SA post-May29 – Berman, Buthelezi, serious upgrades on current Parly ‘B’ Team

South Africans are about to enjoy a massive upgrade in the energy and competence of their lawmakers, with an army of fresh talent injected into Parliament after May 29 ushers in a governing coalition. Among Parly’s debutants who look set to make their mark are activist/broadcaster/entrepreneur Kathy Berman and Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi, son and heir of the late IFP leader. They spoke to BizNews editor Alec Hogg.

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Summary of the interview

In an interview conducted by Alec Hogg, Kathy Berman and Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi shared their political perspectives and aspirations. Berman, a former ANC supporter now aligned with Build One South Africa, emphasized her passion for key issues such as health, home affairs, and justice, expressing a drive to make a meaningful impact in Parliament. She highlighted her commitment to hard work and dedication to addressing critical societal challenges.

Prince Buthelezi echoed concerns about Parliament’s effectiveness but emphasized the importance of focused committee work. He expressed admiration for his father’s leadership qualities and integrity, which influenced his own political journey. Both Berman and Buthelezi discussed their admiration for their respective leaders’ vision and dedication to service.

Despite their different party affiliations, Berman and Buthelezi expressed optimism about the potential for collaboration in coalitions to drive positive change in South Africa’s political landscape. Their shared commitment to impactful governance and addressing societal issues showcased a sense of purpose and dedication to making a difference in their roles as political representatives.

Extended transcript of the interview ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

00:00:10:14 – 00:00:38:05
Alec Hogg: At the BizNews conference in Hermanus a month ago, we heard from the 34-year-old crime-fighting activist Ian Cameron on why he’s heading for Parliament in number seven on the DA’s Western Cape list, which virtually guarantees him a place on one of those green leather benches. After May, the 29 other talented people who are likely to grace Parliament for the first time later this year include the former Da Midvaal Mayor Bongani Baloyi, who’s number one in his new party.

00:00:38:07 – 00:01:04:18
Alec Hogg: It’s called the Xiluva, you know, on that list we’ve got ANC veteran league chairs. Snuky Zikalala, number 90 on the ANC national list. Herman Mashaba and Athol Trollip. One two on ActionSA. Gayton McKenzie Velenkosini Hlabisa. Mmusi Maimane Ace Magashule even Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Songezo Zibi topping their party’s national list. They could be in SA parliament.

00:01:04:18 – 00:01:30:09
Alec Hogg: It’s going to be an interesting place in the future. Two people who are going to make it so are, Kathy Berman, who’s number four on the Build One South Africa with Mmusi Maimane, national list and, Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi, who is number seven on the IFP national list. So both of them pretty certain of going to Parliament for the first time.

00:01:30:11 – 00:01:45:09
Alec Hogg: Ladies first. Kathy. Why now? We’ve known each other for many years. You’ve always been an activist and, well, kind of out there entrepreneurial activist. Why join Mmusi and why indeed are you going to Parliament?

00:01:45:11 – 00:02:17:16
Kathy Berman: Alec, we go back a while. 30 years, although I still identify as thirty. Yeah. Yeah. So I think, Alec, I’ve been through any number of changes over the years, but the primary thing that’s always driven me is social justice and democracy in the fullest extent. And so you knew me in my journalist days. I went on into all sorts of forms of business and worked a long time in government as a consultant or full time with Pravin at SARS.

00:02:17:16 – 00:02:46:20
Kathy Berman: And, in, in the early 2000s, and I just reached a point where I was always a supporter of the ANC from the 80s, which was UDF in those days. And I reached a point where during Covid, where I couldn’t anymore, my beloved ANC no longer held the same values that we all bought into. And so I was working really hard in civil society.

00:02:47:00 – 00:03:11:14
Kathy Berman: I worked with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, I worked in various informal settlements, and I just felt that I didn’t have any impact. There was little me trying to get funding from wherever, and I started looking around. I was working with civil society organizations and something clicked. I had an exhibition at Conhill, and heard Mmusi speaking at an event, and I would never have supported him in his former role.

00:03:11:14 – 00:03:38:04
Kathy Berman: And suddenly it resonated for me. And after 1 or 2 meetings, I just felt it’s time to step up. I would never have done this in my other life, but it was time, and it’s felt absolutely right. There’s so much that I know that so many of us can now do as civil society people, because the politicians forgive me, but the politicians have just really I don’t think they worry about the people.

