Buthelezi says coali­tions will save SA

Sunday Times - - NEWS - By JAN-JAN JOU­BERT

There is hope for South Africa, and that hope lies in the for­ma­tion of coali­tions to stop the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal rot, says IFP leader Man­go­suthu Buthelezi.

The 89-year-old Buthelezi has an­nounced he is step­ping down af­ter 42 years as IFP leader. A new leader will be elected at the party’s next con­fer­ence, but that will not be be­fore the IFP Youth Brigade, the IFP Women’s Brigade and pro­vin­cial IFP struc­tures have their elec­tive con­gresses.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day Times on Thurs­day, Buthelezi said he had hope for South Africa. “Dark as it is, there is al­ways hope, which must be matched with ac­tion. Hope matched with ac­tion sus­tained us dur­ing the strug­gle. It must sus­tain us now,” he said.

“I am es­pe­cially en­thu­si­as­tic about coali­tions. It is def­i­nitely the fu­ture, as it has been in many es­tab­lished democ­ra­cies the world over. As the IFP, we are do­ing our ut­most to make it suc­ceed. If we work hard at it, I have no doubt that coali­tions will be suc­cess­ful.”

He warned that the ANC should not, in prin­ci­ple, be ex­cluded from coali­tions.

“I can­not see why the ANC can­not be a part of it. We must all work to­gether in the best in­ter­ests of our coun­try.

“If they want to be a part of the so­lu­tion, they must be al­lowed to be.”

Buthelezi has played a cen­tral role in keep­ing the cur­rent op­po­si­tion co-op­er­a­tive agree­ments afloat when­ever they have hit choppy wa­ters, as they did when the EFF threat­ened to pull out two months ago.

This week he looked back on his long ca­reer as a man with fond mem­o­ries.

“I had op­por­tu­ni­ties any­one would envy me — meet­ings with Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Mar­garet Thatcher, who be­came a real friend, Ger­man chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl, Amer­i­can pres­i­dents Jimmy Carter, Ron­ald Rea­gan and Ge­orge Bush snr, African lead­ers like Olusegun Obasanjo and oth­ers too many to men­tion.”

He had no hes­i­ta­tion in nam­ing the low point in his ca­reer — what he re­gards as the be­trayal by for­mer pres­i­dents FW de Klerk and Nel­son Man­dela of prom­ises made to the IFP in 1994 re­gard­ing the Zulu monar­chy.

So is this the end of the road for Buthelezi, who has been such a fea­ture of the South African po­lit­i­cal land­scape?

“It was my de­ci­sion to stand down — de­spite peo­ple ask­ing me to stay on. I will as­sist the new IFP leader in any way he or she re­quires, and will con­tinue to serve the coun­try as best I can,” says Buthelezi.

Pic­ture: Esa Alexan­der

Out­go­ing IFP leader Man­go­suthu Buthelezi says all par­ties, in­clud­ing the ANC, must work to­gether.

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