South Africa: Dinner With the Community of St Lucia

press release





St Lucia: 19 May 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me first to thank the Chairperson of our Constituency in Mtubatuba, Mr Gumede, and His Worship our Mayor, for arranging this evening's dinner, so that we might have an opportunity to discuss the important issues of our country.

I won't beat about the bush. I am here to ask for your support. South Africa has reached a low point in our democratic story. Our economy has almost achieved junk status, our State has been captured, and governance is riddled with corruption, selfish interests and sheer incompetence.

Something has to give. Unless we take matters into our own hands, the next generation will experience the utter collapse of our beloved country.

Our intervention must start at the most fundamental level: within the local municipal council. If we are to change the principles underpinning governance in our nation, we must do it from the ground up. In this way, the voting public can send a profound message to leaders at the highest level.

For every municipal councillor it has, a political party receives a portion of funding. So when the electorate takes a council seat away from a political party, the party really feels it. It's not just a punch to the ego. It's a body blow. It touches the bottom line, forcing the party to look at where it is failing and to reconsider how it treats its responsibilities.

We have an opportunity to affect the bottom line of the ANC in Mtubatuba, thereby sending a message they cannot ignore. As you are aware, this coming Wednesday a by-election will be held in Ward 4. There is a vacancy on the municipal council, following an unfortunate incident of drunk driving that landed the ANC's councillor in hot water.

This is your ward, and the councillor that is elected on Wednesday will be your councillor, representing your voice in local government. I know that the DA has fielded a banana farmer in the hope of getting your vote, and I imagine it must be quite tempting to invest your hopes in a predominantly white party. But I want to assure you that this by-election is not about race. It's about principles. Can we get the right principles to underpin local governance in St Lucia?

So, while I am pleased to support the IFP's candidacy of Mr Mkhawuleni Zulu, whom I know to be an outstanding leader, I am not here to tell you all about Mr Zulu. Instead, I want to tell you about the Party that holds Mr Zulu accountable, and about the principles that lie at the foundation of this Party.

Many of you know the IFP and many of you know me. Indeed, whenever I meet with white South Africans someone is bound to tell me how they voted for me in 1994. That is always good to hear. But it makes me wonder what happened after that. Was I simply the more bearable option when a government by the majority was a fait accompli? Or in that period of uncertainty at the end of the apartheid era was I the last white hope?

To many, I imagine that was the case, for I had opposed the ANC on several critical issues, most notably the engagement of an armed struggle and the international call for economic sanctions and disinvestment. I believed in strengthening the economy we would all inherit, knowing that once South Africa's Constitution enshrined equality, we would have a tough job to stretch the available resources to meet our new responsibilities. Simply put, no matter how we sliced the pie, there was never going to be enough for everyone.

It made no sense to me to shrink the pie before liberation. Moreover, the majority of those who lost their jobs due to foreign disinvestment were black South Africans; people who were already struggling under the harshest conditions. I believe in a free market economy. When I met with President Nyerere in Tanzania in the seventies he warned me off African Socialism, of which he himself had been the author, for he saw what it had done to his country 10 years later. Later when President Nyerere paid a state visit to South Africa, I was then Minister of Home Affairs. He insisted to those who arranged his itinerary on that visit that they must include a visit to me, in my office in Cape Town. He told me that in 1980 when Mr Robert Mugabe was elected the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, he attended his inauguration in Harare. President Nyerere told me that he said Mr Mugabe, in reference to the economy of Zimbabwe; "You have inherited a jewel." He referred to the Zimbabwe economy then as a jewel. He told me that he said to Mr Mugabe; "Don't destroy it, don't do what I did in Tanzania."

From your knowledge of what happened later in Zimbabwe, you can see that President Nyerere was like throwing water on a duck's back!

Anyone who studies the world's economic and political systems must accept that communism and socialism have wrought only greater hardship. I was pleased, therefore, when President Mandela had his Damascene conversion and embraced a free market system for our fledgling democracy. I grew up in the ANC, and I know that nationalisation was the policy of ANC.

But the internal pressures from their tripartite alliance partners, the South African Communist Party and COSATU, placed the ANC in a state of paralysis. Their economic policy was neither fish nor fowl, and over time it has utterly destroyed our country's economic growth. Actually President Mbeki had asked his then Deputy President Mr Jacob Zuma to deal with two issues. One was that he should attend to the problem of the rigidity of our labour laws. And the second issue that Mr Zuma should deal with is the problem of moral regeneration in our country. The rest is history!

Yes, our President is now a businessman. Many who had lost hope in the ruling Party are now wondering whether a successful businessman like President Ramaphosa can turn our country around. Surely his economic policy is more investor friendly? As much as I respect the President, I have my concerns, for I am not so naïve as to think that the tail will suddenly wag the dog. It's still going to be the dog that wags the tail. The President will have no choice but to abide by the dictates and the policies of his Party. After all he won the Presidency of the ANC by about 110 votes.

