Ulundi: 21 August 2010
There has been a serious turn of events in
the IFP which has caused me to request the National Executive
Committee to call an Extended National Council. The issues at hand
go beyond the authority of the NEC or the National Council, and can
only properly be discussed in an Extended National Council in which
our constituencies and districts are also represented. I therefore
thank you for heeding the call to meet so that we may address what
is becoming a grim situation with the potential for disaster.
The time has come for me to talk directly to
the people. Over the past two decades, I have been waiting for the
opportunity to resolve the unfinished business between the ANC and
the IFP. Before the April 2009 elections, President Zuma himself
mentioned that this outstanding business must be completed. Again
this year, before he travelled to Brazil, he gave us the assurance
that he would meet with me upon his return. That meeting never took
place as the President was unavailable. Before his State visit to
Britain he repeated his assurances, but again we did not meet.
When he invited me to King's House on 16
July this year, President Zuma expressed his regret that we have not
yet come together to discuss the unfinished business between the ANC
and IFP which flows from the conflicts of the eighties and nineties.
I too regret that we have not seen that wound completely healed for
lack of interaction at the highest level, and I have made myself
available every day, at any time, to wind up this serious unfinished
I am therefore deeply concerned by what we
are seeing in terms of the ANC's involvement in the anarchy and
ructions in our Party. This development does not bode well for our
final reconciliation and it muddies the waters between our two
parties. There has been a string of incidents that leave no room for
the benefit of the doubt. There is no longer any doubt that certain
people in the ANC are fomenting and even instigating the ructions in
I have openly expressed my concern and ire
over the scurrilous behaviour of the ANC's Minister Tokyo Sexwale,
who came to this Province and publically announced that we as the
leadership of the IFP are persecuting our National Chairperson, Mrs
VZ Magwaza-Msibi. On 10 February this year, SABC News quoted
Minister Sexwale, speaking at the ANC's 98th Anniversary
Celebration, as saying, "She must know that we love her and she must
come back home to the ANC. She is being ill-treated in the IFP."
This lie, spoken by a national Minister, received credibility in the
media and the public eye.
The ANC Women's League was quick to jump on
the bandwagon, confirming the lie and disingenuously offering Mrs
Magwaza-Msibi their sympathy and succour. The Women's League's
Provincial Chairperson, Ms Lungi Gcabashe, was quoted in the Sowetan
on 4 February as saying, "There is only one conclusion to be drawn
from the IFP's decision to redeploy its chairperson, which is that
there is no place for women in the IFP". This despite the fact that
our Chairperson's redeployment was a promotion from the third tier
level of government, to the second.
Gcabashe added the lie that "Scores of
brilliant women have left the IFP" citing "limited room for growth
and a general lack of respect".
Despite our Party's impeccable record of
promoting gender equality and women's rights, people fell hook, line
and sinker for the lie that the IFP is sexist. Suddenly the ructions
in the Party were put down to our supposed fear of having a woman
lead the Party. This is both ridiculous and defamatory.
All of you are witness to the fact that it
was I and all of you in the Party who during the general election
proposed the name of Mrs kaMagwaza-Msibi as the IFP's candidate for
the position of Premier of the Province of KwaZulu Natal. It was the
first time that anyone's face was used during an election as a
candidate for the position of Premier since 1994. In spite of all
our efforts, our votes in the Province fell to the lowest level that
they have ever reached in all the previous elections.
All of you are aware of all that has
transpired in the Party since the general election of last year.
There were many of our candidates for the KwaZulu Natal Legislature
who could not go to the Legislature owing to the few votes we
received. It is extraordinary that most of the people who have
started ructions in the Party are some of our members who failed, as
a result of the few votes, to go to the Legislature and to
The ANC's commentary on the IFP's business
has begun to flow thick and fast. Our National Council resolved in
July to postpone Conference after it became clear that Conference
would be marred by violence.
