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