INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
ON THE THEME OF
ULUNDI : JULY 7, 2001
The National Chairman, Mr LPHM Mtshali; the General Secretary of Administration, Mr MZ Khumalo; members of the Royal House present and amaKhosi; the National Chairperson of the Women’s Brigade, Mrs A Mchunu; the National Chairperson of the Youth Brigade, Mr MB Khawula and his Deputy Ms VZ Magwaza, and the Chairperson Emeritus of the Youth Brigade, the Rev KM Zondi; national and provincial Ministers present; members of the National Council; members of the national Parliament; members of provincial Parliaments; Mayors, Councillors and Indunas present; delegates to this Conference, members of the IFP present, my brothers and sisters.
Mr Master of Ceremonies, I wish to thank our brother Mr. Cliff Gosney, for attending our Conference. He has been a close friend of mine and a close brother in the Christian Fellowship, and we shall look forward to his message tomorrow. As Mr Gosney has been a true friend of this Party for many years, let me take this opportunity to thank him for being such a source of strength and inspiration to me for so many years. I also applaud the message we received from our National Chairman Emeritus, His Excellency Dr FT Mdlalose. I further wish to thank our brother and friend, Mr Horst Klaus Hofmann from Germany for his words and thank each and every person who has sent us a message on the occasion of this 26th Annual Conference of our Party.
I welcome to this Conference our delegates who have come from various parts of the country. I also wish to extend a particular welcome to those delegates who have travelled longer distances to come to this Conference from other Provinces. May I be allowed to make special mention of all our young delegates, for on them we pin our hopes, both to pass our baton on to future generations and to ensure the continuity of all the efforts we have made throughout South Africa to address the unacceptable levels of want and poverty in all our communities. I have great pleasure in welcoming in our youth contingent of this year, for the first time, members of our Youth Brigade from the IFP branches of the University of Cape Town and other branches in the Western Cape. What our youth has accomplished in such a short time at the University of Cape Town and in other branches of the Western Cape inspires and strengthens our resolve to serve loyally the people who have elected us to represent them in the three levels of government. I applaud the presence of all our delegates, those accompanying them and those who have come on their own steam to be with us at this Conference.
I applaud the presence of members of the Zulu Royal House present at this Conference and in particular Princess Henrietta ka Solomon and all the Princes and Princesses of the Royal House including Indlunkulu. I thank amaKhosi from the Kingdom of KwaZulu Natal and all those from other Provinces who are with us for the first time.
Allow me at this point to pay a special tribute to our members who have passed away since our last Conference. I remember in particular Prince Samson Mandlosuthu ka Solomon who never failed to attend our Conferences and who was fatally shot earlier this year. I remember Mr Justice Radebe, our candidate for the Vosloorus Council, an old and tried member of this Party, who was also fatally shot. I also remember others who were victims of the violence arising out of the December 5 local government elections, and, in particular, our then Mayor of Nongoma, Councillor JB Sikhonde and the many other victims of the murderous political violence against our members in various parts of the country. Let us also remember those who died in car accidents and those who died of natural causes since our Conference last year. Apart from the pain of their loss, which is most heart-breaking, we realise that we, as a Party, are left poorer as a result of their deaths. Let us thank God for the time he lent them to us to make the contributions that they made to our Party, and to render services to our people, and let us pray that may they all rest in peace.
The Annual General Conference of this year is different from any we have held before. It speaks differently, it feels different and it will act differently. In its difference it reflects our Party having been turned around. The dawn of a new beginning has arrived and changed our Party. Inkatha has been turned around, is growing and is steadily marching on the path on which it is bound to meet and fulfil its destiny and rendezvous with history. The theme for this Conference, "GOVERNING WITH INTEGRITY FOR DEVELOPMENT", wishes to capture this challenge.
In years past, the prophets of doom heralded the imminent destruction and disappearance of the Inkatha Freedom Party. We proved them wrong over and over again, and survived in spite of any predictions and difficulties. We survived under the onslaught of murderous violence, which the armed struggle unleashed upon our membership. We survived in spite of one of the most vicious campaigns of vilification ever waged against any organisation in mankind’s history. We survived in spite of having no resources, no financial backing, no international endorsement and no friends in the political arena. We survived even when confronted for almost two decades by adversaries with unlimited financial resources, vast international connections and support, and arsenals of weapons which they did not hesitate to use against us. We survived because of the strength of our soul and the righteousness of our cause. We survived because hard steel keeps our backbone straight. We survived because we were right, and they were wrong.
We proved them wrong time and again. When proven wrong, our enemies and opponents remained unmoved and preserved their stony faces. Looking at their vast reservoir of power, financial resources, influence and political control, they predicted that we would soon decline and disappear into irrelevance. But we did not. Time and again we proved to be strong and right. Our strength is not in the money we have, nor in the structures of government we control, nor in the portions of the economy we are capable of influencing. Our strength is in the hearts and minds of the people of South Africa, whom we never abandoned and never deserted. We are strong because the people are strong. We are strong because we never moved away from our people. We never left the communities where Inkatha was born and raised, and where it has now reached the age of its full maturity. Now Inkatha may look straight on the radiant path of its destiny.
