National Assembly Debate on the 2011 State of the Nation Address
Response by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party

National Assembly: 15 February 2011 

Within the opening moments of the State of the Nation Address, the President indicated that his administration is building on the foundation laid by former President Nelson Mandela. In certain respects, this is true. But in one fundamental way, that foundation is being quietly eroded and systematically destroyed. If I fail to point this out, I will find myself complicit in our country's failure.

Quoting President Mandela's inaugural address of 1994, in which he called on South Africa to work together, the President admitted that Government cannot achieve its goals alone. I applaud the President for announcing this as the year for job creation, and I concur with his intention to rope in the private sector and other components of our society. One must compliment the President for placing the focus on resolving this most dire crisis.

In the past we have tended to rely too heavily on the Expanded Public Works Programme, which has created temporary jobs, rather than a sustainable employment blueprint. We need to become serious about addressing job creation, by working together as a team across all spheres. This will require a measured attitude adjustment within Government, and the courage to reconsider our hostile labour laws.

If we want to create jobs, we must create industries which are viable in the long term and do not require a constant stream of State subsidies to survive. Unless this is done, South Africa will remain a welfare State, rather than the developmental state we dream of. The inescapable reality of a welfare state is that it cannot survive in the long run.

I agree that we need to seek wisdom from President Mandela's words in 1994, not by taking sound bites that suit our rhetoric, but by taking to heart the message of national reconciliation. President Mandela and I, as the leaders of our respective parties, did our utmost to achieve reconciliation. We worked together for the sake of unity and peace, knowing that our example would be emulated and the message of reconciliation would filter down to grassroots communities, where violence and conflict had been the norm for too many years.

I believe that when government does the right thing, the people will follow.

I worked with President Mandela in the Government of National Unity, and supported the work of our country's leadership. Even when President Mbeki dropped me from his Cabinet, I continued to support the work of Government.

Last year, during this State of the Nation debate, I confirmed again that I would support our President, because I know that his failure would be the failure of our country.

President Mandela laid a foundation for reconciliation. I have given my heart and soul to reconciliation. Yet, under President Zuma's leadership, reconciliation has been muscled off the agenda. This is not an easy criticism to make. But I have committed myself to speak truth to power, regardless of how unpopular it might make me. And at this time in our history, it is no longer a question of popularity or diplomacy. There comes a time when it is necessary to simply speak the truth. 

I have been criticized and ridiculed for what some call a diversionary tactic, when I complain that some leaders within the ANC are deeply embroiled in the rift that developed in my Party, which eventually led to the split of our former National Chairperson and the formation of a new party. But I am not one to cry wolf, particularly when tensions between the ANC and IFP contain the nascent threat of taking us back to a time of violence and bloodshed.

I know that even my mention of this will be misinterpreted. Before the eruption of the internecine low intensity civil war that raged in this country between supporters of the ANC and IFP, I repeatedly warned that we were heading for disaster. The ANC's determined pursuit of political hegemony threw our communities into turmoil and tensions were mounting. But whenever I spoke about the imminence of violence, I was labelled a warmonger; as though I could make the future happen simply by predicting it.

I pray that is not the case. Because I stand before you today predicting that if our leadership does not honestly commit to reconciliation, democracy in South Africa will perish.

There is clear evidence that leaders of the ANC have provided their political assistance, massive financial resources and moral support to the efforts to destroy the IFP and oust me as its Leader.

Some may think this has nothing to do with the state of the nation address, or how we regard the ANC as the ruling Party and Mr Zuma as our President.

Yet it is part and parcel of how we as a nation are to read, receive and believe in what was said last Thursday. Can Mr Zuma be trusted as the President of South Africa while he is distrusted as the President of the ANC? Can we believe his commitment to democracy while he is involved in undermining it at grassroots level?

On the 16th of July 2010, I met with the President at his home in Durban. He advised me that, due to the ructions in my Party, I should step down as the Leader of the IFP. I respect our President as the Head of State and thus took no exception to his suggestion. Yet I replied that his advice would carry more weight were it not for the ANC's role in our problems.

I told the President of the extensive evidence I have of the ANC manipulating the internal democratic processes within the IFP and utilizing dirty trick techniques to undermine them. Massive money was changing hands, promises were made and violence was again resorted to, to subjugate people or elicit their allegiance.

I mentioned public remarks made by the Minister of Human Settlements, Minister Tokyo Sexwale, that the IFP was persecuting its National Chairperson. I also pointed to interference by the ANC Women's League in KwaZulu Natal, particularly Mrs Gcabashe. The President seemed surprised by what I was relating to him, although these were documented incidents, covered by the media.

He committed to confer with the Deputy President, the Honourable Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, that they might reproach Minister Sexwale together.

