Letter to the editor

2013-06-19 16:58
Mangosuthu Buthelezi (Picture: Die Burger)

Mangosuthu Buthelezi (Picture: Die Burger)

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Dear Editor,

I would not usually involve myself in discussing the personal grievances of former IFP members who seek to pave a way for themselves by attacking me and the IFP. However, statements have been made by and about former IFP MPLs, Mr Roman Liptak and Dr Usha Roopnarain, which reflect on my office and my leadership. I would therefore like to set the record straight.

Contrary to the sensationalist titles the media is giving Mr Liptak, he has never been my "spin doctor", my "right hand man", my "confidante" or my "speech writer". He has also not served me "for decades".

Mr Liptak joined the IFP in 2004 as a researcher. In that capacity, he assisted with policy development and drafting. He never worked in my office, but he began as a hard worker. Thus, in 2009, the Party sent Mr Liptak to the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Legislature, where he delivered his own speeches and made his own statements.

Among these were harsh criticisms of the ANC’s leadership, governance style and policies. The record of Mr Liptak’s utterances in the Legislature is available for anyone to read. He addressed fraud and corruption, poor planning, insufficient oversight and the lack of political will within the leadership.

It is therefore disingenuous for him now to claim that in all his time in the Legislature he never saw anything objectionable in the ANC’s leadership. His own record might just harm his aspirations in the ANC.

It is also dishonest of Mr Liptak to claim that he never saw the IFP discussing policy, when he himself was involved in policy discussions. Indeed, he was tasked by the KwaZulu Natal Caucus just a few months ago with researching an alternative budget framework for the election year, a project he had assisted with twice before.

In my last interaction with Mr Liptak, in February this year, he wrote to me saying, "I would like to reassure you that I take… your trust in me extremely seriously" and "I wish to reassure you of my commitment to the IFP cause which I have demonstrated repeatedly and consistently".

Despite these unsolicited assurances, Mr Liptak is now badmouthing me and the IFP in the media. His suggestion that I prefer taking cheap political pot-shots when I speak in public, rather than dealing with issues of substance, is ridiculous. Anyone who knows me knows that I steer clear of mudslinging and always speak to the heart of the matter. My own record bears testimony, and is also available for anyone to read.

I realise that Mr Liptak feels the IFP has lost a great asset through his resignation. But in reality, we lost Mr Liptak’s contribution quite some time ago when he turned his focus away from serving the people towards serving his own pocket. His bizarre attacks on the IFP and my leadership are merely an escalation of that selfish ambition.

Dr Roopnarain, not to be outdone, is also spreading vitriol about the Party that employed and mentored her. She speaks about "a political wilderness where virtues like honesty are not valued". Yet honesty eludes her when she suggests that the IFP is sexist, racist or undemocratic. Had she really felt this way, why decline a position on National Council where her concerns could be raised?

I suspect that, once the bloom is off the rose, Dr Roopnarain’s unavailability for party work will not be tolerated as charitably by the ANC.

Yours sincerely,

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi

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