Inkatha survived its trials and challenges. Our Party has now been turned around and is ready to claim its leadership role in the make-up of South African politics. We survived where it matters: at the polls. In the 1999 general elections, we firmly maintained our political ground. One year later, at the local government elections in December 2000, the IFP recorded the largest relative increase in political support among any of the parties. Our support base grew by 22%, which made us the party which secured the most resounding electoral victory in relative terms. Our Party is growing. Our structures are growing. The enthusiasm of our people is growing. Our faith in our mission and destiny before us is growing and strengthening, branch by branch, community by community, day by day.
We have turned the Party around and we now march with resolve and conviction towards our electoral victory of 2004. The electoral victory of 2004 is ours if we keep the same course, but increase the pace. It is indeed the pace that will determine whether such victory will in fact take place in the year 2004. I am concerned about our elected office bearers seeming incapable of resisting the temptation to rest on their laurels. After achieving an electoral victory, there is a natural tendency to relax, and we can see this having happened after the December 5 elections. However, this attitude will not deliver to us in 2004 the victory I am dreaming of.
We have survived because we never forgot the reason for which this organisation was formed 26 years ago, which was that of enabling our people to express their political voice and have a political home of mobilisation for the issues which affect them. Inkatha was formed in communities not to empower the leaders, but to address the needs of the people. We always maintained a culture in which leaders are servants to the needs and aspirations of the people on the ground and are not detached from them. We always felt that leaders are those who have the capacity to listen to the people and to voice their needs and aspirations. The legacy of this lesson is now more evident than ever before in the new structure that our Conference has adopted on this occasion. This year, our Conference intends to rise to the great challenge of becoming the megaphone of the voice of the people, especially of those people who supported other parties and rightly feel that their leaders have long abandoned them.
This Conference shall test the capacity of the IFP leadership to listen to and express the voice of the people, both our supporters and those who have long been deserted by the leaders they supported when they voted for other parties. To them we say that our pledge is to voice their voice first, and on that basis ask for their support afterwards. We do not use promises, but we serve. We deliver first and then we demand support. From this point on, we are speaking for all, whether our supporters or not. I am saying this in respect of all South Africans, especially those who have given strength and power to the ruling party and are eager to let their voices be heard. I was also amused when last week in reporting the formal re-launching and preparation for elections of the opposition alliance, the press related the commitment of all their national, provincial and local elected leaders to spend "one day living as ordinary South Africans". We, ordinary South Africans, who live an ordinary life 365 days a year and have done so since we were born, really thank them, and wonder whether the converse will apply and if they would allow ordinary South Africans and all our community leaders to live their way one day a year!
A new generation of IFP leaders has come on line and is quickly moving to the centre of the political stage. They are to carry the revolution of goodwill forwards in our communities. The local government elections last year have cast the mantle of responsibility and service of the people on to the shoulders of a new class of leaders, who are rapidly growing through the ranks of our Party and in the eyes of our communities. We must ensure at the very outset that these leaders understand the mission to which they have been called and how their performance is instrumental to the IFP achieving its own destiny. The Party must run on the legs of their performance and expect from them performance of the highest possible calibre. Their job is that of leading through service and remaining accountable to the people 365 days a year.
We are living in an extraordinary time in history in which rapid transformation is taking place in the hearts and minds of our people and within the dynamics of our society. At this delicate stage, it is essential that our leaders listen to the voice of the people and receive from the people the guidance necessary for the exercise of their leadership. The parameters of politics are changing rapidly. In these times of political uncertainty, undercurrents are often stronger that surface currents. These are times in which people must lead their leaders and leaders must listen to them if they wish to remain leaders of the people. These are the times in which the leadership of the country may become open to those who have the capacity to listen to the voice of the people and to express it in a loud and clear fashion that makes it resonate not only in the hallowed halls of government, but also throughout our country in each community.
We must ensure that this year our Conference rises to this great challenge of becoming a megaphone of the voice of the people. Towards this end, this year’s Conference has been structured to create the greatest possible opportunity for the voice of our people to be heard. The preparations for this Conference have themselves been an historical event in the life of our Party, in which we may all rejoice and take pride. Preparatory conferences have been held throughout all our structures to ensure that the message of our constituencies can be carried into our deliberations. These preparatory conferences took place so that the content of our Annual General Conference can indeed be shaped by the direct leadership expressed by our structures and the people they represent. Moreover, this Conference has been structured to receive the reports of all IFP elected leaders who have been placed in government positions of responsibility, so that they can report and account to those who have elected them. Hear what they have to say and voice what you have to say, so that they shall listen. This is not going to be a once off exercise, but is indeed the beginning of a process that will shape our future politics. The amendments to our party Constitution makes it a permanent feature of our politics as they require each IFP elected representative in any government structure to report constantly, and be accountable to the corresponding structure of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Henceforth, the voice of our people will constantly resound in the ears of their representatives. From your mouth to their ears. From their mouths to the ears of the people and towards our electoral victory of 2004!
On this occasion, more than ever before, Inkatha is listening and its leaders are keeping their ears close to the ground and to the grassroots. We are hearing the voice of the people, but we are also hearing their whispers. We are listening to what people really want when they express their dissatisfaction and their frustration in their homes, in their work-places and amongst their friends. We are hearing wide-spread rumours and whispers of dissatisfaction and impatience, which are rippling through each and every community like a gentle breeze. As this gentle breeze moves from mouth to mouth we can see it gaining momentum and we can clearly tell that it will soon build into a powerful wind that may anticipate a great political storm to come.