Yet on the 18th of August 2010, I met with Deputy President Motlanthe, and he was taken by surprise by the things I told him. The President had not apprised him of our conversation. They had not discussed it at all.

Matters had deteriorated since my meeting with the President, as members of the ANC Women's League had taken advantage of the Women's Parliament hosted by the KwaZulu Natal Legislature, to hurl insults at me and declare their support for Mrs Zanele kaMagwaza Msibi. They sang, "Zanele is ours", and asked what kind of a man is afraid of a woman. This was not done behind closed doors, but in the public eye.

The Deputy President expressed deep concern over this incendiary behaviour by the ANC. Thus, when I attended the launch of the Local Government Elections on the 12th of January this year, I asked the Deputy President what progress had been made in resolving these problems. The short answer is; none. I cannot help but wonder how serious the President's advice to me was on the 16th of July last year. What do I make of what has happened since then?

When Mrs kaMagwaza Msibi took the IFP to court in November last year, she was supported by hordes of ANC members, such as Pastor Vusi Dube, in Pietermaritzburg. Since she lost that court case and launched her own party, violence has escalated. The violence stirred up by the "Friends of VZ", who supported Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi in destroying the IFP, took its toll. Now the "Friends of VZ" have officially become the NFP and some ANC leaders are bankrolling their campaign.

The tensions are mounting. People have died in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal. On Sunday we buried IFP Councilor Mr Simon Shange, who was assassinated in Mandeni.

The rift that opened in the IFP may have begun with Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi's personal ambition. But certain ANC leaders saw the fracture, took up a chisel, and dealt a terrible blow to the IFP. They did it with money and propaganda. They did it to finally destroy their old opponent. And they did it while laughing at me, believing they had finally defeated Buthelezi.

My question, looking back on 17 years of democracy, and even further back to the role I played in the liberation of this country, is why some people are still intent on destroying me and the IFP. How can a weakened opposition possibly bode well for democracy in South Africa?

The ANC's Premier in KwaZulu Natal, who is also the leader of the ANC in KwaZulu Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has arrogantly proclaimed that the IFP must not drag the ANC into its problems. Yet Dr Mkhize knows well who dragged these problems into the IFP. He himself was seen by several people meeting with Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi before she made the decision to tear away from the IFP. It is disingenuous of the ANC to claim that evidence of their interference in the IFP is bogus and counterfeit.

This was their cry when a copy of what was alleged to be ANC minutes was anonymously sent to my office, in which the ANC's support of Mrs kaMawaza-Msibi was clearly spelled out. Now I have received another copy of what is purportedly "strictly confidential and sensitive information". I want to put it on record and will read it in its entirety -

"It has been resolved that local ANC Branches in all KZN Districts must ensure that Mrs Zanele Magwaza Msibi is receiving enough support as well as protection where ever or whatever area she visit.

Members of the ANC throughout the province need to be alert and aware that our rivals Inkatha Freedom Party has a history of defeating the odds and win back their ravaged areas. Therefore, the ANC President is calling on all comrades to be cautious not to take their road mobilization and recruitment lightly especially within Inkatha strong holds. Because Inkatha has strong strategic values as proclaimed by Comrade Magwaza Msibi during the briefing on the 5th December 2010

I have a concern about Mr. Vithi that he is an asthmatic person, the NEC has suggested that the comrades must select someone else to lead the M.K. members around KZN for the protection of both the ANC as well as Magwaza Msibi.

I have approached the Umtata Comrades to send us an alternative comrade to Empangeni Team.

It has been reported that some members of Inkatha especially in Zululand are mobilizing and planning for the let down of Mrs Magwaza Msibi, in her endeavors to campaign in Zululand and surrounding areas. Comrades, Phindiwe Solani will control the secret funding of such operations by comrade Vithis' Team. No comrade will be allowed to brief or answer any questions from the media except comrade Sizakele Dyantyi from Umzimkhulu, because comrade Magwaza Msibi together with the PEC members had already concluded a deal with one of the KZN newspapers to ensure that no negatively is published against Magwaza Msibi because that will hamper her efforts to get more [people] members from the IFP. The incentives for this media editor have already been handed over.

Comrades we have to coerce a number of journalists into our bag otherwise if we fail Inkatha will rise stronger than before.

After the launch by Magwaza Msibi the NEC will assess the situation and decide whether to put more funds in her efforts or she should just be asked to stand on her own or dissolve the new name and wear the ANC cap without any conditions from her [Magwaza Msibi]. The last briefing will take place at the South Coast Sun Hotel on the 5th day of February 2011. The security has already been arranged for that date and for [Magwaza Msibi].

Comrades 'Mayiwe' Inkatha 'Mayiwe'


What am I supposed to make of this?

