President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged citizens to fulfil Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader and Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s wishes for a sustainable and durable reconciliation.
“We carry the heavy weight of memories, and of many heartaches. But difficult as it may be right now, it is important that we fulfil the wishes he had for a sustainable and durable reconciliation, not only between the IFP and the ANC [African National Congress] but amongst all of us as the people of South Africa,” President Ramaphosa said on Saturday.
The President said this while delivering the eulogy at the funeral service of Buthelezi who passed away at the age of 95. The Prince had served as South Africa’s first Home Affairs Minister and was the founder and President Emeritus of the IFP.
Buthelezi and the country’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela were of the same mind. President Ramaphosa said the legacy they left behind was that of an “enduring dream for reconciliation, peace and progress for our great nation.”
In addition, uShenge was a leader who was willing to collaborate across the political divide.
“I have always admired his commitment to finding common ground amongst political leaders and parties, particularly between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Congress. He was not a man who let burning issues slide, and he was unafraid to speak truth to power.
“And yet, the spirit of camaraderie, respect, empathy and understanding of the immense difficulties we face in rebuilding this country, defined all our interactions. He had respect for the authority of the state and defended the institutions of our democratic order.
“He was always there when we needed to consult with traditional leaders, encouraging people to go and vote in elections and supporting the national effort during the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the President.
Prince Buthelezi was described as a defender of constitutional order who served as a proud Member of Parliament (MP).
While robust in his critique, Buthelezi was also genuine with his praise.
“I believe I can speak on behalf of the members of our Parliament when I say that we will miss his legendary eloquence, the care, diligence and attention to detail with which he performed his duties as an MP.
“As an elder statesman, he was dignity personified. Many will testify that they can still hear his voice permeating through the National Assembly eloquently exhorting all members of Parliament to uphold the principles and values of our constitution and democratic order, and to do so with discipline, decorum and respect for not just each other, but for the people of South Africa.”
The President, on behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, offered his deepest condolences to the Royal Household, the Buthelezi family and the leadership and membership of the IFP.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said a giant tree had fallen.
“We’ve lost in Parliament his presence as a guiding elder [and] we will miss his wisdom and experience. He was our dad, irrespective of our political parties. For us, we must not forget his words of wisdom and the knowledge he shared with us. Many of us have learned something from him,” the Speaker said.
She said Buthelezi who was a straight forward man, honest and true to himself, played an important role in the structuring of the government of national unity.
The Speaker said Buthelezi’s name would appear on the list of people who made a difference in the history of the people of South Africa.
Former Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe were among the dignitaries who attended the funeral.
Among those who addressed mourners at the funeral were former President of Nigeria, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo as well as IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa.
Source: South African Government News Agency