Time and again, the IFP has had the wisdom and instinct to predict bad weather ahead. Now we are again seeing clouds forming on the horizon. This time around we must be confident that we can succeed in positioning ourselves to exercise the required leadership to avoid any damage to our beloved country and to the people whom we serve. This time around, South Africa will have no one else to rely on for its salvation, but the leadership that Inkatha can and must supply. The whirlwind of whispers of today will become the political cries of tomorrow, generating a new wave of politics that the IFP must be ready to ride and lead.
Strong undercurrents are at play at all levels of our society and many of them are bound to surface, changing the political landscape like never before, and rewarding political parties with the wisdom and instinct to understand in advance what the people really need, want and aspire to.
The whispers that are coming from every community, borne on the currents of change to come, tell us that people are looking for a leadership of integrity which can walk ahead and bring development. Integrity and development are the notions whispered and cried out in communities of South Africa. Integrity and development are the values which Inkatha has embraced and pursued since the time of its formation and which underpin our revolution of goodwill. South Africans want a leadership that does what it says it will do, when it says it will do it. The people on the ground are tired of promises, excuses, diversions and apologies. Communities are no longer willing to wait for the promised development, because development is needed now and is needed desperately. Development is the only way for us to elevate the standard of living in our poorest and most needy communities. Every South African community, from the wealthy to the poor, has its needs and these needs may only be met if we can secure a leadership that places foremost on its agenda the priority of development, development, development.
In the December 2000 local government elections, the IFP positioned itself as the Party of development. Our resounding victory proved that the heart of Inkatha is knit with the hearts of the people. At that time, we looked back at our track record and ahead at our vision. The truth is that the IFP has always brought development. We have always been committed to furthering the prosperity of our people and generating a better standard of living wherever we see need, poverty and despair, not only through the actions of government but also through the commitment of people. We first promoted the culture and practice of self-help and self-reliance. Inkatha is the Party that has worked hand in hand with the people since its inception in 1975. Throughout the liberation struggle, we continued to build, even while tearing down the strongholds of apartheid through the righteous action of passive resistance, the stand of non-violence and the call for all-inclusive negotiations. Inkatha has never pursued just one goal at any cost to the people. This is a Party of long-term vision and foresight.
We are relentless and single-minded in pursuing development. We must now turn the page and ensure that our struggle is carried out on two fronts. Firstly, through our elected councillors who must direct municipalities to become engines of development. Secondly, through community leaders who must mobilize our communities to develop on-the-ground projects in the name of the revolution of goodwill. Our Party must co-ordinate these two approaches, and promote real public-private partnerships for development. The IFP has the leadership of integrity which acts when it says it will act. We have the leadership that will ensure that our Party lives up to the reputation of being the Party of development. To achieve this end, the IFP is building capacity within its structures by listening and creating the opportunity for members to speak. Our Conference this year is constructed around this effort. We believe that municipalities must be the fundamental promoters of development.
Development does not begin at the top, but on the ground, where it is needed. It begins with the smallest projects of development, such as repairing fences. From there, from the lowest levels, a culture of development will be stirred to life so that it may grow into a national effort of development. I feel that this is necessary so that in the end, we may change the macro-economic emphasis of our country towards development. There is a great deal of discussion about development, and yet development has not yet become the main priority of our macro-economic policies.
If we are to make progress as we wish, we cannot ignore the hard and unpleasant facts of our reality. Unless we come to terms with them, we will have moral decline rather than something better. We must come to terms with the reality and snap out of the syndrome of denial that seems to have affected the judgement of some of the policy-makers in government. In many respects South Africa is today worse off than it was 10 years ago at the height of apartheid, international sanctions and foreign disinvestments. In comparative terms our currency is much weaker now than it was then, and has lost about 60% of its value. Inflation has increased the price of all things. Unemployment has skyrocketed and we have lost in excess of half a million jobs. The level of crime has increased dramatically. No one is safe in their own homes. Nothing is safe from being stolen. According to independent auditing recently published, the level of corruption has also increased substantially across the country into levels never seen before in our land. These are facts that we can neither deny nor under-estimate. It is an indictment which we must accept that in its initial stage the rule of freedom and democracy has caused us to run government less efficiently than the rule of coercion and apartheid did.
We must free ourselves of this indictment by turning the country around and riding the full benefits of freedom and democracy, bringing about social justice while running the country more efficiently and productively. We need a new mind-set, based on integrity and productivity. We need a leadership with clean hands and integrity, which can spearhead a new culture of integrity, hard work and commitment. We need a leadership with integrity which has the courage to make the hard economic decisions necessary to make our economy grow, rather than being obsessed with its popularity, either domestically or internationally. We need the leadership that only the IFP can provide to South Africa.
Our economy is not growing fast enough. Unless we place our rate of economic growth at least above the 6% threshold, our country will not successfully conquer the many challenges confronting it. Our economy needs to grow faster and produce more wealth if we are to raise the resources necessary to finance the many social programmes to which our government has committed itself. Our present slow economic growth was easy to predict and it is not an accident. I predicted that unless we took the courageous measures that I advocated, we would be exactly where we now are. Once again South Africa suffers because our warnings were not heeded. Time and again we said that we could not trade long-term economic growth for short-term social benefits. Yet labour legislation was enacted which the country could not afford, and we effectively paralysed the process of privatisation.