Apart from the threat of violence, many of
our branches, constituencies and districts were still not
inaugurated. Following our decision, the Provincial Secretary of the
ANC Youth League in KwaZulu Natal, Mr Bheki Mtolo, delivered a
On 20 July 2010, The Star quoted Mtolo as
saying: "The IFP is not a democratic organization but a traditional
cultural movement led by a dictator." He went on to say about me
that, "This man has deliberately postponed the conference because he
fears that he might be voted out."
Mtolo accused me of "dirty tricks" and
invited the youth of the IFP and "everyone else who believes in
democratic principles to leave the IFP and join the ANC."
And hot on the heels of Mtolo's attack, the
KwaZulu Natal Provincial Secretary of COSATU, Mr Zet Luzipho issued
a statement on 26 July, which was published on COSATU's website and
released to the media, in which he pontificates over why our
National Council took the decision to postpone Conference, despite
the fact that we had clearly stated our reasons. In his statement,
Luzipho lavishes praise on the President of the country for his
intention to meet with me, warning us that we should "welcome such
intervention which is aimed at ensuring that the IFP continues to
exist?". The President, says Luzipho, is the one person who
understands succession battles and we should respect the process as
he tries to broker peace within the IFP. We should appreciate the
Luzipho then launched into an outrageous
attack on me, pontificating over personal family matters and drawing
judgment on me for owning a gun. My life has been threatened
countless times, often by people in the tripartite alliance. Yet
Luzipho claims that, because of my age, I should be barred from
owning a weapon. He pleads with the police to refuse me a gun
license in the future, failing which he threatens to lodge a formal
complaint. Why is he so intent on disarming me immediately after the
National Police Commissioner has warned of assassination threats
against an unnamed IFP leader?
The National Commissioner has even added two
more officers to my security team, confirming the rising threats
even to my own life. The National Commissioner came to see me in my
office, accompanied by the Provincial Commissioner of the South
African Police Service.
Luzipho's commentary was shocking to say the
least. The IFP Youth Brigade and SADESMO took the ANC Youth League
to task for interfering in our internal business. In response, also
on the 26th of July, Mr Bheki Mtolo was quoted in the Daily News as
saying, "As the alliance we are the leaders of this country. We lead
everybody, including the IFP. That is why we have a right to comment
on their affairs, but they cannot do the same about us because they
are not our leaders."
Words cannot begin to describe how utterly
outrageous the ANC's interference had become. We hoped it was
limited to a few hotheads and would soon simmer down. But just
recently, during Women's Week, during a sitting of the KwaZulu Natal
Legislature, Members of the ANC began singing derogatory songs about
me, calling me by my pet name, as ANC cadres did during the
internecine war of the eighties to goad me and insult me. These ANC
Members in the Legislature sang, "Gatsha is afraid of a woman" and "Zanele
belongs to us". This did not take place in the streets or in a
shebeen, but in the corridors of power by people who are supposed to
lead our nation.
One young member of the IFP was angered by
this singing and it became necessary to stop a serious altercation.
Later the Members of the ANC present confronted a member of our
National Council, the Mayor of Jozini, Mrs Mthethwa, who is the
Secretary of the Women's Brigade and of the NEC, asking her which
camp she belongs to. There was an ugly scene, which Mrs Mthethwa
will elaborate for us further.
All these incidents point to the ANC or a
section of the ANC being involved in stirring trouble in our Party.
There have been all sorts of talk that the ructions in the IFP pivot
around the need for change.
But it has been clear from who is involved
and what they are doing that the motives behind all these problems
are self-interest, ambition and greed. And now we have seen enough
to convince us that certain people at the highest level of the ANC
are involved in creating and fomenting these ructions.
There is an underlying sinister message,
which we ignore at our own peril; far from closing the chapter on
the ANC-IFP conflict which cost so many lives during the low
intensity civil war, the ANC is continuing the conflict. I do not
say this as an accusation meant to stir up tensions. The tensions
are clearly already there. I am saying this because it is time to
speak openly, and acknowledge that the ANC is deliberately
aggravating the problems in our Party in the hope of destroying
their old enemy, the IFP.
