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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Memorandum for presentation to Dr Padraig O'Malley

Memorandum for presentation to Dr Padraig O'Malley, The John Mccormack Institute of Public Affairs by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Chief Minister of Kwazulu and President of Inkatha Freedom Party Ulundi, Wednesday, 15 September 1993

Dr Padraig O'Malley, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to Ulundi. Much has transpired since our last meeting with the breakdown of CODESA and the violent retaliation of the ANC. A far more representative negotiating body is now in place, but the problems we experienced at CODESA soon resurfaced, with certain major players bent on exploiting the constitution-making process to the exclusion of others. By the same token the IFP has once again been forced to rally for justice, revealing the manipulative games that are being played, and exposing the agendas of the manipulators.

After the breakdown of CODESA, the ANC and the South African Government entered into bilateral discussions which culminated in the joint signing of the Record of Understanding, and the joint tabling of a '5 year transition plan'. The thrust of these agreements has been tabled at the multi-party Negotiating Forum as the only alternative that can be negotiated. And because the IFP and the KwaZulu Government refuse to be drawn into this process to rubber stamp the ANC and the South African Government's pre-determined plans, we have been labelled 'objectionist', 'undemocratic' and even worse, as 'spoilers' - cheap propaganda to discredit the rational and valid arguments of the 1FP.

First, I want to dispel the notion that the IFP is merely looking to secure a dominant role for itself in KwaZulu/Natal or that our policy is directed at secession. I did not go through the battles with the National Party Government to un-ban the liberation movements and free political prisoners to voluntarily write myself off the national political stage. And the same goes for my Party. We have a bounden duty to all the people of South Africa to bring about a constitutional dispensation which guarantees plural democracy and a free market system, under the rule of law.

The IFP is a national party with a national agenda - one we believe will bring peace and prosperity to South Africa - and one we intend to broadcast when we contest elections nationwide.

Turning to the multi-party negotiations, I would once again like to emphasise that the IFP is fully committed to seeking a constitutional outcome which will ensure the territorial integrity of the country within a federal framework of strong federal states, with autonomous powers vested in them respectively and entrenched in a sovereign constitution under the protection of a strong constitutional federal court. This was our policy at CODESA and it remains the fundamental basis of our demands today.

All powerful central governments, wherever they exist in the world, with their top heavy bureaucracies and dictatorial policies, are increasingly viewed as rendering the citizen powerless and poor, as more and more of the national income is absorbed in non-productive investment. If we have learnt anything from the years of central apartheid rule operating within a unitary state, it is that never again should the people of this country be willing to entrust themselves to a governmental system which concentrates power at the centre to such an extent that abuse of power becomes the order of the day.

And in this there seems to have been a growing consensus within the country, shared not least by our local business sector, and rapidly growing in popularity with the man in the street. South Africa's national Chamber of Business resolved to pledge its full support for a federal system of government, as the only solution to South Africa's ailing economy. This was a positive step forward for our struggle to secure this dispensation.

This steady domestic pressure, coupled with the strong influence of Western federal democracies abroad, I believe will ultimately bear fruit as the incomparable merits of federalism, with its separately entrenched autonomous powers in the regional states and in the central government, become common knowledge to the public at large. And my party will never compromise federalism for regionalism, because the latter leaves political power essentially vested at the centre, where it is open to abuse. Regionalism alone could never bear the strains of South Africa's divided society with the disparate nature of our various cultural traditions, all of which need to be accommodated in the future constitution.

The IFP maintains that any democratic constitution-making process must be ready to receive input from a ground up process of democracy building, similar to that achieved in the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba. The process presently bulldozed through the Negotiating Forum today is the furthermost from this ideal. The South African Government and the National Party, together with the ANC/SACP alliance have reached an agreement on the general parameters of a process of transformation of our society which will empower a new government in a unitary State. The process designed by the ANC/SACP alliance and agreed to by the South African Government will produce a unitary State and will provide no guarantees for the recognition of pluralism and territorial and personal autonomy.

This process will lead us into elections outside predetermined parameters of a well-established and final constitutional framework for South Africa. This process will empower a new government before the final rules of our society are set forth and entrenched in a constitution. This process will bring about the liberation of our people outside the parameters, the checks and balances and the guidance of a final constitution.

Through the blatant manipulation of the Negotiating Forum's standing procedures the ANC/SACP alliance and the South African Government have set up an election date of April 27, 1994 for the establishment of a Constituent Assembly-type setup which would draft the final constitution, while the country is governed by the first democratically represented government of South Africa which even to be labelled an interim government, will be the fully empowered de facto and de jure government of the day.

And the only thing the South African Government hopes to gain from this two-phase transition process, is a share in the power during the lengthy period of transition between the election of the Constituent Assembly, to the final elections of a future government - a costly sacrifice to make in the face of the loss of constitutional guarantees for the people of South Africa.