Privatisation should have been driven by economic considerations only, but instead we allowed policy and politics to permeate it. One does not wish to detract from the meritorious nature of the social values underpinning some of such policy, yet one can also not escape the fact that the country as a whole just cannot afford to depart from the hard economic realities. The extensive privatisation of our public industries should have begun in 1995 and should have been accompanied by an extensive programme of deregulation, so that assets would not only be privatised, but also returned to free market dynamics. Instead, privatisation has become stagnant and deregulation almost non-existent in respect of the many government monopolies and duopolies.
We need a new economic vision that encompasses the courage to take tough decisions to promote economic growth at all costs. Only the IFP can provide the courage to bring about this type of vision and turn the economy around. The recent scandal of certain decisions taken on the management of South African Airways clearly shows that government should not be in the business of owning airlines, and running air planes. Nor should it allow a protracted lack of competition, where decisions are taken at a political level on matters as important as the remuneration of key personnel, and then justified through what some whispering people are now calling "collective irresponsibility". The fact is because we have a national airline, ordinary consumers end up paying more for their airfares every day and tourism suffers because of high cost internal air transport. In the end, those who suffer are the consumers, the tax-payers, and all the people of South Africa who, in the end, will not benefit because the economy is not growing rapidly enough. How many other cases are there like South African Airways? How much are they impacting on our economic growth? How many more scandals and poor corporate decision-making should be expected before it becomes accepted that business decisions belong to boards of directors not cabinet meetings?
Only a leadership of integrity can bring greater development now. South Africa cannot hope for success without a national culture of development today, at the grassroots level, within communities and in the highest levels of government. The IFP must champion this challenge and mobilise people in their homes, work-places, social venues, schools and communities. If we wish to secure economic growth in the long term, we must invest in a leadership of integrity and a Party of development. Even good governments do not create wealth, but a bad government may destroy the economy of a country in less than a term of office, and we need not travel too far, to see such an example. It may happen here and we must be committed not to allow it to happen. I am saddened when I look back at all we have achieved, only to see that some who walked with us in the liberation struggle have now changed their emphasis, and are seeking personal ambition and enrichment above the collective good. The liberation struggle was not waged in order to get a few people some smart cars. We did not engage the difficult road of transformation just to see a handful of people living in grand houses and entertaining fancy habits. This is not what I fought for all my life.
My Party is a party of integrity and must remain as such. Those who steal or are corrupt are killing our struggle for liberation. They are killing what we have all achieved during so many years. They are the enemy of the struggle. They are my enemies. I must make it very clear. I, Mangosuthu Buthelezi will not tolerate, excuse or forgive any corruption or theft, no matter how petty. This message must be conveyed very clearly to all IFP councillors and IFP leaders. Even taking pens and paper from an office is stealing. Even taking medicines from hospital dispensaries is theft. Even taking towels, linen and toilet paper from hospitals or government offices is theft, and cannot be called by any other name. Those who act in such fashion not only infringe government regulations but breach the 15th verse of Exodus which states; "YOU SHALL NOT STEAL", one of the Ten Commandments!
Our IFP civil servants should reflect on our code of ethics. It should be a shame for an IFP civil servant, official, magistrate or policeman to be involved in robbing the poorest of the poor by becoming party to the theft of old-age pension money. It is a disgrace for our salaried people to steal from the poorest of the poor. Integrity begins from recognising that what belongs to the State belongs to the State. The amendments to our Constitution have strengthened our disciplinary rules and procedures and everyone can be assured that our Party will not tolerate incompetence and corruption by our leaders. Our disciplinary committees have already been working full time and many heads have already rolled. Many more heads will roll. No matter how dear a person may be to me, no matter how high up that person may be in our political hierarchy, no matter his or her brilliant and committed previous track record in the Party and in our struggle, if one is incompetent or corrupt the axe will fall. Inkatha is on a fast march towards electoral victory.
We cannot allow the incompetence, crimes or even the peccadillos of one to detract and obfuscate the hard work, integrity and dedication of many. Whoever is caught in misconduct should have the decency to resign right away, avoiding the inevitable hard disciplinary sanction that will otherwise come. When our Party is judged, everyone zooms in on the governance in KwaZulu Natal where the IFP is governing. Therefore, we have been quite exemplary in dealing with the misconduct of even our highest office-bearers. We have handled the problems in our Department of Education with the openness and decisiveness that has become the hallmark of the quality of our governance. We demonstrated that being part of the highest echelons of our Party does not exempt one from the standards which we have set for ourselves and for everyone.
We are ready to stand by all those to fight crime wherever crime may be. Our Party supported the IFP Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts, our own Dr. Gavin Woods, who spearheaded the investigations into the so-called arms-procurement scandal. On that occasion the IFP took the firm position that in the face of such allegations we would not be part of either a cover-up or a witch-hunt. We chose the position of integrity and backed the leadership of integrity which Dr. Woods gave to this issue, especially when he rose in defence of the integrity of Parliament and its duty and responsibility to hold the Executive accountable. When push came to shove the Party stood behind him with the pride of our legacy of integrity.