00:03:38:10 – 00:03:59:08
Kathy Berman: And it’s time for us as a community to step up in whichever way we can, whether it’s in Parliament or whether it’s simply making sandwiches for people on the side of the road. Whatever it is, we’ve got to make a difference. This country’s full of amazing, incredible people. It’s up to us to step up so that that’s me. In short, I don’t want to take over.

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00:03:59:10 – 00:04:24:22
Alec Hogg: Prince Buthelezi your father, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, is an icon in my home province of KZN and around the world as well. And you’ve stayed out of politics. I’d see from, one can see everything now on the national, on the parliamentary or potential parliamentary list. So we know you turning or just turned 69. So you’ve managed to stay away from, politics for a long, long time.

00:04:25:00 – 00:04:30:00
Alec Hogg: And yet you also going to Parliament this time around. What changed your mind?

00:04:30:02 – 00:04:56:04
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: Thank you, Alec, thanks for the opportunity. First time on the platform, We go way back with Kathy many, many years ago, many, many years back as well. But to your question are absolutely correct. really, Kathy will attest, never wanted to be anywhere near politics. I was more into business, I suppose. Maybe it was mainly to the pressure and expectation But you know what they call the burden of expectation.

00:04:56:06 – 00:05:20:03
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: I think it’s better, you know, they define your objectives and they start marking you against those objectives, which you never say to yourself. And I mean, of course, if you talk about the table and space in terms of politics My father was at the very table and space in terms of for as long as I’m sure you’ll also attest to that Alec. I’ll admit, now finding myself in this position, I’m wondering.

00:05:20:03 – 00:05:46:08
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: Sometimes I ask myself how much of this is by me wanting. Now you’re asking me why now? Now, I don’t know to what extent is it by me wanting to be here or just being fate because you know, this expectation? Also, there were expectations from my father as well you know, I need someone who can take over the helm carry on so really I found myself being nominated.

00:06:58:21 – 00:07:24:18
Alec Hogg: And what about the IFP itself? When one looks at the pollsters, they appear to give a very different picture to the one that I’m hearing from Mr. Hlabisa, or indeed from the by-elections where it was interesting that we had the latest polls coming out just around the time of the BizNews conference, and it put the IFP at maybe 2 or 3%.

00:07:24:20 – 00:07:38:04
Alec Hogg: And yet you won three by-elections that day, against the ANC. But with seismic increases, do you think the polls are getting it wrong or are you guys just overestimating?

00:07:38:06 – 00:08:02:11
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: Alec, I don’t think that. I think really it’s a mixture of what is trying to be appointed in there because there are polls and there are polls and it depends who’s looking at them. But I think that maybe people have been a bit superficial in assessing the impact of the IFP. I mean, if you this is a party which had a long time when the IFP was formed if you are left with three municipalities.

00:08:02:13 – 00:08:28:20
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: Now, I my father always said, you know, I’d rather have good people on the ship. You know, the story of being inside the tent rather than being outside you know, so really there’s a lot of effort that has been put in putting the IFP back to where it was. But I found it fascinating when you look at how the polls are fear propping and they are saying different things.

00:08:28:20 – 00:08:52:18
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: And it says to me one must too much to be led by polls but they are important of course they always will be. But I think that in terms of the IFP is, there are other questions which are pressing for the IFP I mean, the coalitions was always a question of whether it is advised to decide before the election the results of the election because what if the partner you choose is nowhere to be seen, is not on the horizon at all.

00:08:52:20 – 00:09:15:23
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: So really, there are certain compelling things which other parties are dealing with right now. Like as I said, coalitions which are I don’t think one can escape them. I think by is how we do them. There are countries where they are powerful, they are doing well. But South Africa will have to go through a learning curve of coalitions. And then on day one, whatever pain will come with that we shall see.

00:09:16:04 – 00:09:17:10
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: We shall see.

00:09:17:12 – 00:09:23:04
Alec Hogg: How many municipalities does the IFP now govern or govern in coalition?

00:09:23:06 – 00:09:44:12
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: I really wouldn’t be drawn to speak to me either, but it’s a lot. But, I mean, I can find out because this was what I said about me in politics. But anyway, I know that it’s a lot of municipalities, definitely three times a lot because it was left with three. I’m sure it can be three times five of the of where they think it’s.

00:09:44:18 – 00:10:15:11
Alec Hogg: I was looking at the good governance Africa numbers just over the weekend, and it was interesting to see how the municipalities, where the IFP governs, have improved in those ratings quite significantly. But I guess that’s a story for another day. Kathy, from your perspective, we’ve been following Mmusi’s journey now in BizNews for a couple of years already, and he’s been hard at work in communities, really in the rural areas as well.