And what am I to think of sworn affidavits from the Mayor, the Speaker and the Caucus Chairperson of Umvoti Municipality attesting to the fact that, during a Selection Committee meeting on the 1st of February, ANC Councilor PG Mavundla said that he had given financial assistance to the "Friends of VZ" and was now funding the new National Freedom Party.

As Your Excellency knows, Councilor PG Mavundla is the Chairperson of the ANC in the Bhambatha Region and a close confidante of both the President and the Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The Mayor of Umvoti states, "Clr PG Mavundla then offered me some money should I follow others [to the National Freedom Party] and even offered me the Diplomatic Post either at China or India." The Speaker states that he heard Councilor Mavundla "stating that he had paid for the accommodation of National Freedom Party members at the Battlefields Lodge, in Dundee."

I have approached the President, and I have waited for his response, and I have seen that there is no genuine will to stop the patronage of certain ANC leaders in what is supposed to be the final assault on the IFP.

I admire former President Nelson Mandela. He had the integrity to be honest.

In April 2002 he said, "We have used every ammunition to destroy [Buthelezi], but we have failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him." I admire his honesty. I wish that today's leaders were indeed building on the foundation President Mandela laid; for he recognized the role the IFP played in our liberation and he grasped the role we have to play in the strengthening of our young democracy.

South Africa's democracy is on the threshold of adulthood. We are a generation away from our painful past. Yet when the President of our country stands before the nation and urges everyone to participate in building a stronger, healthier, safer and more prosperous democracy; does his invitation include opposition parties?

Quoting President Mandela's words has no meaning when President Zuma has become part and parcel of destroying the IFP. In her book Chasing the Rainbow: South Africa's Move from Mandela to Zuma, Dr Anthea Jeffrey highlights how the ANC regards opposition parties as illegitimate and unnecessary. To the ANC, we are little more than an obstacle to the success of their 'national democratic revolution'.

Why is it so important to the ANC to destroy the IFP and push Buthelezi out of politics? Why is the ANC, with a 66% majority, so obsessed with me; at my age? I am obviously a stumbling block, but on which road? Perhaps I am a stumbling block on the road towards the ANC's intended and long planned national revolution, or a one-party state.

I cannot endorse the ANC's dream of redressing the many imbalances of our society without paying any cost. To create jobs, we must pay the social cost of creating maximum flexibility in the labour market. To create a new industrial basis, we must accept the political cost of displeasing the trade unions, curbing expectations and being honest with our people.

Our people can be patient, but they have a low tolerance for lies. If the ANC wishes to nationalise mines, it should say so openly, without playing semantic games between "owning" and "controlling" mines and minerals. There is no reason to believe that Government can do a better job extracting and selling minerals than the private sector can. Neither can the ANC use the State to reach for control of our country's strategic minerals, to hand it over to foreign potentates in secret deals for its own financial and political enrichment.

I have no doubt that the nation is asking, "Can we trust our President? Can we trust our Government? Can we trust the ANC?" The President cannot endorse the notion of nationalizing mines, while also seeking to create job opportunities. He cannot take several courses of action which are in conflict with one another in the hope of pleasing everyone. This is an issue of integrity. 

One cannot compartmentalize integrity. I do not believe there is such thing as 98% integrity, for that is in fact 2% dishonesty. Integrity comes at a very dear political and personal cost. It requires taking a course of action which inevitably pleases some and displeases others. Any action carries the huge opportunity cost of all the other alternative actions which could have been taken in its place. There is no integrity; there is no leadership; there is no moving forward, when one tries to please everyone at the same time and to be everything to everyone.

The President needs to take a single course of action and have the courage to pull the entire country through it at a fast pace. History will judge his success or failure. But he cannot avoid this responsibility by paralyzing the country into inaction or by taking a decade to do what must be done in a matter of months.

As I say this, I must compliment those in the ANC who are not involved in the last-ditch attempt to destroy the IFP in my lifetime. Some leaders of the ANC have spoken to me and expressed their regrets over what is being done to us. I appreciate their concern and support. I appreciate their integrity.

When the ANC was embroiled in its leadership battle in the run up to Polokwane, I did not poke my nose into their troubles. I did not interfere or advise them on how to proceed when COPE split from the ANC. There is a saying in isiZulu: "Inxeba lendoda alihlekwa", as I said when our President was removed as Deputy President. One does not laugh at another man's wounds.

The internal problems of a party are for that party to sort out. It is malicious to interfere; but unforgivable to deepen the wound, even for the sake of politics.

This is not about my legacy or my reputation. It cuts to the heart of our democracy and begs the question whether the ruling Party even believes in democracy at all. Our country has suffered a political setback. Opposition politics has been weakened. And people are dying because of what has been done. This is not building on a foundation for reconciliation. Rather it is dragging South Africa into the deadly undertow of the ANC's need for power.

Ms Liezl van der Merwe,
Press Officer to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP,
on 082 729 2510