Years ago people used to whisper that they were fed up with increasing crime. Government did not seem to hear their whisper, their mourning and their suffering. The IFP voiced their plight and warned again and again that crime was getting out of hand. The ruling party denied that the situation was becoming dramatic and dismissed the issue. Now those whispers have become a rising cry, screamed from all corners of South Africa. People are screaming that they are fed up with crime, and people think that the fight against crime has not been seriously prioritised by our government. They say that we should not spend enormous resources for improbable wars or military actions which we may encounter in the future. The real wars that we face as a Nation are those which are confronting us now, such as the HIV/AIDS virus which is decimating our people. We must win these wars, allocating to them the necessary resources. Crime and AIDS are killing now and deserve priority in resource allocation over any other enemy real or perceived, that faces us and the State.
The rising levels of crime in all our communities have declared war not only on the State and its institutions but also on the people of goodwill and the hard working families of South Africa. The disintegration of the moral fibre in our communities is cause for despair. It is the very basis of the high criminality facing our country at present. Last year I had the personal experience of seeing seven of my cattle stolen. They were never recovered. A few weeks ago, I lost 17 head of cattle. About twelve have been recovered, but some of them have had their ears chopped off to get rid of my markings on their ears. Some even have had their horns chopped off. I am shocked that animals would have to endure such cruelty to satisfy our people’s insatiable appetite for theft, and that such a new culture is present in my particular community. At present both the ANC and the IFP, as the largest predominantly black Parties, have set on our agenda the issue of the moral degeneration within our communities. The ANC/IFP 3-a-side Committee has indicated that this directive from Cabinet to have this bipartisan discussion, will take place.
Prioritising the fight against crime means bringing about the moral regeneration of our society and our communities. Crimes cannot be won without changing the hearts and minds of people. We need a government capable of expressing a convincing moral leadership, which turns the hearts and minds of our people around. We must realise that crime is not an abstract notion. Crime in itself does not exist. All that exists are criminal actions perpetrated by people. For too long people have been taught to kill, disobey the law and rebel. We must now turn it around and we must do it all together, beyond existing political, social or cultural divides. Directives given during the liberation struggle, such as "kill the Boers, kill the farmers", are only now beginning to bear the fruits of their indoctrination. People were ordered to steal guns from policemen and kill them, and these orders are now bearing their fruit and so many of our policemen are being murdered every day. No less than 200 policemen are murdered each year. The killing of farmers is as serious a threat to the population of South Africa as the consequences of sanctions and disinvestment which devastated the poorest amongst us. Farmers provide the bread basket of our country, and this Nation is in danger of starving to death at the rate at which farmers are being killed. We have to devise a strategy to help to counter this unfolding tragedy.
In all communities and at the highest levels of government, Inkatha has the responsibility of challenging all political parties and role-players to confront the issue of the disintegration of the moral fibre of our communities under rising levels of crime, non-payment of services, rebellion and disregard for societal values, and to bring about a moral regeneration as a national priority. We need a national campaign led by government, but capable of mobilising organs of civil society at all levels. We must accept that without such campaign the fight against crime is bound to be unproductive. We must set the guidelines and concepts to avoid this campaign from wandering in spurious directions or becoming involved in issues of personal morality or individual choices beyond the prerogative or responsibility of government or is hijacked by any vested pressure group.
The campaign for moral regeneration should be based on upholding basic and yet fundamental values of any established society which are entrenched in the law and the Constitution, such as the respect for life, private property, law and order, established authority and the institutions of government. It should propagate basic but fundamental societal values, ranging from personal responsibility to the recognition of the need to work together as communities, to assist one another, look after one another and to respond to the call of essential solidarity. In short, the very tenets of our revolution of goodwill. In this context the needs of the weaker members of our population such as the youth, women, the elderly and those who are challenged by physical and mental impediments, must be highlighted.
Everyone must now have the courage to accept that unless we identify and remove the root causes, the problem is not going to go away. We need to accept that certain stages of our liberation struggle created problems which still persist and which need to be addressed. These problems were created because our warnings were not heeded. People were taught that it was acceptable to kill, intimidate, destroy property, rebel, refuse to pay for public service and utilise violence as a tool of personal expression and for political action. It is difficult to explain to them how those actions were acceptable then, but should not be acceptable now, when the need which prompted people to employ such actions, still remain unfulfilled. Our people struggled for better conditions of life and rightly equated the cause of freedom with that of social justice. Therefore, they were taught to kill and to bring about disruption and rebellion in the name of the struggle for a better life, and were told that this was acceptable and desirable. I tried to warn in vain against the programme that was proclaimed as a liberation agenda "to make the country ungovernable". I said then that if we made the country and townships "ungovernable" these would remain ungovernable even when we were in charge after liberation. That is exactly what happened.
Some people must now have the courage to bite the bullet not only to tell them that this type of conduct is wrong now, but also to admit that it was wrong then, and that those who advocated it then, were wrong. It will be difficult for some leaders to repudiate and criticise their own past and what they taught, but if they do not have the courage to give the required example and leadership, how can we expect ordinary people on the ground to have the motivation and moral fortitude to change their entrenched ways? Leaders must repent and change so that we can turn the country around. Unless the Government as a whole distances itself from the armed struggle and the violence of the 80's and early 90's, it will be difficult to bring about a new culture for which people become responsible for their action, work within the community and reject forever the ways of crime and rebellion. If we do not do it, most of the efforts of our government will be frustrated.