We know that there are people within the IFP
and people from outside our Party who are on the ANC's payroll to
stir up trouble for the Party. This is not just a conflict between
IFP members. It is engineered by members of the ANC who are using
money to bribe and corrupt. This is not a game. People have died.
And in all likelihood more violence will follow if we are not able
to resolve our problems before holding Conference. Matters have
become very serious indeed.
In order for us to resolve the tensions and
heal the divisions, we must clear the air regarding our National
Chairperson. Let me put on record again that our National
Chairperson, Mrs KaMagwaza-Msibi, has not been charged before any
disciplinary structure of the Party. A resolution was passed on 10
July 2010 to launch an internal investigation to determine whether
there is any connection between our National Chairperson and the
people who have done so much harm to our Party in her name; the
"Friends of VZ". This investigation was deemed necessary for several
In a public statement published on the first
of March this year, our National Chairperson distanced herself from
the activities of the "Friends of VZ", admonishing them for dividing
the Party and threatening legal action if they did not desist. But
the divisive activities of the "Friends of VZ" continued. They still
produced T-shirts bearing her image, with the slogan "VZ 100%". They
still held meetings, rallies and protests in her name. They still
spread lies to the media. They disrupted elective meetings of our
Party, and even engaged in violence and murder. Through all this,
our National Chairperson did not seek to stop them through legal
action as she claimed she would.
For this reason, faced with the seriousness
of the matter, National Council decided that an investigation should
be launched. I have given our National Chairperson several
opportunities to clear her name, but she declined to do so. We felt
that, given the damaging nature of the assumptions being made both
in the Party and in the media, it is necessary for us to assist the
National Chairperson to speak openly within the structures of the
Party, so that we may find a way forwards to renewed unity.
Rather than improving, we are seeing a
deterioration of discipline within the Party, which also begs us to
deal swiftly with these problems. People continue to transgress
against our Constitution, rejecting legitimate structures and
preferring to air their views in the public spotlight. Several weeks
ago SABC News covered a protest march in Johannesburg where the
"Friends of VZ" rallied against my leadership. But many of the
protestors in their "100% VZ" T-shirts were bussed in from Durban
and Pietermaritzburg, to give the impression that our structures in
Gauteng are seeking my resignation.
This is not the case. Our members in Gauteng
have already indicated where they stand, and they have done so
through the appropriate structures. At our last Extended National
Council, Mr Ngobese conveyed the decision of the Gauteng National
Council on these issues. His report expressed their support for my
continued leadership. There is no doubt that the wellspring of all
the commotion is Durban.
Last week Isolezwe carried a story about a
meeting of the Women's Brigade in the Durban Metro. Instead of
attending a prayer meeting organized by their NEC, some women held a
meeting at Dalton Hostel on the 9th of August during which they made
utterances to the effect that they are sick and tired of my
leadership, and that I should now make way for the National
Chairperson. It is not clear who these women were speaking for.
Their structure was dismantled after elections and they have no
right to claim legitimacy as a structure or to speak on behalf of
the Party. This was an act of rebellion.
I want to open an opportunity for those who
support them to speak to us today and declare their view within this
structure. Have the guts to say to our faces what they are saying
behind our backs. Let us gauge where people really stand, so the
truth may prevail.
I am told that in a meeting of the 15th in
Dalton, Mrs Bongi Mtshali, who is also known as Mrs Gwala and Mrs
Angel Mthembu, was told that the NEC of the Province had already
charged her and she was advised not to attend. Her case was decided
in her absence. Rebellion continues and our image is being
destroyed. How can we just sit back and do nothing? So the PEC of
the Province had to deal with the matter.
Last month I received a letter signed by
people who claim to represent the Durban Metro constituencies,
stating that I must have someone receive their memorandum at our
offices. People are being schooled in Durban to demonstrate against
their own party. This is unheard of.
When these demonstrations first started, our
Secretary General was insulted and placards were put up saying that
I should retire. But the situation has deteriorated into something
far more serious.
