Prince Buthelezi wishes to live to see Ramaphosa’s commitment on Ingonyama land honoured
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Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has said he wished to live to see the commitment made by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the government would not move to expropriate the land under the Ingonyama Trust being honoured.
During a debate on the 25th anniversary of the constitution in the National Assembly on Friday, Buthelezi recalled his 47-strong team of MPs were part of the Constituent Assembly that entered the Government of National Unity and shared in the task of designing the final constitution.
“This constitutional-making process sought wide public participation. The end product would enshrine 34 principles on which consensus had been reached at the negotiating table,” he said.
Buthelezi also said the final constitution was intended to be unassailable, decades into the future.
However, a cloud hung over an agreement reached between him, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk on April 19, 1994 to pursue international mediation on outstanding constitutional issues.
The constitution was written while outstanding issues were unresolved despite rumours that he (Buthelezi) would pull out of the then interim process.
“I stayed to ensure the gains we made at the negotiating table were in the final constitution,” Buthelezi said.
He said his party, Inkatha Freedom Party, had fought for some of the constitutional provisions, such as the Bill of Rights and customary law and the provinces.
“I remain proud, honourable Deputy Speaker, when Parliament adopted the final constitution on 8 May 1996.”
Buthelezi said many of the IFP’s victories were evident in the constitution.
“For 25 years, this constitution has been at the centre of our democracy. South Africans are rightly proud of our constitution,” he said.
“My only regret, Deputy Speaker, as you know Honourable President, no provision was made for the role, powers and functions of traditional leadership,” Buthelezi said.
He also said the shortcoming was identified by a cabinet committee 21 years later and a commitment was made to amend Chapters 7 and 12 of the constitution.
“Like the solemn agreement of 1994, that commitment was never honoured.”
Buthelezi said he was determined to see the matter finalised before he retired. He also said 24 years ago there were rumblings in the ANC about the Ingonyama Trust Act.
Buthelezi said he was grateful to Ramaphosa for the commitment he made, last year, to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, that no land under the Ingonyama Trust would be expropriated.
“If the Lord preserves me, I intend to remain to see this commitment honoured,” Buthelezi said.