KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Pietermaritzburg: 11 August 2011
At the launch of the ANC's Centenary
celebrations at Constitution Hill on the 15th July 2011, IFP
President Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi declared that the IFP was
joining the ruling party's centennial celebrations cognisant of
the roots that our party has in its own roots in the events of 8
January 1912. We are indeed proud of this shared heritage,
for we, unlike the ANC itself, have throughout our existence as
a political movement, remained true to the original message of
When Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi founded
Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe, the National Cultural Liberation
Movement, in 1975, we made it clear that Inkatha was structured
on the ideals of the African National Native Congress as
propounded by its founding fathers in 1912. We have remained
more loyal to these ideals, more than any other liberation
As an expression of our common heritage, in
September 1984 Inkatha erected a tombstone in honour of the late
Dr Pixley ka Seme, who was Prince Buthelezi's uncle and the
founder of the ANC. The tombstone was built on his grave in
Johannesburg. We unveiled it with great dignity on 14 September
Before Inkatha was founded, Prince Buthelezi
consulted with Mr Oliver Tambo, who was then the President of
the African National Congress, and he supported the founding of
such a membership based organisation. When Prince Buthelezi was
summoned to Pretoria by the then Minister of Police, Minister
Jimmy Kruger, in September 1977, he presented a memorandum in
which we made it quite clear that Inkatha was founded on the
ideals of the ANC.
History records that Mr Tambo and our leader,
Prince Buthelezi, remained in constant contact during Mr Tambo's
time as President of the ANC-in-exile and consulted on many
important issues. In October of 1979 delegations of our two
parties met in London and held discussions for two and half days
on the thorny issues of international sanctions and the call for
disinvestment and the beginning of an armed struggle.
Our delegations could not reach agreement.
Instead, Inkatha made it clear that we would adhere to the
principle of the founding fathers of the ANC that our liberation
struggle be conducted through non-violence. That is why we claim
today that we, not the ANC, are the true representatives of the
events of 1912. By the same token, it is without any qualms that
we believe the centenary of the founding of the ANC is a
celebration that involves the IFP as well, and the whole
liberation struggle even by other political formations.
It is most unfortunate that our two
organisations have not reached full reconciliation to this day.
As far as we are concerned, endless efforts have been made to
broach the issue of reconciliation between the IFP and the ANC
and many promises have been made, but not yet kept by leaders of
the ruling party.
Instead of reconciliation, numerous insults
have emanated from the ranks of the ANC Youth League, most
notably from Mr Julius Malema and Mr Bheki Mtolo. These insults are probably the product of a
general lack of information about the IFP's role in the struggle
for the liberation of our country, combined with a lack of
tolerance towards opposition emanating within the ranks of the
ANC. This sad state of affairs is also a reflection on the
calibre of leadership of the ANC's youth wing today.
Notwithstanding all these difficulties, the
IFP is part and parcel of the centennial of the ANC by virtue of
a history that cannot be changed. For this reason, when the
ANC's National Chairperson, Ms Baleka Mbete, invited the IFP
President to attend the July 15 launch of the centennial
celebrations of the ANC, he readily agreed.
This centennial is too important an occasion
to deal only with the past, and not also with the future. If the
centennial fails to address outstanding issues amongst our
parties and within our society, a great opportunity will be
The centennial celebration must therefore
offer the opportunity to complete the process of reconciliation
between the IFP and the ANC and to rectify the record of history
from the many distortions and downright falsehoods created in
the eighties and kept alive even today.
There are also other fractures within society
that the remembrance of 1912 ought to heal. The ANC should
revisit the foundations upon which it was established as a
liberation movement and base its future policies on them.
We truly wonder what the founding fathers of
the ANC would make of the ANC's persistent failure to address
widespread poverty, unemployment, crime and corruption in our
country since 1994 when it won political power and with it an
opportunity to realise the vision of 1912.
I thank you.
Contact: Mr Blessed Gwala, 083 693 4600