Source: The Presidency
Title: Mlambo-Ngcuka: Commemoration and unveiling of stone of Inkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau
Address delivered by the Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the 10th commemoration and unveiling of the stone of Inkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau, Tabankulu
Premier of the Eastern Cape, Nosimo Balindlela,
Minister of Public Works, Inkosazana Stella Sigcau,
Chairperson of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA),
The Ama Mpondomise Community,
It is really a pleasure and a privilege for me to be here with you today as we honour and commemorate the 10th Anniversary since Inkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau passed on to the world of our ancestors thus joining the Great Kings of the Ama Mpondo people like his great great, grandfather iKumkani u Faku, and many others.
King Faku holds a special place in the hearts of the Ama Mpondo nation as one of the greatest kings and as the nation builder of Ama Mpondo. Many African nations also hold him in high esteem and hold his name in awe as one of the great kings to have graced the African continent. He is regarded as one of the unifiers of the Pondo people and those who were his subjects.
I Nkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau belonged to the Royal Reigning Line of the Ama Mpondo Kingdom. I Nkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau exhibited in all his life the legacy that was left by his forefathers, the Great Pondo Kings, as he always reflected a strong leadership capacity, bravery and sense of identity.
He committed himself to fighting for the liberation of all of South Africa at all costs. This further endeared him to his people who, despite the fact that he was a King, was also an elected representative of his people in the Eastern Cape Legislature from 1994 until his death in 1996. He dedicated his life to ensuring that African people are freed from mental slavery, poverty, colonisation, of the mind and any form of oppression. In him we had a King who embraced both traditional leadership as well as modern democratic principles.
It is important as well that while we honour and remember Inkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau we also pay a special tribute to the heroes of the struggle like Chief Bhambatha ka Mancinza Zondi, who a hundred years ago was at the head of a struggle of enormous proportions when he led the Bhambatha Rebellion against the Poll Tax that was imposed on Africans.
Preparations are well under way to mark the centenary of the Bhambata Rebellion, which took place in April 1906. This process will initiate celebrations in recognition of the bravery of the African people in fighting colonialism and its various forms of repression such as land and other dispossession and unjust tax laws. The anniversary also serves as an injunction for us to speed up comprehensive land reform, including the implementation of the resolutions of the Land Summit.
When traditional leaders led their people against the poll tax, they demanded Africans’ sovereignty over their land. In commemorating Chief Bhambata’s heroic deeds, we pay tribute to the leadership of 1906 for their valiant struggle for land rights in South Africa. We know that Chief Bhambatha also solicited help from other African kings in order to wage this struggle.
As government we are calling on the nation as a whole in all its sectors to celebrate the leaders of 1906 and to commit ourselves to ensuring that the land rights protected by our democratic Constitution are enjoyed by all.
Although the poll tax uprisings were suppressed by military force, resistance to oppression continued as new forms of struggle emerged, among them satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi of which the centenary is also marked this year, and the formation in 1912 of the African National Congress which united all African ethnic groups after the call made by Pixley Isaka Ka Seme at the opening of the Conference when he said: “We have called you, therefore, to this conference, so that we can together devise ways and means of forming our national union for the purposes of creating national unity and defending our rights and privileges”.
Our country’s Constitution affirms and protects land rights as fundamental human rights that the generation of 1906 fought for. Democracy has ensured tenure for those previously denied this right; but much still needs to be done to eradicate apartheid’s legacy in the distribution of land and to make the constitutional rights a reality for all.
As we celebrate the achievements of the past and the advances democracy has brought in the distribution of land, government calls on all sectors of society to join in a national effort to ensure:
* faster implementation of the programme of comprehensive land reform, including the implementation of the resolutions of the Land Summit
* effective implementation of programmes to support the sustainable use of land for agricultural purposes by small farmers
* implementation of programmes using the land and its products as part of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) to facilitate faster and shared growth.
Government is embarking on processes to empower rural traditional communities as part of the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programmes. We are targeting these communities for specific projects that will both develop them and also build strong economies in rural areas so that we can curb the skills flight from these communities to urban areas.
It is encouraging to see a rural and traditional community today launching such important projects. The Lwandlolubomvu Rural Development Project, Ntsikayezwe Lama Mpondo Cultural Day and the Ntsikayezwe Soccer Tournament, which are being launched today give us hope and inspiration that our fight to eradicate poverty and create a better life for all will soon be a reality even in the most rural areas.
We hope that by launching these projects you will also contribute to ensuring that the memory of Inkosi Ntsikayezwe Sigcau will always be cherished and celebrated, that, through these living monuments, his beliefs and ideals will continue to be with us and his legacy restored.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
8 April 2006