'Bring back the fear of God'

It has been a busy week for former Inkatha Freedom Party chairperson Ziba Jiyane. After resigning from the IFP, where he had been suspended after being accused of bringing the party’s name into disrepute, he announced the birth of the National Democratic Convention at the weekend. The Mail & Guardian Online asked him 10 questions about his new party.

1. Is there space for another political party in South Africa? What makes you think there’s enough support out there?
I recently surveyed the political landscape of South Africa and I looked at all the parties as they are now. There is not one party that shares my vision. Therefore I see that there is a stage for my new party.

The average voter votes for the African National Congress. But the ANC fails to address the problems of moral decay of the country. [The government’s ideologies] highlight individual happiness and public values. The most important [for me] is the fear of God. That is simply the core of moral values, which is common to all religions except satanism.

Conscience must be the driving moral standard. Bring back the fear of God in governing, laws that ensure that their outcome doesn’t interfere with family values. Address moral change of heart. All laws [must be] according to family values.

I follow the philosophical conservative approach, because more than 80% of black South Africans in a recent survey showed they are like that. This is a new thing in South Africa. For example, in America [the United States], England and Germany you have liberals and conservatives. That space exists now in South Africa for a party like mine.

2. Your three pillars are going to be: “The restoration of family values and the fear of God, the deepening of democracy, and a market-based developmental state to attack poverty and unemployment convincingly.” How is this different from other parties’ views?
Yes, the deepening of democracy. I want the people to experience democracy and participate. There must be more public accountability. The fear of God I already explained. The third pillar is about the government who must attack poverty and unemployment in a more aggressive way. There is an unusual situation in South Africa; we have such a high unemployment rate. The most important solution is education. I can say this because education was important in my life too. I want to lift people out of poverty by education at least to middle class. Now sometimes education leads to a dead end because they can’t find a job after college. It all needs to be restructured.

3. You say you have identified a “void” in the ruling party. You say the leaders are lacking a “credible moral agenda”. What do you mean?
A credible moral agenda means that you make laws restoring family values. It is about fear of God. I explained that already. I mean that, when they make a new law, they have to measure it against the values.

4. What is wrong with the IFP? What are the main differences in your visions?
I am not an enemy of the IFP. I also don’t want to be known or remembered like that. It is a closed chapter and I wish them well. I just want to talk about my new initiative.

5. What about Muslim voters? You seem to be basing your principals on the Christian doctrine. Are non-Christians welcome and will you be toning down your Christian rhetoric?
I don’t elevate one religion! My party deals with all religions: it deals with Muslims, Indians, traditional African beliefs, everything. Except for satanism. That is the only religion that goes against all the basic morals that are common in all religions.

6. How many high-ranking IFP or ANC officials do you think will join you?
I don’t know the exact number of people. I don’t know how many [agree] with the vision. It is an ongoing process. The more people hear and read about me, I will attract them and they will hopefully join me.

7. Would you consider any alliance with a smaller party—or are you going to go it alone?
I first have to experience how it goes. But the principle of the party comes first. If in the pursuit of elections or when we are in the government another party has the same moral agenda and want to form an alliance, we will do so.

8. What about funding?
From the people joining [and] parliamentary income from the government. Key business people also indicated [they want to] help us. I can’t give any names; they want to stay anonymous.

9. What’s the next step? How will you be taking your message to the people?
I must say I am humbled. Good opportunities happened to bring my message to the people. You can’t believe the pressure I am dealing with. There is also the pressure of membership cards now; there is a high demand. The next step is to get that going and still bring out my message to the people via the media, in interviews like this.

10. Do you have a dream, like Martin Luther King did?
Yes, I dream! I dream of a future South Africa with the fear of God being restored to the centre of our public space: less broken families, less poverty and less public corruption. A strong nation, with a strong economy and strong values.

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