00:10:15:12 – 00:10:20:06
Alec Hogg: What are you guys saying about the polls, where many of whom don’t even give you a single seat?

00:10:20:10 – 00:10:47:23
Kathy Berman: You know, Alec, I’m one who feels that the polls I mean, I know that everybody’s talking about the science, the polls, but, I’m one who I remember going into a voting booth and looking and trying to be strategic and my heart taking over. And I voted for the ANC for the last time. So I always wonder what people are going to do once they’re faced with that piece of paper.

00:10:48:01 – 00:11:15:10
Kathy Berman: What I can only respond to is how I see what people how people respond to Mmusi. Because I have absolute faith in Mmusi as a politician, as a man of integrity, and as a man who knows how to frame things, how to see things. And he’s a man of compassion. And what I love is going onto the streets of the cities and seeing people who are in police uniforms, etc., running up and wanting these selfies.

00:11:15:15 – 00:11:43:10
Kathy Berman: When I was putting up posters, people would literally in Sandton would stop their cars and say, is that Mmusi? I’m going to vote for him. So I think, again, this notion of can the sciences be accurate. And I don’t want to be skeptical. People put their lives into it. But I’ve got to believe that we’ve got an incredible group in our top tier, and that certainly the call for Mmusi is a big one.

00:11:43:10 – 00:11:53:15
Kathy Berman: But we’ve got amazing. We’ve got Ayanda, we’ve got Nobuntu to add I don’t have much recognition out there, but I think that those are the things that probably will work in our favor.

00:11:53:17 – 00:12:15:10
Alec Hogg: There’s no doubt a video that we republished of Ayanda’s recent. You got more than 100,000 views. So a lot of people who kind of get it that Mmusi is getting around him. It seems many strong woman maybe you need to elevate the profiles of the strong men that are around you. But it’s going to be a great place.

00:12:15:16 – 00:12:35:23
Alec Hogg: But for you, Kathy and and and also for you, Prince Buthelezi Parliament, from what I’ve been told, can be a very boring place, especially if you’re in a party that isn’t running the place. How are you going to overcome that boredom or or how indeed are you positioning yourself for the next five years? Maybe. Start with you, Kathy.

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00:12:35:23 – 00:12:54:08
Kathy Berman: So for me, it’s easy. I’ve decided exactly which committees I want to sit on. So I’m in there and, you know, we are in there. We’re certainly getting four seats in there because I’m sitting at number four right now. But I’ve decided exactly which portfolio committees I want to serve on. There are certain areas that I’m absolutely passionate about.

00:12:54:08 – 00:13:13:03
Kathy Berman: The areas I know a lot about. I worked in the PPP unit and things like that. I worked at SARS but I wouldn’t want to hog those seats. I really feel strongly about health, about home affairs, about women, etcetera. I mean, right now I work in the children’s hospital where we can’t get organ donors for our young kids with kidney issues.

00:13:13:05 – 00:13:36:22
Kathy Berman: So there’s a simple private member’s bill that I’ll work on, which is to ensure that we have an opt-out versus an opt-in solution. I have a son, my instant son, who grew up in the township, who to this day hasn’t got an ID book. He’s 27 years old. So you can see again that the human rights, the justice issues are what absolutely float my boat.

00:13:37:00 – 00:13:55:23
Kathy Berman: And so I’m not one who’s going to sit there and play Candy Crush. And I don’t want to go shopping for shoes. And I really don’t want ta blue light brigade. So for me, we going to work damn hard. I don’t think it’s going to be boring. I think it’s so exciting. I’ve worked for years on policies that have never seen the light of day.

00:13:56:01 – 00:14:06:05
Kathy Berman: We have to be bringing people in who are going to be assisting the committees and not fall asleep. So I’m there for working hard. So it’s not going to be boring.

00:14:06:07 – 00:14:08:00
Alec Hogg: And from your perspective, Prince.

00:14:08:03 – 00:14:29:04
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: Alec, I think that I’m somehow aligned with that, with what Kathy has said. The thing is that one of the reasons why nothing turns me on about Parliament. I wonder when we talk about young people. I think I remember my father was in Parliament when they were sitting in the gallery. Why do I call this the, you know, throwing missiles across the hall?

00:14:29:06 – 00:14:49:22
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: That is this example, giving those young people up there. Because really, at the moment, the perception of Parliament is very bizarre. That also really weighed in for me to say, do I want to go to that place where you have a mean? It’s just no respect. Tolerance is getting worse and as temperatures are getting higher and higher, I mean, and I said, these are adults.

