshali, who is in charge of the largest populated Province, for deciding to change his plans and to accompany the King, as soon as he was told that the King was visiting this place today. I thank amaKhosi of our Kingdom of KwaZulu Natal, the pillars of the King's Kingdom, for coming in such numbers with their people as soon as they heard my clarion call that His Majesty intended coming here today.
I just want to say a few words because I know that there is little to add after the remarks made by the Minister of Welfare, Prince Gideon Zulu, and the Minister of Traditional Affairs and Local Government, Inkosi NJ Ngubane, and before we hear what our King has to say and the closing remarks of our Premier. Nonetheless, I feel that it is incumbent on me to say a few but firm words on a matter which has great importance, not only for the people of this region, but indeed for the whole of South Africa.
The violence and conflicts which are taking place on this land have been most regrettable. We cannot apportion blame because these conflicts are the product of tragedies which our history has bequeathed to our present and which still remain unresolved. We are all wrapped in these tragedies. Those opposing one another on the two sides of this conflict must recognise that in the end they belong together, and only together will they reach peace and stability. They must realise that the very past tragedies which now divide them, are those which should bring them together to find together a common solution.
The Dunn family is no stranger in our land. John Dunn received his original grant of land from my maternal great-grandfather, King Cetshwayo, whose successor and heir is our King. King Cetshwayo allowed him to settle here because of his friendship and the services he provided to our people. He gave him not only the land, but also 29 of his wives. The descendants of John Dunn are the descendants of our people and part and parcel of our nation. Tragedy divided that which friendship united, as the Anglo-Zulu War divided John Dunn and King Cetshwayo. However, after that, Dunn’s descendants were reassigned land which led to their stakeholding in our community.
Nonetheless, tragedy again complicated the picture as John Dunn was appointed to preside over one of the thirteen artificial kinglets in which colonial rule artificially divided our Kingdom. The Dunn family acquired additional property at a later time which went beyond what our Kingdom originally granted. The various aspects of tragedy which connote these facts, make it even more difficult to reconstruct exactly what happened, and people may have been dispossessed.
However, as I understand it, further dispossession took place when, in 1976, Zulu people of the Mangethe community were dispossessed and forcibly removed from their land in pursuance of the policies and land distribution of apartheid. People fell victim to the absurd tragedy of racial classification and the distribution of land across racial divides. This initial absurdity became even more paradoxical when the descendants of the wives of King Cetshwayo and John Dunn became classified as "coloureds" rather than Zulus for purposes of determining where they should be allowed to reside, live and prosper. A further absurdity developed when black people were forcibly moved away from their ancestral land merely on account of race and because their land was now to be used by whites and coloureds.
The central government has set in place a mechanism to sort out the absurd legacy of the past, and assess land claims. As I predicted years ago when the original legislation was passed, the mechanism centred around the Land Claims Commission has certain problems of its own. It is very fortunate that the Minister of Land Affairs, who is handling this very delicate matter, is here in person to witness first hand what will transpire during the visit of His Majesty the King.
Justice cannot only be the product of the memories of the past but must reflect the needs of the present and the reality of the world we live in. It is unfortunate that this dispute was taken to court, as this is likely to compound the problems rather than solve them.
All this creates a situation which is not only difficult, but in itself tragic, and rightly generates rising levels of frustration. I understand and concede all this. However, all this should prompt people to come together and find a way to settle this matter. We need to turn a page and give everybody a new beginning so that henceforth we can walk together in respective peace and prosperity. We need to bury the past so that together we can build a bright future. However, in order for this to be achievable, possible and fruitful, there must be give and take on all sides. We are here to encourage all the participants to recognise that they must come together to find a solution, and that their interests lie in a common compromise. It is in the interests of both parties for a solution to be found and to be found soon. The present situation of tension and uncertainty can no longer be tolerated.
I said that I understand the frustration and I empathise with all those involved in this conflict. However, I must state clearly and categorically and without any reservation, that we have no sympathy for anyone who resorts to violence. Under no condition may we allow violence and intimidation to become part of this negotiation. We shall not allow any type of land invasion. Those who feel that they can advance their position through violence and intimidation or by breaking the supremacy of the law, shall be aware that they shall be isolated, receiving no support or sympathy from anyone. Under no condition shall we allow KwaZulu Natal to be compared with Zimbabwe. The break-down of law and order and any type of degeneration in the rule of law, serves no purpose and fosters no interest. Land invasions are not only wrong and unacceptable but are also self-defeating, and shall not be tolerated. We shall not allow a precedent to be set in KwaZulu Natal for any type of condoning of land invasions.
We see what is going on in Zimbabwe and we do not want to see that here. We are frightened by stories that Zimbabwe is collapsing, as the rule of law disintegrates, and that it is turning into a nation which can no longer feed its people and which will take decades and generations before it can get back on its feet. We all struggled for our liberation and we care too much for our people, and we have struggled too long for their liberation, to take any chance that they may be enslaved by the poverty and despair now resulting from the anarchy which these acts of violence create. If people abroad get the wrong perception that we are following the route of land invasions in KwaZulu Natal, we will not get a single investor coming to KwaZulu Natal or South Africa.
Within this tragedy and within the crisis, there is no space for violence and destructive actions such as the burning of community halls and destruction of sugar-cane fields. There is no space for intimidation. People must realise that they must sit around the table of negotiations and find a solution which will stand the test of time. Such solution will be more victorious and more successful than anything which may be delivered by a court of law. We must ensure that all those involved in this conflict can come out of it as winners so that they can learn to live together and together prosper. I must again thank the Minister of Land Affairs, the Honourable Minister Didiza, for the efforts that she is contributing to making a negotiated solution to this crisis possible. Her presence here with us today signifies how committed she is to seeking a result. We thank her for giving this crisis the attention it deserves. We must match her commitment to finding a solution with the resolve of all parties to avoid any illegal action or doing anything which may cause or prompt violence. We must also set aside personal ambitions and agendas. People should not take this opportunity to fulfil ancient ambitions or pursue personal agendas. It is not fair and it is not right. It cannot be allowed.
With these few words I wish to leave the podium to His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation. He needs no introduction as we know that in issues of this nature, he has always provided a leadership of reconciliation. Our King has always promoted the notion of reconciliation and never allowed the greed of anyone to prevail over the conflicting reason of others. Our King personifies the quest of our nation for peace and justice. All those in conflict on both sides are his subjects, indeed his children. It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be here with His Majesty and we thank him for his presence which signifies how we as a nation can always come together and together solve our problems. We seek his guidance and shall listen attentively to what he has to say.