OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE
Durban: November, 22 2002
The Director of Programmes; His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation and members of the Zulu Royal family; Dr Albertina Luthuli and members of the Luthuli family; His Excellency Deputy President J.G. Zuma, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa; amaKhosi present; your Excellencies and members of the Diplomatic Corps; the Honourable Dr LPHM Mtshali, Premier of the Province of KwaZulu Natal; Dr the Honourable ME Tshabalala-Msimang, National Minister of Health; Dr the Honourable NC Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Hon Mr Reiner Schoeman, Deputy Minister of Health; Dr the Honourable ZL Mkhize, provincial Minister of Health; other Honourable Ministers present; His Worship the Mayor of Durban Metro and other Mayors and Councillors; the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University; Dr Mgojo and other religious leaders of all faiths who are present; leaders of business; distinguished guests, medical and surgical staff of the hospital.
We have gathered here today to celebrate a momentous achievement for our Province and for the whole of South Africa. The official opening of the Inkosi Albert Lutuli Central Hospital marks the shift away from several old paradigms into the new paradigms of the future. Most evident in such shift is the fact that this new hospital is fully digitised and is indeed the first "paperless" hospital in Africa. The quality of medical care is indeed increasingly reliant on the level of technology with which it is equipped. The modern medical equipment of this hospital places it at the forefront of quality health-care.
I have always advocated the need to leapfrog from the past into the future by means of making substantial and courageous investments in new technology. The fact that resources have been allocated to high level technology in this hospital gives me confidence that there begins to be recognition that we can do more and we can do better through greater reliance on technology. Even when confronted with the need to provide for a large number of people who are still in desperate need of primary, secondary and tertiary health-care, reliance on advanced technology can expedite service delivery.
This hospital also reflects the shift into another paradigm which I have been advocating for several years, which is that of privatisation, albeit in the political jargon it is referred to as a public-private partnership. All non-core functions of this hospital have been privatised, which is a step in the right direction. As we walk down this road, I am sure that the realisation will increasingly develop that one can also privatise the rendering of medical services in hospitals of this nature without the hospital becoming any less of a government function and responsibility. When I began talking about privatisation, people were not attuned to this paradigm. But then they embraced it in the form of public-private partnership. I hope that further progress will realise the wisdom of identifying the role of government as that of a general contractor and supervisor of the delivery of services such as medical care, rather than being responsible for them directly. Therefore, I am pleased that the way service delivery has been structured in this hospital is a major step towards a new era in health-care delivered through the initiatives of our Province.
However, in expressing my congratulatory message on this memorable occasion, I cannot be oblivious to the fact that this hospital carries the name of Inkosi Albert Lutuli, and that therefore it is indeed also a monument to his memory. I feel compelled on an occasion like this to say a few words to pay tribute to Inkosi Albert Lutuli, which may provide a better understanding of the relevance I ascribe to the fact that this hospital was named after him. In fact, Inkosi Albert Lutuli was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century whose legacy must be better understood, especially by young people. He was a champion of non-violence, self-help, self-reliance and human dignity. He forged the African National Congress within these values, which were then unfortunately abandoned when the armed struggle was chosen as a better option for the liberation struggle.
Inkosi Lutuli was my foremost mentor and I abided by his philosophy and teachings throughout my life, and throughout my life I have benefitted from them because time and again they were proven right. I have always felt that I was very privileged to spend as much time as I did with him. Even when he was banned I used to go and visit him, seeking his guidance to solve the many problems which developed in my relationship with the Government of Pretoria. Giving full proof of what he meant by self-help and self-reliance, whenever I asked for his advice on matters of this nature, he never told me what to do, but he kept saying that I had to decide by myself, following my heart and that he trusted my manhood (ubudoda bakho).
He taught me to trust myself and he kept advising me to stand my ground even if I were to find myself alone. He encouraged me to stand up to Pretoria with the strength of somebody who knew that he could stand before God with a clear conscience, and he gave me the inspiration to be unafraid of standing alone against the political beliefs of the time or the winds of political correctness. It was for me the greatest of all the honours I have ever received to be asked by the Lutuli family and the ANC to deliver the oration at his funeral, and to then be asked by Dr Conco and the Lutuli Foundation to assist with the unveiling of the tombstone and to deliver the main address on that occasion. I still remember that it was the 23rd of July 1972 and in looking back on the address that I gave on that occasion, I can see how much of what was said then still applies to the challenges confronting South Africa. I wish to quote from that speech what I said then:
I also had the great honour of being asked by Inkosi Lutuli’s widow, Mrs Nokukhanya Luthuli, to accompany her to Maseru to receive the OAU posthumous award bestowed upon Inkosi Albert Lutuli. It was handed over by the King of Lesotho, King Moshoeshoe II, and I had the opportunity to pass the vote of thanks on that occasion on behalf of Mama Luthuli. On that occasion, as I had done before, I highlighted how Inkosi Lutuli abandoned a rewarding teaching position at a training college to answer the call of serving his people as an Inkosi of Amakholwa Tribe of Groutville, which meant choosing a life of penury. He was a highly educated man who did not consider embracing the institution of traditional leadership as a step down. He was not a hereditary Inkosi, but was chosen by his people. His life experience should be studied by those who support the view that amaKhosi have little to contribute to the development of the new South Africa.