00:14:50:03 – 00:15:24:00
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: And I thought I have struggled to see myself sitting there. But then I’ve said I’ve sat on many boards and I’ve checked many on this, and I think you are more effective when you are in a committee, just like, I mean, if I compare report to your committee rather than sit there. So I also will pick. I mean, when you sit down to say where we believe, as the IFP we can contribute most, we definitely point out very clearly where I like to contribute, but I prefer the back room in terms of a small space committee.

00:15:24:02 – 00:15:44:05
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: I think that this brought to being and I was just saying that it’s always been my belief that when a thing is no longer effective and I go that I’ll be very, very clear what I mean, what I speak in terms of channeling my energies to, but not to what we see on TV and people falling asleep and snoring that.

00:15:44:06 – 00:16:05:16
Alec Hogg: Yeah, I think many people in South Africa will be cheering that, comment. And, and nice to know that they’ll have people like you guys helping them or representing them in Parliament. But why the IFP Prince? Was it just a foregone conclusion? Did you ever think of any of the other parties I like?

00:16:05:16 – 00:16:25:23
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: You know, I was born and bred in the IFP my father from the time I didn’t even know I. By the way, he was not always IFP. He was in the political space from when I was a baby. So how did it define itself going forward? It was a different matter altogether because he became many things. He became he served as the Minister of Home Affairs.

00:16:26:01 – 00:16:53:07
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: In a way, this role as a prime minister has got a lot of politics, and there’s no argument there already know. But then I think what I always tell people is that I bought into the man who happened to my father rather than the party, because, you know, I’ve always said, my father, if there’s one thing I always really admired, is that whatever he did, he defined it, made it clear what he want.

00:16:53:07 – 00:17:30:18
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: We all know that a family is a microcosm of the community. So if you are a leader, if you fail to be a leader in your own home, as a husband and a father, I think that there’s no way that you can be a leader out there so that’s really the picture I bought into the man, really. But then as I grew up, they are policies I’ve liked to the difference he has made and certain characters in him as a man, a minimum wage, which I’ve really admired and respected in terms of he’s known for no corruption because except for the title of IFP, we must look at those characters that no, no tolerance.

00:17:30:20 – 00:17:51:20
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi: I mean, actually, very high tolerant behavior, parties. And this is why he ended up being defined as a, as a Statesman a great way to answer you. It’s not so much, you know, it’s like being someone defined my father as a phenomenal human being who happened to be a politician.

00:17:51:22 – 00:18:16:06
Alec Hogg: And from your side, Kathy last word. Are you, when you look back as a hard-boiled, dyed-in-the-wool ANC supporter, you now joined in with the archenemy, or certainly was when he was leading the DA. Yeah. Why Mmusi Why, why with Mmusi’s lot. Why not? Maybe Songezo Zibi. If you wanted to make a difference or indeed even actually say.

00:18:16:12 – 00:18:41:03
Kathy Berman: Well, ironically, the ANC, are the people you keep saying to me, why did I leave the ANC? So I suppose it was fortuitous. Rise were, organizing at that point, but they weren’t yet a party when I had this drive to make the change. and I believe that, you know, the thing with Mmusi is he’s been there.

00:18:41:03 – 00:19:13:18
Kathy Berman: He knows the space. And I had an opportunity to work closely with them. I invested a year of my life working with them before we launched into campaign phase. And so, being there, being able to to have a strong role in it. and so it’s, it’s fitted perfectly there there’s been a lot of robust debates and they’ve been certain positions that I wouldn’t necessarily adhere to, but it would be the same with the ANC.

00:19:13:19 – 00:19:35:08
Kathy Berman: it would be the same with. But it certainly I mean, it would have I mean, if there were any choices that would have been rise or, or build one South Africa. But ANC is where I always belonged, but not the current. So I’m looking forward to building and I’m looking forward to working with dynamic, charismatic, intelligent, I mean super intelligent people.

00:19:35:13 – 00:19:50:07
Kathy Berman: But most excitingly, when we talk coalitions, I’m really excited about being working alongside all the people you mentioned because we as a group are going to make a difference. I can’t wait to be working with so many amazing, amazing people.

00:19:50:12 – 00:20:09:04
Alec Hogg: Kathy Berman and Prince Zuzifa for Buthelezi. It’s been great talking with you. I think the whoever’s watching this is going to be feeling a little bit more uplifted about South Africa’s political future. but I guess there was only one way for us to go roll on May the 29th.

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