Already the IFP has tried to extract commitments from the President that have not been forthcoming. During Questions to the President in Parliament this month, the President spoke of his team who are meant to attract $100 billion worth of investment to our country. The IFP's MP, the Hon. Mr Esterhuizen, then asked the President to unpack his policy on land expropriation without compensation, because anyone, before investing even $1, would want to know exactly which land is going to be expropriated. Is it private land? Farms? Foreign-owned land? Industrialised land? What are the criteria they are going to use when deciding which land can be taken without compensation?

The President sidestepped the question. He is a highly intelligent man. Let us not forget that he was the ANC's chief negotiator in the process of democratic negotiations, pre-1994. My late Advisor, Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, often went toe to toe with Mr Ramaphosa at the negotiating table. In his book, "The Prince and I: A South African Institutional Odyssey", Dr Ambrosini revealed a great deal of what went on behind the scenes.

He wrote the following (and I quote) -

"In his brutal honesty, Ramaphosa told me of the ANC's 25-year strategy to deal with the whites: it would be like boiling a frog alive, which is done by raising the temperature very slowly. Being cold-blooded, the frog does not notice the slow temperature increase, but if the temperature is raised suddenly, the frog will jump out of the water. He meant that the black majority would pass laws transferring wealth, land and economic power from white to black slowly and incrementally, until the whites lost all they had gained in South Africa, but without taking too much from them at any given time to cause them to rebel or fight."

My friends, I have spoken about the principles underpinning a political party. I think you can see that it matters a great deal what a party fundamentally believes in. It broke my heart when the ANC abandoned its fundamental principle of non-violence and passive resistance during our liberation struggle. That principle had been laid at the foundation of our struggle by my own uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, when he founded the ANC in 1912.

Because I had founded Inkatha on the very same principles, I refused to engage an armed struggle. I could not allow bloodshed, violence and fear to ravage my country. I disagreed with the policy of making South Africa ungovernable, for I saw that the seeds of lawlessness being sown at that time would continue to bear fruit in a liberated South Africa.

The ANC's mission-in-exile called on a generation to abandon their classrooms and become educated in the art of stone-throwing and mayhem. Did they expect these same young people to become the capable administrators and authority figures of the future? Into those hands, power would be given. Was it not better that we should equip them with a fundamental respect for the rule of law and train them in the ways of good governance?

That is what we did in the schools of KwaZulu under my administration. For 19 years I administered governance in KwaZulu, and for 19 years not a single allegation of corruption was ever levelled against my government. When the IFP entered the Government of National Unity and took over the governance of KwaZulu Natal, our legacy of leadership integrity continued. That was under the three IFP Premiers that we appointed; Dr Frank Mdlalose, Dr Ben Ngubane and Dr Lionel Mtshali in the 10 years that the IFP governed KwaZulu Natal Province.

As corruption deepened in the ANC and became increasingly exposed, the difference between their leadership and that of the IFP became evident. I remember President Mandela speaking quite frankly to a group of international journalists, to the horror of his own Party. He said, "Little did we suspect that our own people, when they got a chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the things that has really hurt us."

When I think back to those first elections in 1994, I can accept that I was, for many, a better option, when a government of the majority became unavoidable. But I hope that those same South Africans, and their children, will have the courage to consider the best option now. The principles underlying the IFP are undoubtedly in the best interests of our country.

It's no longer about who is least likely to side-line the white minority, or, in the case of the EFF, to push the white minority into serious danger. If this were just about minority rights, the DA might be as much an option as the Freedom Front Plus. But a party that is built on race is never going to achieve the kind of South Africa that embraces unity, social cohesion, and strength in diversity.

South Africa - the South Africa we long for - can only be shaped on the principle of a shared destiny. We cannot do without each other. Indeed our survival in this part of Africa depends on social cohesion. We must form a partnership, based on integrity, which enables us to work together, build together, pray together, and find solutions together, right across the colour line that seems difficult to obliterate.

It is this kind of partnership that the IFP pursues. We have sought it here in St Lucia and we hope to see it flourish.

Some of you may not remember the initiatives I took while I was Chief Minister of KwaZulu, to protect the environmental integrity of St Lucia as one of our Living Lakes. Two years ago we commemorated the 20th anniversary of our battle to prevent mining on the eastern shore of St Lucia. My involvement in that victory was honoured by the Naturelife International Environment Award from Germany. It was good to be reminded of our victory, because it proves that we can win against overwhelming odds when we fight hard enough, long enough and with the utmost integrity.

I remain a conservationist, and St Lucia remains close to my heart. I want to see your best interests served in all aspects of governance. To achieve that, I ask you to partner with the IFP.

Strengthen our leadership mandate in the municipal council by placing this ward under the IFP. Our leadership in Mtubatuba and throughout the Umkhanyakude District is based on the principle of servant leadership. So please go to the Arrie Viviers Community Hall on Wednesday and ask the IFP to serve.

I thank you.

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