/ 3 May 2009

‘AK-47’ to IFP’s rescue

Italian-American constitutional lawyer Mario Oriani-Ambrosini sees his deployment by the IFP to the National Assembly as an opportunity to ”strengthen the centrality of Parliament in South Africa’s democracy”.

The controversial Oriani-Ambrosini was a surprise inclusion on the IFP’s list after the party’s dire showing at last week’s polls saw its parliamentary representation slashed from 28 to a mere nine.

He said Parliament has become ineffective in its primary functions: drafting legislation and supervising the executive.

Oriani-Ambrosini, who represented the IFP at the 1993 multi-party talks which led to the drafting of the Constitution, said federalism, long-advocated by the IFP, ”remains on the agenda of the IFP and [its president, Mangosuthu] Buthelezi”.

”We will advance it as a South African, not an IFP issue — Either the provinces become what they were meant to be according to the Constitution, or they should be abolished,” he said.

He added that the provinces’ power to draft primary health, education and welfare laws had been denuded by a ”centralised national government”.

Oriani-Ambrosini has been IFP Buthelezi’s special adviser since the early Nineties, often at taxpayers’ expense. Buthelezi once described him as ”my AK-47 rifle”.

The IFP’s cull of national MPs, meanwhile, has seen its secretary-general, Musa Zondi, move from the National Assembly to KwaZulu-Natal, where the party has just eight seats.

National chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, the IFP’s premier candidate in KwaZulu-Natal, will continue as mayor of the Zululand district municipality.