/ 17 March 2009

Buthelezi ‘willing to step down’ if sentence appeal fails

Former Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) youth brigade leader Thulasizwe Buthelezi on Tuesday said he would step down as a candidate for the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature if he failed to appeal a prison sentence.

”We have lodged an urgent application for appeal and the date for appeal has not been set. I will step aside as an IFP candidate if my application is not successful,” he told the South African Press Association.

Buthelezi is appealing a five-year sentence handed down by the Cape Town Regional Court last month after he was found guilty of corruption.

He was arrested in 2005 for soliciting a bribe while working for a Cape Town-based shipping company, Safmarine.

It is alleged that he received R20 000 from Tagner International to ensure that the company secured a tender with Safmarine.

Buthelezi is currently a member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature.

He stepped down as the IFP youth brigade president when he was charged with corruption and he was replaced by Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi.

IFP national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi said Buthelezi’s name would remain on the list until the ruling on his appeal was heard.

Buthelezi is not the only politician facing possible exclusion from the election candidates’ lists.

The Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday it had asked the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the African National Congress to remove Winnie Madikizela-Mandela from the ruling party’s election list because of her fraud conviction.

The DA’s formal complaint follows one by the Freedom Front Plus on Monday, just after the IEC published the provisional elections list in newspapers to give the public time to lodge objections.

The Constitution disqualifies anybody sentenced to more than a year in prison without the option of a fine from holding a seat in Parliament. — Sapa