The Constituent Assembly route is perhaps the most dangerous way of drafting a constitution in the South African context and would merely serve the purposes of the ANC/SACP alliance's grand plan to seize the totality of power. In fact, the greatest risk associated with the Constituent Assembly route is that it will not produce a federal state.

Through my years of experience in regional government in KwaZulu, I have come to realise that the only way democracy can be achieved in South Africa is through federalism. Only a federation would be able to recognise and capitalise on the great diversity of our country, and differentiate the system of government so as to adjust to the needs and characteristics of each region.

It is this plurality of South Africa's society that must be identified and accommodated in the final political solution. For this we need to set in place the mechanisms to transform our society so as to liberalise it and ensure the empowerment of the Black masses. This needs to be done in the context which promotes the improvement of the social conditions of the less privileged and redresses the social injustices of our country. However, this process must be compatible with the economics of my country and with the need to ensure continuing prosperity and economic viability in the region.

The solution lies in federalism. Federalism is guaranteed to build social justice. It is the one form of government which could bring to South Africa a commitment to freedom, equality, democracy, pluralism and equal access to opportunities for all. Federalism would be able to assist those less advantaged people in my society who have suffered years of poverty and deprivation under the ravages of apartheid rule.

The seriousness of the current political situation in South Africa cannot be underplayed. The IFP and KwaZulu Government, together with various other representative political organisations and governments, have embarked on a concerted drive to stop the ANC and the South African Government in their tracks. We know that if they were to succeed in pushing through their two-phase transition deal, the safety and autonomy of our regions would be seriously threatened.

Yet, in the face of the withdrawal of the IFP and the KwaZulu Government from negotiations, and the institution of court action by the KwaZulu Government in an attempt to reverse the decisions pushed through the Negotiating Forum, the South African Government and the ANC have pressed on relentlessly. In the short parliamentary session this month, it is planned that the South African Government will pass the Transitional Executive Council Bill. The implications of this Bill for the KwaZulu Government, and for regional autonomy in general, is frightening. Irrespective of whether the IFP and the KwaZulu Government participate with the parties of the Transitional Executive Council, decisions reached by this Council will be binding on our territory.

The Transitional Executive Council is to establish a number of sub-councils, one of which is the Sub-Council on Local and Regional Government. It is the powers conferred to this Sub-Council which will effectively attempt to obliterate KwaZulu as a political force. The powers of this Sub-Council include the following:

* to review regional and local government matters administered by any government, including the KwaZulu Government;

* to amend, repeal or enact any regional or local government's laws, including those of the KwaZulu Government;

* decide on regional and local government's financial budgets, powers and functions, as well as transitional government measures and demarcation - this function will be carried out in consultation with the Local Government Negotiating Forum, which comprises of the South African Government and the ANC-allied civic organisation, SANCO, alone.

In short the powers given to the Transitional Executive Council allows this body to take charge of everything that is owned and governed by the KwaZulu Government. It will effectively strip the KwaZulu Government of its public administration and its police force, and subjugate this region to the control of an ANC-dominated central government.

The ANC and the South African Government are under the misguided impression that they can structure the future government of this country alone. While we sat at the Negotiating Forum they rejected any attempt on our part to table an alternative federal option. In our presence, and despite our vehement protests, they blatantly set a date for the election of a unitary interim government structure. When we were then forced to withdraw from negotiations, they carried on the next day without our participation. President FW de Klerk and Minister Roelf Meyer announce to the world that they are doing everything in their power to draw the IFP and the KwaZulu Government back into the process - these are blatant lies.

The National Party, more than any other party, know what the bottom line for the IFP is. Through decades of our resistance against oppressive apartheid rule, they know we would never sacrifice the democratic empowerment of the Black people to become part of some power-sharing deal with the ANC. The IFP refused to take part in the government's tripartite arrangement. We refused to negotiate with the South African Government until the release of Mr Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC. Does the South African Government honestly believe that we are going to meekly sit back now, after all we have fought for, to allow one dictatorship to take over the reigns of power of another? Does the South African Government honestly believe we are going to stand aside while they dismantle the KwaZulu Government and attempt to subjugate the will of the people in this region, and in other regions of South Africa, to another corrupt central government? The answer is no!

This is the background to the strong objections the IFP has made at the national Negotiating Forum. If we do not voice our opposition to this unjust process now, our chances of achieving democracy in South Africa will become that much more remote. It we do not make our demands for constitutional safeguards clear, now before elections, what recourse will be available to protect the citizens of this country? The IFP is fighting for the individual freedoms of all South Africans. Whatever we achieve, will be for the benefit of our nation.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.