Buthelezi 'ashamed of countrymen'

2010-08-21 09:01

Johannesburg - IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi is "deeply ashamed" of the striking public servants prepared to endanger lives and punish schoolchildren, he said on Friday.

"The latest public sector strike has shown us the worst in human nature," Buthelezi said in a statement at the end of the third day of the strike over wages.

"On Wednesday I stood before a joint sitting of Parliament to debate South Africa's hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and declared that I am proud of my country. Today, just two days later, I find myself deeply ashamed of my countrymen".

He acknowledged workers' right to strike, and that they were struggling to make ends meet.

"But every man and woman of conscience must draw a line at what they will do to have their own needs met.

"And it seems that for many there is no line, or it extends far beyond the bounds of what is rational, moral or humane," he said.

Strikers accused of murder

Striking public servants shut down schools, blocked roads and barricaded hospitals in protests which have become increasingly violent. On Friday, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi accused striking healthcare workers of the "murder" of emergency patients.

The deaths of two underweight babies at the Natalspruit hospital were not a result of wage negotiations, but "intentional negligence" by the nurses into whose care they were entrusted, said Buthelezi.

"Once this strike has ended, how could anyone entrust another child into these nurses' care? They have not only gone against the nurses' pledge, but against every moral precept by which we live," he said.

People were concerned at pictures of empty classrooms and the punishment of children for grow-ups problems.

However, this paled in relation to the horror of learning that a hospital had turned away a man whose hand had been amputated, that a nurse was pulled from a theatre while an elderly man lay anaesthetised on the operating table, that soldiers had to be sent to help at hospitals, and that doctors had to hide women awaiting caesarean sections.

"I have the utmost respect for those nurses and teachers who have drawn the line at punishing children and endangering lives; who are continuing to work under very real pressures and threats from their colleagues," Buthelezi said.

Collective conscience

The nation faced a watershed moment.

"This is not only about each one's individual conscience, but our collective conscience as a nation.

"It is time to re-examine the limits, renegotiate the process and reconsider where the right to strike collides with the rights to life and security."

The constitution recognised that there were instances where rights had to be curtailed. "Are we erring on the side of liberty?" he asked.

The government has offered workers a seven percent increase and a R700 a month housing allowance. The have rejected this and are demanding an 8.6 percent increase and a R1000 a month housing allowance.

Strikes were a complex and thorny issue, said Buthelezi.

"But in my mind, when it comes to life and children, the grey areas quickly separate into black and white. Those who still see grey have shamed our nation."


Read more on:    ifp  |  mangosuthu buthelezi  |  strikes

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:


There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.