We need integrity, integrity and integrity. Integrity of policy, integrity of resolve and integrity of willpower when dealing with crime, the moral regeneration of our communities and the fight against HIV/AIDS. We must be firm and not wishy-washy. We must do things the right way and by the book, without falling prey to the self-deluding dream that the facts do not count or do not matter. Crime does not go away by ignoring or suppressing crime statistics. HIV/AIDS cannot be treated by us ignoring the hard facts of this epidemic virus. The politics of the ostrich which buries its head in the sand when confronted with terror, lacks integrity and cannot save our people from HIV/AIDS and the high levels of criminality which are threatening their lives. It cannot get the economy right, or save our people from poverty and unemployment, which limits their potential for human upliftment and a better life.
We have been proven right over and over again and those who have not listened to us have set our country back on its path of development. We were right when we promoted and advocated federalism as the best form of government. We now see how the difficulties of governance are the consequences of having an obsolete unitary-state civil service which has become more part of the problem than part of the solution. In our leadership of integrity, we remain unrepentant federalists, now more than ever. We believe that provinces should do more, and we will continue to fight for them. In our stand, we know that we are speaking not only for KwaZulu Natal but also for all those other provinces which cannot make their voices heard because of fear of upsetting their political masters. We must free provinces and make them finally responsible for the long list of subject matters which the Constitution entrusts to them, and in respect of which they have never developed their own unique policies and legislation. They must grow into their own adulthood and take back their competencies from the usurpation of the national government, putting an end to the present situation of tutelage.
Provinces should no longer be told what to do and what not to do by their bosses in Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg, but must now grow into becoming their own bosses, becoming finally accountable to the people who elected them. All provinces need our courage to regain their integrity of functions and to begin providing their own original contribution to the formula of development. At this juncture the autonomy of Provinces is in danger. One of the Premiers has actually made a public statement that provinces must be abolished. Just a few days ago the South African Non-Governmental Organisations made a similar suggestion. This is the time for those of us who are federalists to stand and be counted. It will be tragic if even the present imitations of "autonomy" of provinces were to be abolished, and if devolution of powers as a concept were in such fashion, to be buried forever.
We need integrity and courage and a leadership which keeps its promises. It is nothing less than irresponsible that the many promises made to traditional leaders have not yet been fulfilled. For years we have warned of this crisis. Now the crisis is upon us, and no solution seems to be in sight. The clash between the powers and functions of municipalities and the local government powers and functions of traditional authorities is of such a nature and extent that it may devastate the matrix of our society and government in rural areas. The municipal councillors of our Party rightly decided of their own accord that they could not exercise their statutory powers and functions unless the clash with those of traditional authorities has been solved. No one who really understands the nature of the problems should be surprised that such an action was taken, for it is almost a natural and inescapable consequence of the issues confronting us. Development in rural areas will be impaired if traditional authorities are undermined, and not allowed to provide their fundamental contribution towards joint developmental efforts.
No responsible councillors who respect the institution of traditional leadership and the way our traditional communities operate, could see their way clear to exercising powers and functions which disrupt and subvert our laws on customs and traditions. The fact that a similar action has not been taken in other parts of the country is no indication that the problem does not exist to the same extent there. We have warned government but they are not listening, and they are not realising that the problem is more serious in areas outside KwaZulu Natal where elected councillors seem less sensitive and, therefore, the clash between municipalities and traditional leaders is going to be more strident and more conflict prone. In fact, everywhere, strong undercurrents and complex unresolved conflict-ridden interactions have already silently begun undermining the fabric of traditional communities and rural local governments alike, and very few people in government have had the integrity to face up to this issue.
Government lawyers and independent consultants alike have recognised that the problem can only be solved through a constitutional amendment, which government repeatedly promised to bring about but never even considered. Traditional leaders have often invited government to be honest and have more integrity and, if it is the case, declare that it is not its intention to recognise or preserve any local government powers or functions in traditional authorities. It is better to say openly and with integrity that government wishes to cut off traditional authorities completely from local governance, including developmental initiatives. It is untenable that on the one hand, government continues to portray itself as the protector of the institution of traditional authorities while, on the other, in all its policies it completely ignores their developmental functions and capacity, to the point of making almost no mention of the actual and potential role of traditional authorities in its integrated and sustained rural development strategy. This issue is a matter of integrity and a matter of development!
Traditional leaders received a number of commitments from government which have come from the highest levels of the State and have been formulated in the most detailed and unequivocal language. On May 16, 2000 the President indicated to us in writing his willingness to amend the Constitution. He then restated over and over again in writing and in public fora that he is committed to restoring and/or preserving the local government powers and functions of traditional authorities. He committed himself to do so in the National Council of Provinces, and he promised to traditional leaders to do so when we accepted not to raise our objection to the declaration of the local government elections date, which promise was carefully minuted. Government went even further and in greater detail in making promises and commitments, for on November 30, 2000 in consideration of traditional leaders waiving their objection to the holding of elections in their areas, it was specifically agreed that Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution would be amended to provide traditional authorities with local government powers. Plenty of promises and commitments have been made, but government has thus far taken none of the obvious actions related to their implementation.
