Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Wednesday said there was still a rough sea of unfinished business between the African National Congress (ANC) and the IFP.
Buthelezi’s comments came after the IFP did not attend a reconciliation event between the IFP and the ANC that took place on Sunday in Pietermaritzburg.
“There is still a rough sea of unfinished business between the ANC and the IFP. I have tried for two decades to bring a resolution, but my efforts have not been met with any tangible action on the part of the ANC,” said Buthelezi in his online letter.
Prior to this ceremony being announced, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize sought to convene leaders of the ANC and IFP to discuss how the message of peace could be brought to the communities of KwaZulu-Natal.
A meeting was scheduled to take place between the two parties.
“The IFP sent a delegation of its leadership to attend this meeting. But the ANC’s delegation never arrived. It appears they are reluctant to do the groundwork but quite willing to play the hero.”
Zuma praises reconciliation ceremony
President Jacob Zuma, Mkhize and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini attended the cleansing ceremony.
Zuma praised the KwaZulu-Natal government for arranging a cleansing ceremony to help reconcile ANC and IFP members.
The ceremony was aimed at bringing together people at loggerheads during the political violence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The conflicts were mainly between the ANC and the IFP members. The latter, however, boycotted the ceremony, claiming it was electioneering by the ruling party.
“I cannot help but question why the premier [Mkhize] suddenly called this ‘reconciliation ceremony’, particularly in the long-suffering community of Taylor’s Halt? The painful history of Taylor’s Halt was captured in the memory of the people and the written record of the past. Today, it is still lamented in the homes of our people who were widowed and orphaned during the terrible ANC-IFP conflict.”
Buthelezi said there had never been reconciliation because reconciliation could not occur in the absence of responsibility and willingness to bring change.
He said his party was demonised for ‘snubbing’ the event on Sunday.
“Our absence was all the more prominent because the premier’s office ran an advert announcing my participation, even after I had made it clear that the IFP would not engage [in] this event.”
He said the ANC made it look as if the IFP had withdrawn when in fact the party’s support had never been given.
“Reconciliation is a process that must begin with the leaders and percolate down to the grassroots. There is no point in sending mixed messages to South Africa’s people.”
The IFP supported the gesture made by the government in KwaZulu-Natal to reconcile the community of Taylor’s Halt.
“But again this community has been the theatre of a leadership that is not quite reconciled.”
Premier will respect IFP leader
Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said the office of the premier respected the IFP leader and preferred not to engage him on this issue through the media.
“Amabutho, the regiments, requested we place an advert to inform and invite members of the community to attend the event and also to inform them that leaders of society would attend.”
Sibiya said the advert was played in good faith.
“It was immediately withdrawn on the instruction of the premier after the leader of the IFP indicated that he would not participate in the cleansing ceremony,” said Sibiya.
He said the regiments had identified the need to reconcile.
“As the government, we will support communities who are committed to promoting peace and reconciliation.” — Sapa