Mangosuthu Buthelezi contracts Covid-19 for second time

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founder and president emeritus Mangosuthu Buthelezi has contracted Covid-19 for the second time.

Buthelezi was infected with Covid-19 for the first time last August and recovered fully to continue with his political activities, including the gruelling campaign for the local government elections in November, in which the IFP made a serious comeback in KwaZulu-Natal.

Family spokesperson Dr Bhekuyise Buthelezi said in a statement on Monday 6 December that the 93-year-old, who also acts as traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch, had “again tested positive for Covid-19.”

Buthelezi is self-isolating at his home at KwaPhindangene, near Ulundi, where he is under medical supervision.

He has cancelled all public engagements, including attending the installation of the chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, which he had been scheduled to attend on Friday.

“We are pleased to say that, as with his first bout in August last year, he remains relatively asymptomatic and is in good spirits,”’ Dr Buthelezi said. 

“As required, he has begun self-isolating at home for the mandatory period. We are grateful to know that he is double vaccinated and will be monitored by a very capable team.”

Buthelezi founded the predecessor of the IFP,  Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe, in 1975 and headed the party until 2019, when the current president, Velenkosini Hlabisa, was elected to the role. 

Buthelezi  headed the KwaZulu government until the democratic elections in 1994, after which he served as home affairs minister in former president Nelson Mandela’s government.

Shenge (the clan honorific by which Buthelezi is known)  continues to serve as an IFP member of parliament and was central to the party’s election campaign ahead of the 1 November poll, during which he played a supporting role to Hlabisa.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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