19 February 2003

SOUTH AFRICA: Basic differences between ANC and Inkatha

President Thabo Mbeki, in Parliament on Feb 18, launched an unprecedented attack on IFP leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi – whom he accused of trying to force the Government to implement “wrong” policies and to use his partnership with the Democratic Alliance (to which the remnants of the former National Party, before end 1993 the main political supporter of the Apartheid regime, belong) to win power.

Relations are already tense since Buthelezi in January forced the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in an out-of-court settlement to drop publication of some of their findings about close military collaboration between Inkatha and Apartheid security forces. Only days later however, Walter Felgate, former close advisor to Buthelezi, disclosed new evidence implicating Buthelezi to have prepared for civil war in early 1994 to make free elections impossible.

Another bone of contention is the heated controversy on whether the legislative seat of the KwaZulu/Natal province should be in the royal capital city Ulundi, which the IFP prefers, or in Pietermaritzburg, the ANCs choice. A few days ago, IFP national chairman, Regional Premier Lionel Mtshali, slammed the ANC for betraying Ulundi, saying the ANC was responsible for stripping Ulundi of its status as dual provincial capital. Mtshali, speaking at Vulindlela outside Pietermaritzburg ahead of next week’s official opening of the provincial legislature, called on IFP supporters to descend on Pietermaritzburg when it hosts the official opening of the legislature. In May last year all provincial political parties, except the IFP and UDM, voted in favour of Pietermaritzburg, rather than Ulundi, being made the province’s capital. “I am here today to lead the campaign to ensure we (the IFP) win the 2004 elections. I am here today to win your minds and hearts. The future of this province belongs to the IFP,” said Mtshali.

Also land reform is controversial between the two parties. Mtshali’s cabinet colleague, Nyanga Ngubane, speaking at the same event, dedicated most of his speech to attacking the government’s Communal Land Rights Bill. The bill seeks to give ordinary rural people title deeds instead of having rural land administered by amakhosi. Traditional leaders believe the bill will make them redundant. Ngubane, who is the provincial MEC for traditional affairs and local government, told the gathering that if the bill was passed into law it would force rural people to pay rates. In his state-of-the-nation address on Februry 14, Mbeki said the government was proceeding with the bill. He said it would help in the development of small-scale agriculture and would alleviate poverty. (Sowetan / City Press)

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