The President established a Technical Committee consisting, inter alia, of government lawyers and experts, which made very detailed proposals on how the problem could be solved, to the point of drafting the relevant amendments to the Constitution and the applicable legislation. This document, which became know as "Annexure E", was never considered further by government, which never indicated why it should not be implemented and what government’s policy or technical reservations about it were, if any. "Annexure E" was designed to provide a solution which could be implemented before the local government elections. We recognised that after such elections it becomes more difficult to unscramble the egg, as was repeatedly pointed out to the competent Minister and the President at the time. However, if there is the political will to do so, such an exercise is not an impossible one. There must now be sufficient integrity to reach agreement on the need to restructure the local government model to provide for a role for traditional authorities along the lines suggested in "Annexure E", so that ways and means can be found to bring about such result progressively, and through a pre-agreed process.
Government has not yet made any effort known to anyone to consider or develop amendments to the Constitution which can make legislation along the lines of "Annexure E" or any other proposal constitutionally permissible. After November 30, when government committed itself to amend the Constitution, traditional leaders took it upon themselves to draft simple and short amendments to Chapters 7 and 12 which would enable, but not even mandate, national legislation to give local government powers and functions to traditional authorities. These amendments were conveyed to government on January 16, 2001, and during further discussion on several occasions traditional leaders called government’s attention to them. However, government has not even replied or commented in any way on such proposals. The unwillingness to engage traditional leaders or any other role-players and stakeholders in detailed or even in-principle discussions on the text of a constitutional amendment, is a clear indication of government’s unwillingness to find a solution to this problem, which everyone recognises cannot be solved without a constitutional amendment. It is obvious that some people either no longer care or just do not have sufficient leadership capacity, to deal with hard and tough issues.
Too many people feel that the struggle for liberation is over, and have become complacent. This is lack of integrity. The struggle for liberation has only but begun, and we cannot win it unless the country finally receives the leadership of leaders who walk with the people. There is so much to do, and so little time to do it. There is no time for leaders to play golf, have braais by the side of swimming pools, or travel abroad on parliamentary trips, only to shake hands with leaders of countries which have already achieved the levels of security and prosperity we are struggling towards. Development must become a personal obsession pursued by our leaders at all times. In fact, we must consider the full range of aspects and dimensions which the issue of development assumes and in respect of which the IFP is to provide its historical leadership. There is physical development of the territory in terms of roads and infrastructures. There is development of the economy in terms of productive capacity. And there is also development of the skills and the human potential of our people.
Within their own context, our IFP leaders and our revolutionaries of goodwill must provide their contribution to bringing about development. We can develop the economy by increasing productivity and deciding to take full advantage of any available opportunity for training and human growth. However, one of the most important aspects of development which unfortunately is not sufficiently emphasized, is that of human development. If our democracy is to move from its infancy into its age of adulthood, our people, social dynamics and cultural horizons must do the same. We must pursue the path of growth of our renaissance, which prompts each individual to grow out of the existing context of his and her social conditions to broaden his or her horizons. People must grow by overcoming fear, superstition and the feeling of impotence. People must grow by becoming individually responsible, individually self-reliant and individually motivated. People must grow by seeking and metabolizing any opportunity for additional knowledge, exposure and information. People must grow by questioning what they know, to discover what they do not know. People must grow by seeking the new, embracing with optimism the notion that what is new will indeed be better than what is old, and that tomorrow will be better than today. We must grow out of the pessimism which has characterized much of our mind-set, to embrace the optimism of a new country in the making. We must eradicate pessimism from our communities, families, work-places and most of all, from our minds and souls.
Our social conditions of life are terrible and often abject beyond description and human endurance. Even under those conditions, the IFP must promote the will to make all things flourish as part of our revolution of goodwill, because only through optimism, courage and determination, will social and economic conditions improve. We can spend as much money as we want, using as much resources as needed, but until we change the mind-set from pessimism to optimism, development will not flourish. We must be self-reliant and self-motivated. Inkatha must carry the historical role of promoting this type of human development through its revolution of goodwill, because it is foundational to anything we may do, or dream of doing. Without it, training programs will not succeed because people will not have the confidence to learn what they can, and change their ways from the old to the new, from the tried to the untried. Let us free the minds of our people, especially our youth, and a new and better world will emerge. Let us enhance individual human dignity to ensure that all our children may walk tall and proud, carrying on their faces and posture the features of self-confidence. Fear, subordination, oppression and Afro-pessimism must stop here. Through Inkatha the dawn of a new, open, self-confident and optimistic society is now to usher in the dream of our renaissance.
I have stated repeatedly over the years that the hardest part of our struggle will only begin after we have won our political emancipation. Everything which you have seen in the past seven years confirms this. Everything that I have said to you today also confirms this fact. There is no doubt that unemployment is going to be with us for this whole generation. As I have done in the past, I wish to remind our members of the twin pillars of our IFP philosophy of "self-help" and "self-reliance". Even just to survive until such time as things can be anywhere near normal in South Africa. we need to go all out to set up self-help projects. I wish to appeal to all our people to aim even for that subsistence economy which existed in rural areas some time ago.
