Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 03:56:29 -0200
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Subject: Mayibuye - October 1995
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Constitutional wrangle in KwaZulu/Natal
Mayibuye, Vol. 6, no. 6
The KwaZulu/Natal legislature is embroiled in a bitter dispute over the
IFP's constitutional proposals, writes a correspondent.
While the writing of the country's constitution is continuing smoothly, the
process of writing the KwaZulu/Natal constitution is in disarray. In its
headlong rush to formulate a secessionist constitution for KwaZulu/Natal,
the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has abandoned any pretence at democratic
behaviour or reconciliation. Despite progress in negotiations in the
province's constitutional committee around constitutional principles, the
IFP earlier this month insisted on voting in the legislature on its
original, hardline principles. It refused even to postpone the vote until
all opposition MPLs could be present.
The vote went ahead, despite a walkout by all the other parties in the
legislature in protest at the IFP's heavy-handedness. In trying to bulldoze
its constitution through the legislature, the IFP has been accused of
demonstrating extreme hypocrisy. It suspended its participation in the
Constitutional Assembly (CA), which is drawing up the national
constitution, because it wanted an effective veto over the final
constitution. This they did despite every effort by the CA to reach
consensus in the forum on as many issues as possible.
Yet when it comes to the provincial constitution, they refuse to
acknowledge the views of parties which have substantially more
representation at a provincial level than they have at a national level.
There is no desire on the part of the IFP to ensure that there is broad
public consultation on the provincial constitution; that its provisions are
thoroughly considered by specialised theme committees; or that the
constitution which is finally adopted is accepted by the overwhelming
majority of people in the province.
Provincial legislatures are empowered by the interim constitution to pass a
constitution for its province by a majority of at least two-thirds. The
Constitutional Court would need to certify that the constitution which was
passed was not inconsistent with the national constitution and the
constitutional principles. The provincial constitution may, however,
provide for provincial legislative and executives structures different from
those in the national constitution. It can also make provisions for the
role, status and institutions of a traditional monarch.
The vote in the legislature follows a decision by the IFP's national
council to reverse agreements reached in the province's constitutional
committee and to replace their nominee for chairperson of the committee -
for the second time since the process began. ANC MPL Dumisani Makhaye says
that the outcome of the IFP national council confirms that the IFP has lost
direction and is at war with itself.
By showing so little regard for the role of the committee, "the IFP is
showing contempt for the other parties participating in drafting a
constitution for the province," says ANC provincial spokesperson on
constitutional affairs John Jeffrey. It shows the depth of crisis the IFP
is in, he says.
The IFP has threatened to call fresh elections in the province if its
version of the constitution is not passed by the legislature, since it
needs the support of all other parties in the legislature to pass its
constitution without the support of the ANC. IFP leader Mangosuthu
Buthelezi last week instructed the director general of Home Affairs to
provide assistance to KwaZulu/Natal premier Frank Mdlalose in drafting
provincial legislation which would empower Mdlalose to call new provincial
elections. Buthelezi said he wanted the legislation ready by this sitting
of the legislature.
While the IFP deny that their constitutional proposals are secessionist,
their proposals include provisions for a provincial constitutional court
and a provincial militia.