Since we last met, there have been more
deaths in Estcourt. Last week, also in Estcourt, IFP supporters were
attacked with R1 rifles. Their car was a write-off and they incurred
some injury; but thanks God they survived. There is no denying that
the situation is getting worse. We need to attend to these matters
before we meet at Conference. We cannot have serene discussions at
Conference with all this hanging in the air. The future of our Party
is at stake.
There have been attempts by the "Friends of
VZ" to force us to hold Conference before we have dealt with these
problems. On the 16th of July 2010 an urgent application was heard
in the Durban High Court under case number 7768/2010. It was brought
by Sibusiso Lukhele and seven others in an attempt to interdict the
IFP to proceed with an elective conference on the 23rd to 25th of
July. The Honourable Madame Justice Dhaya Pillay dismissed the
application with costs against the applicants, making it clear in
her Judgment that the IFP's Constitution does not impose any
obligation to hold an elective conference.
Four days later, Mr Wiseman Mcoyi and three
others brought another urgent application in the Pietermaritzburg
High Court, under case number 5449/2010. Once again the application
was brought as an interdict to force the IFP to hold an elective
conference, and attacked the validity of our National Council. The
matter was heard by the Honourable Mr Justice Msimang Judge
President, who refused to allocate a date for the hearing and
ordered that the matter be postponed sine die. The parties were
directed to return to court on the 3rd of September to approach the
senior civil judge to arrange a date for a hearing. That in itself
will delay any of the efforts we are making to have a date for the
Conference as our very status is under question.
The "Friends of VZ" are trying to force our
hand while we are at a weak point. It is clear that if we contest
the 2011 Local Government Elections in our present condition, the
IFP is going to be wiped off the political map. I cannot
overemphasise the importance of resolving these tensions before our
Conference, to allow Conference to focus on our preparedness for the
2011 elections. We have an enormous task ahead of us to mobilise
support and secure votes. In many ways, we are lagging behind on the
campaign trail and we need to step up our activities in terms of
canvassing support, arranging meetings, organising transport and
getting the IFP message into communities.
Our problems have generated a great deal of
negative publicity and we are going to have work twice as hard to
capture the votes. But I believe we have what it takes to produce a
strong showing at the polls, provided that we are able to overcome
the divisions we face right now and create unity in the Party again.
The IFP can emerge from this dark night as a stronger Party. It is
within our power to make a comeback. These are not just empty words.
I have sat at the helm of this Party for 35 years. I am quite aware
what we are capable of.
I put before this Extended National Council
the challenge of plotting a way forward. We can no longer ignore the
fact that there are puppet-masters outside the Party pulling the
strings of the "Friends of VZ". They are doing it with money and
they are doing it to destroy us. What will we do with this
knowledge? How can we navigate a peaceful way out of this situation?
At all costs, we must avoid fuelling tensions between the IFP and
the ANC. We cannot allow ourselves to be goaded into retaliation.
It was partly for this reason that I asked
for an appointment this past week with the Deputy President of the
ANC, who is also the Deputy President of the country, His Excellency
Kgalema Motlanthe, to inform him about this involvement of some
members of the ANC in dividing and destroying the IFP. I told the
Deputy President of the ANC that I do not believe that there has
been a decision taken by the ANC to do this to me and the IFP. He
confirmed this to me. In fact, he was not even aware that the
President of the ANC, His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma, had called me to
meet with him in Durban on the 16th of July.
He was not aware of the utterances by
Minister Tokyo Sexwale. The Deputy President was also not aware of
the accusation that was made by the ANC Women's League that we are
persecuting our National Chairperson. He was quite shaken when I
also related to him what members of the ANC's Women's League did at
the Women's Sitting of the KwaZulu Natal Legislature on the 8th of
July in Mtuba. He was also not aware of the large sums of money that
some ANC businessmen are making available to the "Friends of VZ" to
cause the havoc that is taking place in the IFP. Some of these
businessmen were involved in the "Friends of JZ" during the
Polokwane happenings in the ANC.