This Nobel Prize Laureate was proud to serve his people as a traditional leader. When he was ordered by Pretoria to consider whether he should not step down from his position as traditional leader to avoid any conflict with his position as President of the ANC, he indicated that such option was just not possible because he had been chosen by the people and it was not for him to relinquish his position. He was living proof that traditional leadership and modernity need not be a contradiction in terms. He also played a major role in the life of our nation and together with my late father, Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi, and other amaKhosi of the Kingdom, they attended Imbizos which my late uncle, Prince Mshiyeni ka Dinuzulu as Regent, called from time to time at KwaSokesimbone Royal Residence.
After the apartheid regime banned him and confined him to Groutville, I went to see him with Prince Gideon ka Mnyayiza, and on a few occasions he and Mrs Luthuli visited me at KwaPhindangene. On more than one occasion they were driven to my home by the late Dr Wilson Zamindlela Conco and his wife, Mrs Shimi Conco. On those occasions, Dr Conco would park his car in my garage and my car was parked outside, because there were spies everywhere. Inkosi Lutuli and his spouse would rest during the day and in the evening we would then sit up and talk politics.
It is therefore quite appropriate that I present His Majesty the King today as even in those days, Inkosi Lutuli asked me as the Traditional Prime Minister of the King's father, King Bhekuzulu Cyprian ka Solomon, to arrange appointments for him with the King so that he could stop at the King's Khethomthandayo Royal Residence to pay his respects to the King. He was very close to the Royal House which underscores how the Royal House and the Kingdom of KwaZulu have always been part and parcel of our struggle for liberation.
In fact, it is no under-statement to say that the struggle for liberation began within the fight of the Zulu Nation for its survival and the struggle that the Zulu Kings and amaKhosi waged to maintain the integrity of our Kingdom and to emancipate our people. Most of our Kings suffered and paid the price to promote the liberation of their people and to serve South Africa. King Cetshwayo was the first King who can rightly be defined as a true South African. His regiments were defeated on the plains of Ulundi on the 4th of July 1879 after fiercely battling to preserve the integrity of our Kingdom. He travelled to England for discussions with Queen Victoria in an effort to preserve the territorial integrity of his Kingdom. We knew how unsatisfactory the settlement by Lord Kimberley, the then Secretary for Colonies, was. Prior to going to England, King Cetshwayo had been a prisoner at the Castle in Cape Town and later on at the farm Oude Moulen. We knew of how he was attacked shortly after his return to Ulundi, as a result of which he died as a fugitive in Eshowe. That is why he was buried in Nkandla Forest. King Cetshwayo was a great African patriot who sent money to King Sekhukhuni to assist him in his fight.
King Cetshwayo's son and heir, King Dinuzulu, suffered as much as his illustrious father for the Zulu cause. We know that he was exiled on the Island of St Helena where the King's grandfather, King Solomon, and his brother Prince Mshiyeni were born. On his return from St Helena King Dinuzulu was implicated in the Bambatha Rebellion in 1906 and was convicted in Greytown for treason and sentenced to life imprisonment. When his friend General Louis Botha became the first Prime Minister of South Africa, he had him released from Newcastle and exiled to Uitkyk Farm in Middleburg in the then Transvaal where he died in 1913.
His son, King Solomon, would have to carry the legacy of unifying a people who had been artificially divided by those who were determined to dismember the Zulu Kingdom, using the old and vicious tactic of divide et impera. King Solomon was a very wise man and his wisdom imbued the life of Inkosi Albert Lutuli as well as the lives of many of those who followed him. His son, King Bhekuzulu Cyprian, suffered many humiliations, the memory of which still bear very painfully in my heart To this day I still have a vivid image of my having to restrain tears when I often saw him having to respond to many orders he used to receive from Pretoria, which he would accept with a sombre sense of dignity, knowing well that albeit we had lost our power, we had maintained the greater moral courage and the high moral ground over our oppressors.
King Bhekuzulu Cyprian ka Solomon was the father of our present King, who is with us today. Our King carries the legacy of our struggle for liberation. The struggle for liberation runs in his veins. He carries the legacy of these great and heroic ascendants and holds the hopes of all our people for a life which will finally liberate them from the enslavement of poverty, malnutrition, unemployment and ignorance for lack of education, knowledge and exposure. For this reason, as we celebrate this important achievement in our struggle for liberation which has been dedicated to the memory of Inkosi Albert Mvumbi Lutuli, it is proper and fitting that our King addresses us and gives us his special message on this very special occasion. Therefore, with these few words it is a great honour for me, as the Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Kingdom, to introduce His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation and to invite him to address us.