RECEPTION FOR MR ALFONSO DHLAKAMA

LEADER OF RENAMO OF MOCAMBIQUE



WELCOMING REMARKS BY MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI, MP

MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

CAPE TOWN: MARCH 15, 2000

It gives me great pleasure to welcome to Cape Town, and to this reception organised by the Inkatha Freedom Party, one of the great sons of Africa. Alfonso Dhlakama has come to South Africa to attend a conference and I felt that it was important that he meets not only with me but indeed with the entire Parliamentary Caucus of the Inkatha Freedom Party. The IFP participates in the Union of African Parties for Democracy and Development to which RENAMO also belongs. As the leader of RENAMO, Mr. Dhlakama carries heavy responsibilities and has a key role to play in the development of his country and the consolidation of democracy in our region. It is important that we strengthen the dialogue between our two political parties because, now more than ever, the cause of social and economic development and democracy can only be pursued within a Southern African regional perspective.

We must congratulate Mr. Alfonso Dhlakama and his Party for the good showing they achieved in the recent elections in Mocambique. They are now faced with important political choices which will forge a new role for RENAMO in the years to come. We look forward to hearing how Mr. Dhlakama sees the situation in his own country. We are keen to hear directly from him his assessment of the last electoral results and the perspective that his Party has assumed in defining this new role and the political landscape of Mocambique.

In the IFP, we are true friends of Mocambique and true friends of freedom and democracy. I know that Mr. Alfonso Dhlakama feels equally strongly about the values of freedom and democracy. For this reason, I feel that our friendship demands of us that we listen to his viewpoint. It is not our prerogative to advise Mr. Alfonso Dhlakama or his Party on how to pursue the political objectives on the difficult and uncertain road ahead. However, it is the duty of our friendship to maintain with him and his Party a constant dialogue which enables us to express viewpoints, concerns and aspirations.

In fact, I am convinced that our entire region of Southern Africa is tied by an inextricable destiny. What happens to Mocambique directly affects South Africa and we have a primary interest in the development, prosperity and stability of our neighbouring country. As friends of Mocambique, we are committed to help Mocambique. But the measure and the nature of our assistance can only be decided in close consultation and dialogue with our Mocambiquean friends.

I remain convinced that the experience of Mocambique is very important to the future of South Africa. Our dialogue with Mocambique and its major role players is indeed a two-way road and there is a lot we can learn from their experience. Their tragic civil war is a powerful reminder of the responsibility we all bear to seek reconciliation and trust the ways and means of democracy at all costs. Personally, I believe that both South Africa and Mocambique are faced with the challenge of identifying new and specific features which can characterise a properly functioning democracy within our African continent.

Our African continent is permeated by the imperative of promoting social and economic development. We need to build the type of democracy which can serve the cause of development and focus all political attention, and private and public efforts, in that direction. We should not be bound by European or North American models of democracy. In fact, if we look around the world, we can notice that the call for freedom and democracy has assumed a thousand faces. In our context, I believe that we must first ask ourselves how we are going to promote development and what it takes to achieve the dream that, one day, our respective countries will enjoy equally distributed economic prosperity and social stability. Once we understand the path of development we should design the most suitable system of democracy to support and encourage it.

We must accept that, in our context, our respective institutions of government are still in a fluid form of transformation. I have often voiced the notion that our challenge is that of establishing a truly African and yet truly modern state. Such an African state must be one which can maximise the potentials within our society for economic development and social growth. For many years, if not decades, I have applied my mind to these issues and came to certain conclusions, which I have consistently advocated throughout my political career.

I believe that the system of checks and balances within a truly modern and yet truly African democracy must be built around different concepts and priorities to what is utilised in European and North American countries. We must focus our attention on accelerating economic growth, because only through the growth of our economy will we be able to produce the resources necessary and support our developmental efforts. Therefore, it is crucial that our system of government creates a healthy relationship between government and civil society, so that government serves the needs of civil society rather than vice versa.

The priority must be on liberalising and revitalising the dynamics of civil society, rather than on attempting to control and abridge them. I believe that the relationship between private and public is critical to the success of our respective countries. These considerations do not detract from the need of pursuing, through legislation and other means, effective and far-reaching policies which redress social imbalances and create safety measures. The responsibility of our State must range from affirmative action policies to labour relations which entrench humane and satisfactory basic conditions of employment, and from welfare systems to free distribution of essential services.

However, the crucial issue is how such responsibilities are to be fulfilled, and I believe that what characterised the vision of the IFP, which to a certain extent has been reflected in the political philosophy of RENAMO, is the commitment to seeking and implementing techniques of these policies which strengthen rather than weaken civil society and move the balance of power between government and civil society in favour of the latter.

I also believe the truth that the truly modern and the truly African state must pursue maximum decentralisation and internal political autonomy. If we look back to the genuine roots of our African traditions, we can easily verify how centralisation, tyranny and concentration of power are indeed foreign to our African people and pathos. Our African societies have always distributed powers amongst their building blocks. We have always known that power must be distributed amongst different layers, each of which shall be finally responsible for the administration of its own powers and functions within its area of recognised autonomy. For this reason, I have always been a federalist and advocated the principle of political decentralisation.