The national Government has a well set out plan for integrated and sustained rural development, but even this plan alone cannot really counter the ravages of extreme poverty that our people face in both rural and urban areas. We need to welcome what the national Government in trying to do, but we need to augment these efforts with our own self-help projects. I remember that before liberation, when I mentioned this notion, a number of people ridiculed me saying "Buthelezi is telling us a cock-and-bull story when he says that we must liberate ourselves by cultivating cabbage gardens". I would think that freedom from hunger is the most compelling of all human freedoms, for there is nothing one can do, nor can one properly think on an empty stomach. Let us re-start a green revolution in rural areas. Let every piece of arable land be cultivated. Let us mobilise our meagre savings and let us start small co-operatives. Co-operatives and mobilisation of savings can also take place in our urban areas.
As I stated earlier, the Province of KwaZulu Natal is the area in which our Party will be judged, since the IFP is at the helm in the Province. One of the major handicaps to our revolution of goodwill in the Province is that there are obstacles to the revolution taking off in any significant way between the two parties in the government coalition. I applaud the ANC/IFP Committee of 3-a-side which has done many things each time the reconciliation train of the ANC-IFP in KwaZulu Natal was getting off the rails, which has happened many times since 1994.
Any careful observer reading the print media and watching the electronic media in the Province can see that all is not well in the state of Denmark. The manner in which some of the spokespersons of the ANC have expressed themselves in respect of the problems in the leadership of the Department of Education in this Province, clearly indicates the extent to which every hiccup involving IFP Ministers is blown out of proportion by those who speak for the ANC, in an effort to gain political mileage out of it. It is not the kind of pettiness one expects from Parties in a coalition, and this is but the tip of the iceberg. This in itself should inspire our members to work as hard as possible to strengthen our Party and to mobilise even more than ever before. Clearly in itself, the existence of the coalition government in this Province cannot make governance work.
My own participation in the national Government has had its problems in the past year. I have persevered in many instances, and have done so for the sake of the joint efforts which with President Mbeki, we have undertaken to promote and consolidate reconciliation, and which we have jointly nursed since the beginning. I started serving in the Government of National Unity in 1994 and did so until 1999, and thereafter President Mbeki asked me to continue serving in his government after the expiry of the Government of National Unity in June 1999. I am sometimes optimistic about the success of this experiment, but at times there are things I have had to endure which make me despondent about any possible success. We have a difficult row to hoe for the sake of the people of South Africa and for the sake of peace and stability. We desperately need these efforts if the country will ever go forward towards economic success and prosperity.
Any real or perceived political instability in KwaZulu Natal, which has the largest population in South Africa, will not attract investments into our country. It must be borne in mind that this Province was after all the theatre of the war of attrition that took place between ANC and IFP members, which cost all of us more than 20,000 lives. This Province remains a powder-keg and we must be sincere in our efforts to bring about real reconciliation and peace between our people in this province. We have a duty on both sides to ensure that nothing that we do or fail to do, ever re-kindles those flames of death and destruction. I see a lack of real sincerity to achieve reconciliation in this Province. If you do not believe me, look at some of the careless and provocative utterances of some of our provincial politicians, which have appeared in the media.
During this Conference, we are re-launching our Party to assert our quest for a new and better leadership for the whole country. We are re-launching our Party’s Constitution which has been extensively overhauled. We have enhanced the federal aspects of our Party’s structure to prepare for our endeavours across the national territory. We are not only changing our Constitution, but also our attitude towards it. For too long we have had a good Constitution which was, however, not fully implemented and in many respects remained dead letter. Now we are not only transforming a good Constitution into a much better one, but we are also expressing our firm commitment to fully implement the new Constitution which this Annual General Conference will finally adopt.
The adopting of the revamped Constitution by this Conference must be the opportunity to transform each and every structure of our Party, to comply not only with the letter but also with the spirit of the new Constitution. This structural transformation must go hand in hand with the political growth of our Party and a new wave of political mobilisation. From now on, more than ever before, the Inkatha Freedom Party will belong to its leaders, to its members and to its supporters. Too often our detractors dismiss the Inkatha Freedom Party by stating that I, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, am the IFP, and the IFP is Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Every time they say so, our detractors insult all of you and our thousands and thousands of leaders and millions of members and supporters. This Conference is the opportunity to prove how wrong they really are. Anyone who attends any of our National Council meetings will realise what utter rubbish it is to dismiss the IFP with this kind of disparagement.
The Party belongs to all of you. Our Constitution, which is now before you, belongs to all of you, for you to amend and adopt as you wish. The implementation of our Constitution belongs to all of you. Our future belongs to all of you, who walk with the people, not ahead of them, not behind them, but step by step with them. Inkatha is growing. We are joined daily by more and more aligning themselves with the revolution of goodwill. The dire circumstances of our country are causing some people to lie down and give up. But those who love South Africa are rising up to take a stand with Inkatha and through Inkatha. We are drawing our energy from the spirit of goodwill that motivates South Africans to act now to see development, instead of further decline. The dynamo of Inkatha is the will of the people to survive and prosper. Inkatha shall grow for as long as the people of goodwill have the spirit to fight for something better. There is plenty of fire in our bellies and more is to be ignited. If there is none in yours, it is flowing in mine. It is the fire in the belly of fierce people of South Africa who deserve a better future. All South Africans share a common heritage of courage, survival and fire in their belly. The fire is on. We shall survive and prosper. The time of Inkatha and the time of Mangosuthu Buthelezi is still to come and is coming fast. The IFP is forever.
Long live the IFP, long live the Elephant!
Eendrag maak mag!
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