Meeting Of The Zululand District Local House Of Traditional Leaders
Remarks By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Chairperson: Zululand District Local House Of Traditional Leaders


 

Ulundi 9 December 2011

 

Today we are wrapping up the year in the sense that we are gathered here for the last meeting of this House this year.

 

The year has been a hectic one not only for me but also for Amakhosi. We have not only been engaged in meetings of this House but we have had several meetings of Amakhosi that were convened by the MEC of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and some were convened by her jointly with the Premier.

 

There has for me been unpleasant episodes when I have had to seek legal opinion because of the manner we are treated by the Provincial Government and by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in particular. On more than one occasion we were invited to convene as the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders in Pietermaritzburg and on another occasion in Pinetown. I made it clear that I will not attend any further meetings of the Provincial House outside Ulundi.

 

It is the present Provincial Government who, when they passed the Provincial Law No 5 of 2005, stated that the Provincial House will meet in Ulundi. So it is their own legislation and it is not me wanting us to meet in Ulundi, the law passed by the ANC government says so. So when we were again being invited as the Provincial House to meet in Pietermaritzburg, I asked my lawyers to take the matter to the High Court as I was not prepared to go to Pietermaritzburg in spite of their own legislation which states that the House will convene in Ulundi. As a result of me taking up this matter, my lawyers discussed the matter with the provincial government's lawyers and the government lawyers advised them that we were right. So the matter was postponed.

 

Now there is another issue on the table and that is the issue of the election of Traditional Councils. My Deputy told me that the days for registration for voting by members of our clans were fixed. And this was not in accordance with their own regulations. Furthermore, the date of the election for Traditional Councils was also fixed. I think it was to be the 25th of last month. That also was in complete disregard of the regulations which they themselves have promulgated.

 

I took up the matter once again with my lawyers who pointed out to me that the arrangements for the Traditional Councils were not in accordance with the regulations. There was a request to see me by the Department's lawyer and I did not see why they should see me and I declined. They then suggested another date for registration and again I felt that this was not sufficient time. The truth of the matter as I see it is that our MEC is very poorly advised by his officials. And the truth of the matter is that her officials are high handed and they treat Amakhosi with the arrogance and high-handedness that the Zulu people have endured from colonial times right through the apartheid era.

 

My Deputy was given very short notice to suggest registration stations and when he approached the officials with suggestions of more registration stations he was told by those officials that the acceptance times for other polling stations were already closed. This was a mystery to me and I asked my lawyers to express dissatisfaction because from the very outset the lawyers had made it clear that we would take the matter to the High Court if they did not meet us halfway by complying with their own regulations. They then announced one extra date and I made it clear through the lawyers that while I appreciated them trying to do something to correct the matter, I still felt that the time was not enough for such registrations. So the matter rests there but it may end up in the High Court.

 

I want to make one thing very clear. I have done everything to cooperate with the government both at provincial level and at national level. It is not my intention to be always adversarial in dealing with the government at both these levels. But I have a gut feeling that with the majorities that the ANC government has at both provincial and national level, they regard their majority as licence to treat Amakhosi and those who are not members of their Party with disdain.

 

From 1994, my intention was that although some of us like myself are in opposition parties, my Party will be a loyal opposition. We will support government where it is right and reserve the right to disagree with government when it is wrong. In all the actions that I have just mentioned I have not acted as the leader of an opposition party. But I am just an aggrieved Inkosi, who thinks that the government is not playing it fair with us and that their dealings with us have not been in good faith. I can elaborate on this at great length, starting from the failure of the national government to heed our request when we requested them to do something about the obliteration of the powers and functions of Amakhosi by the Municipal Structures Act and other subsequent legislation. We were deceived by the government through an agreement that sections 7 and 12 of the Constitution would be amended. Something they have dodged doing since the year 2000.

 

The whole issue of the institution of Traditional Leadership has not been honestly addressed in the last 17 years. There has been legislation, but take for instance the Provincial Legislation No 5 of 2005 on Traditional Leadership. It is absolutely silent on the issue of the powers and functions of Traditional Leaders. It does not provide for budgets for Traditional Councils, for Local Houses of Traditional Leaders, for Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders and for the National House of Traditional Leaders.

 

I am very much aware of all kinds of inducements that were used to ensure that I do not continue to serve as Chairman of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders. I am very much aware of individuals that are being used even now to have me removed as Chairperson of this Zululand District Local House of Traditional Leaders. I am aware of the collusion to do so, between some leaders of the ANC and the NFP.  

 

I know that some of you have been approached in this connection, Buthelezi must be got rid off from these traditional structures so that the-powers-that-be can be able to ensure that Amakhosi live in the Fools' Paradise where the government intends them to stay. I am very much aware of this. To be quite frank, I do not care how Amakhosi react to these inducements in order to ensure that I am got rid of from all these traditional structures. God and my ancestors know that I have tried to serve my country and my people with honesty and dedication for more than 60 years. And my conscience is clear that I have done everything to promote my people's best interests with diligence and dedication regardless of my age.

 

I feel that as we wrap up the year I must make this statement for the record and for posterity whatever you decide to do as some of you are being wooed to betray me by getting rid of me as your Chairman. If these plans succeed, I want just everyone to know that I will leave with a clear conscience that I did all that I did to the best of my ability and without any intention of advancing my personal interests.

 

I shall, as long as God has given me life, continue to stand against injustice from whichever quarter it may come from. Being not the Chairman of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders and of this House does not strip me of my rights as the citizen of this country. I shall stand for all my constitutional rights and those of my people, including Amakhosi. Being just Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan does not strip me of my locus standi in judicio. As long as we have our courts and the Constitution stands as it is, I will not rest until the end of my days.

 

I wish Amakhosi every blessing during Christmas and a better year than all the 17 years where we have as an institution been no more than a political football. You are free to do whatever your consciences tell you to do.  We will now deal with items as they appear on the programme unless anyone wishes to say anything about the short remarks that I have just made. If not, we will proceed and do the next item on the programme.

 

My family on both my mother's side and on my father's side have served the Zulu Nation with commitment and dedication and I shall continue to do so as long as there is still life in me. I have done everything that I have done in the best interests of the institution of the monarchy and in the best interests of the institution of Ubukhosi. I had nothing to gain for myself.

 

The only days I shall remember for the rest of my life is the day when Inkosi of Mgazini, Inkosi Ntshangase suggested that we should have an informal meeting as this House. I cannot forget to thank Inkosi for that historic contribution that he made.