South Africa: Vicious Attack in President's Madiba Lecture

opinion

I am stunned that President Jacob Zuma chose the occasion of last night's centennial lecture in honour of former President Nelson Mandela to open old wounds between the ANC and the IFP.

These two presidents are like chalk and cheese.

Nelson Mandela is an international icon, and a friend. During my State of the Nation reply on the 15th of February 2011, I placed on record that President Mandela laid the foundation for reconciliation. History records that I have given my heart and soul to reconciliation.

In stark contrast, under President Zuma's leadership, reconciliation has been muscled off the agenda.

This is not an easy criticism to make. But President Zuma has proven to be extremely hostile to the concept of reconciliation, certainly more so than any ANC leader before him.

Even as the ANC prepared to celebrate its centenary, the IFP sought an audience with the ruling Party to address the unfinished business between our two organisations. The ANC has failed to respond.

If he were committed to reconciliation and nation-building, President Zuma would have had the courage to acknowledge during the Mandela lecture that I and the IFP held more "Free Mandela" rallies that anyone else, and that I alone was named as having convinced former President FW de Klerk to release Mandela.

Madiba had the courage to speak the truth. He admitted in Parliament that he had given the shoot-to-kill order, when Zulu people marched pass Shell House in support of the King in 1994, and nineteen people were killed.

But the truth remains a foreign concept to President Zuma who ignores all that I and the IFP have done, but uses an opportunity like this to allege that the IFP received funding from the Apartheid regime to undertake the Boipatong massacre.

The fact that he has done this in a live lecture on primetime TV, in front of millions of South Africans, gives the lie to his commitment to continuing Madiba's legacy.

The ANC is hell-bent on distorting history to fit its own narrative. Yet a country that denies its own history is destined for failure. If President Zuma cannot speak the truth, let those of us who can, speak.

The tensions that led to the Boipatong massacre and many other incidents of violence between the black liberation organisations were stirred by the ANC. There had been violence and counter violence. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the ANC was responsible for killings, assaults and attacks on their political opponents, including members of the IFP, PAC, AZAPO and the SAP, and had contributed to a spiral of violence in the country through the creation and arming of SDUs.

The details of the ANC's low intensity civil war, waged against other black organisations, are contained in Dr Anthea Jeffery's book titled "People's War".

At that time, Joe Nkadimeng, alias Francis Meli, the editor of the ANC publication "Sechaba" unashamedly remarked, "Buthelezi is a snake that poisons South Africa, which must be hit on the head". Many threats were made against Inkatha through Radio Freedom and the ANC warned that they were "coming with bazookas". There were ample threats of violence against us.

I rejected independence for KwaZulu, which rendered the grand scheme of Apartheid untenable. But I sought protection for myself and my Ministers whose lives were being threatened.

Two hundred young people were trained in KwaZulu to protect the lives of my Ministers, my family and myself. Later, during an 18 month court case, no evidence was found that this training was intended to equip Inkatha to carry out unlawful killings. Mr Zakhele Khumalo and General Magnus Malan were acquitted.

The allegation that Inkatha received funding from the Apartheid Government to commit any act of violence is a despicable lie. I cannot fathom where Mr Zuma comes up with the idea. Indeed, the only time money changed hands between Inkatha and the Apartheid regime was when Inkatha discovered that R200 000 had been donated by the Department of Foreign Affairs for a rally. We immediately returned the money in full.

Throughout the TRC process, not one single shred of evidence was found to suggest that I ever ordered, authorised, condoned or ratified a single human rights' violation. That is because I never did. Though I suffer the wound of the 20 000 victims of the People's War, my conscience is clear. Can Mr Zuma say the same?

Inkatha was never the aggressor. I challenge Mr Zuma once and for all to speak the truth.

Yet Zuma cannot be trusted. He is conveniently forgetting that I also began in the ANC Youth League and my mentors were leaders like Inkosi Albert Lutuli, who often visited my uncle, the Zulu Regent, at the palace where I grew up. Before 1979, I worked closely with the President of the ANC's mission-in-exile, Mr Oliver Tambo, during a period in which I was already the Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Government.

In fact, at the unveiling of Mr Tambo's tombstone some years ago, the late Mr Cleopas Nsibande, an interim ANC leader in Gauteng, admitted in the presence of President Nelson Mandela and the leadership of the ANC that he was present when, Inkosi Lutuli and Mr Tambo asked my late sister, Princess Morgina Dotwana, to encourage me to take over the leadership which the Government was foisting on the people; which was the KwaZulu Government.

It was at Mr Cleopas Nsibande's funeral that the Deputy President of the ANC, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, spoke of Mr Nsibande's persistence in visiting Luthuli House every Monday to appeal for a dialogue between the ANC and the IFP. Deputy President Motlanthe assured us at Mr Nsibande's funeral that they as the leadership of the ANC were committed to carry out what he had implored them to do. Yet this too has been muscled off the agenda under Mr Zuma's leadership.

In 1999, when President Thabo Mbeki offered me the position of Deputy President, it was Zuma who torpedoed discussions in order to secure the position for himself. In turn, I was expected to handover the Premiership of KwaZulu Natal, a proposal which they knew would have been impossible for me to accept.

After years of the propaganda machine running, it is difficult for some in the ANC to step out of the mould and be honest about the past. There are still truths that they would like to sweep under the carpet. But the facts remain. The question arises as to whether this propensity to belittle anything associated with me and the IFP is really just an old habit, or expresses a more sinister agenda.

There is a world of difference between Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma. Mandela had the integrity to admit in 2002 to the ANC's long agenda of destroying me. In his own words, he said, "We have used every ammunition to destroy (Buthelezi), but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him."

It is time for Zuma to be just as candid. He headed up the ANC's military camps and was Head of Intelligence for the ANC. It is time for him to tell South Africa, and the world, who ferried Soviet weapons to South Africa. It is time for him to tell the truth about who was responsible for the systematic assassination of thousands of IFP members, and 400 of our IFP leaders. Does Mr Zuma think people do not know what role he played before 1994? Or what role he played in the low intensity civil war that brought South Africa to its knees in the nineties?

I have said before that people have the right to defend themselves. But I never authorised the use of violence. I have never condoned violence. I wonder, Mr President, if you could say the same?

President Zuma has much to answer for. This generation knows that Zuma is not a Mandela. History will record that he was not a Buthelezi either.

PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP, PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

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