I explained to the Deputy President that I
felt I should brief him about all that is going on and the role that
some members of the ANC, including very senior leaders in this
Province, are playing in creating the rifts and ructions in the IFP.
The other reason why I had to brief the
Deputy President of the ANC is because he had on more than one
occasion expressed his commitment to dealing with the unfinished
business between the ANC and the IFP after our internecine conflict
in the eighties and nineties which cost more than 20,000 black
lives. The Deputy President was not aware that the blood-letting
within the IFP has cost us some lives. The Deputy President promised
that they were going to deal with the matter.
It is now clear where the "Friends of VZ"
get the funding which they have used in creating the problems we now
have within the IFP. One asks what these members of the ANC who are
involved in destroying the Party and our legacy are hoping to
receive in return for the moral support and the financial support
that they are giving to the "Friends of VZ".
The prospect of the bloodshed that has
started is extremely worrying in view of so many lives that we lost
during the low intensity civil war that took place between members
of the UDF and ANC on the one hand, and members of the IFP. It is
because of this turn of events that we have decided to call this
Extended National Council meeting as we believe the matter has gone
much further than can be dealt with by the National Council or the
One may ask the question why we do not wait
until the Conference is convened. The scale of the damage that is
taking place, including loss of lives, has forced us to call this
meeting in which representatives of the Party's structures are
present. At the same time, our very legitimacy as these structures
of the Party is being questioned before Court and there is no
prospect of the case being heard before October at the earliest. We
could not wait for that, and that is why we have decided to seek our
collective wisdom and our collective responsibility at our level of
leadership and at the level of the leadership of our Party.
There is a remark I have always made, that
in the long history of conflicts between us and the ANC, some of the
ANC leaders and some of the members of the ANC in this Province have
always been vicious. This explains why most of the deaths during
that black-on-black low intensity civil war took place in this
Province. It is difficult to explain the intense hatred that they
harbour, which fuels this bitter conflict. It is a mystery to me
what joy they hope to derive from all of these things, except the
pleasure of destroying the IFP and destroying the leadership of
Mangosuthu Buthelezi, their sworn enemy.
It is a shame that, after we lost so many
leaders and members in the previous conflict, members of the IFP
should allow themselves to be puppets that are being used to destroy
the Party and our legacy. I wish to conclude this particular issue
by paying special tribute to those leaders of the ANC, together with
some of the ordinary members of the ANC, who have nothing to do with
these underhanded and divisive activities by other leaders and
members of the ANC.
Members are free to interrogate the issues I
have brought to the attention of this meeting. But it seems to me
that the nub of the problem is whether we as a Party should accept
leadership which is being imposed on us by those leaders and members
of the ANC who are involved in financing and arming the "Friends of
VZ", who are merely their front. For decades some of the members and
leaders of the ANC in this Province have attempted to destroy the
leadership and membership of this Party through arms in the
black-on-black low intensity civil war. Now they are trying to do so
by imposing the leadership they are manipulating with money and
We are the survivors and the children of
survivors of the low intensity civil war that raged between the ANC
and the IFP during apartheid. The loss of lives is still a scar on
our memories. We cannot allow a conflict to escalate that would
place in jeopardy the peace that we so painstakingly forged in
KwaZulu Natal. It has been a difficult decision for me to broach
this subject, knowing that by bringing it out into the open the IFP
will attract criticism and anger. But there is no benefit to be
gained from the pretence that the troubles we face are all from
within. If we are serious about resolving the situation, we must be
honest about what it entails.
I ask this Extended National Council to
deliberate on these matters and to engage in serene debate. We are
all frustrated and emotions are running high. But we must not be
ruled by our emotions. The resolution of these problems demands
clear-headedness. It demands that we talk about possible solutions,
rather than dwelling on who said what to whom. The survival of the
IFP depends on our finding a way forward that not only unites our
Party, but protects the stability of our nation.
This is the challenge before us.