I believe that a healthy dialectic between the centre and the periphery and between government and civil society are almost more important in our context than the usual dialectic between majority and opposition in the central government. This dialectic between majority and opposition does not detract from the fact that those who hold power may exercise it without limits and they concentrate in their hands power which should belong to civil society or should be distributed throughout various autonomous institutions of government. At best, political opposition can only limit how such power, so concentrated, is going to be exercised, and expose some of the most egregious abuses. However, an opposition cannot subject the exercise of power to an effective system of checks and balances.

I am putting forward these considerations because I feel that both the IFP and RENAMO must look forward to define their respective roles in the unfolding of the democratic development of our respective countries. I suspect that there is a great deal of potential activity between our respective parties which can lead us to work together towards a definition of a new future for our region of the continent. For decades, I have advocated that countries of our region must pursue a process of international integration. This process of international integration is somehow the flip side of the same coin which involves decentralisation of internal powers, local autonomy and political autonomy for the institutions of civil society.

Only when we accept that the power of the nation state must be fragmented internally, will we be more ready to accept that it must also be delegated upwards to promote international integration on a regional basis. Also in respect of international integration on a regional basis, we must find ways and means which are capable of being adjusted to our specific context.

For instance, as Minister of Home Affairs I have been involved in discussions relating to the free circulation of people within the Southern African Development Community. Obviously, the first starting point which was adopted was that the free circulation of movement within our region could be modelled after that adopted in Europe in pursuance of the Treaty of Rome of 1950. In the European context, the free circulation of people involves the right to work, reside and conduct any type of activities anywhere in the territory of the participants of what was then the European Economic Community. In our context, we must determine whether the notion of the free circulation of people, which we will undoubtedly need to pursue, needs nonetheless to be adjusted. We will need to break down this notion into its actual components and perhaps create differentiated treatment for the right to travel as opposed to the right to work, or for the right to work as opposed to the right to reside in any of the countries of the SADC region.

What is important at this juncture, is to begin developing a new type of African thinking which can lead our ingenuity and imagination to forge new solutions to meet the pressing needs and demands of our people. Not enough has been done for our people, and when we consider the measure of their needs and aspirations, it is obvious that no government can move fast enough or efficiently enough to bring about the much needed relief to their plight and suffering. The great majority of our people still suffer under the yoke of poverty, unemployment and ignorance for lack of education, exposure and knowledge.

Our Government is undertaking a massive programme of training and upliftment of our human resources. From this year, we are imposing a 0.5% levy on the national payroll which, from next year, will be raised to 1%. This enormous and unprecedented public expenditure will be used to train our people, not only in respect of skills which are necessary for them to perform adequately in the work place, but also in respect of skills which will enable them to improve on their quality of life and become better citizens. We need to teach the majority of our people a broad range of life skills.

For this reason, I have stated that the greatest challenge of our Government is to enable our population to leapfrog from its present conditions into a world characterised by technology. I am a great believer that technology remains the most effective means to redress the present social injustice and unequal distribution of knowledge and resources. Throughout the world, the spread of technology and the advancement of the technological society has levelled social inequalities. For this reason, I have urged our Government to proceed with a long-term vision which stresses the need for massive technological investments, both in terms of our country’s infrastructural backbone, as well as in terms of technological education for our people.

I have urged my country to develop a thirty or fifty year plan which outlines what we wish South Africa to become. We need to identify what South Africa will produce and be known for in a rapidly globalising world environment. I believe that we must develop this perspective within the horizons of the international integration of our region of the continent. We must ask ourselves what we wish Southern Africa to look like fifty years down the road, and direct all our efforts and energies towards the realisation of that plan.

To me, the most important element remains the upliftment of the social and human conditions of our people, so that they can learn the ways of the world and become full rights citizens of this rapidly globalising world village. I believe that South Africa and Mocambique should cooperate in this direction. We must create a great alliance for development and human upliftment and I believe that our respective parties are uniquely qualified to lead this movement and make it a rallying theme which can give hope to our people. In the end we cannot free our people from the slavery of poverty, ignorance and unemployment. We must give them the tools and the hope for them to break those chains themselves and rise above the limits within which they are now confined. Only in this fashion will our respective countries be able to capture the enormous potential that we undoubtedly have.

I just mention these few items because I believe that our respective parties do indeed share a great deal of political affinity and perhaps a similar vision in the reconstruction and development of our respective countries. However, it is not my intention to monopolise this meeting with my remarks. In fact, I hope that this meeting will offer our distinguished guest an opportunity of addressing our members, to present to us his viewpoint and the perspective of RENAMO. With these few words I wish to welcome once again Mr. Alfonso Dhlakama and reassure him that he is here now amongst friends and that we treasure the dialogue that, on occasions such as this, we will undoubtedly be able to foster. I thank you.

 

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