/ 12 September 2023

IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi awarded a category one state funeral

Buthelezi Dsc8800 Edit
Inkatha Freedom Party founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been accorded a category one state funeral

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been accorded a category one state funeral by President Cyril Ramaphosa, which will be held in Ulundi on Saturday.

Buthelezi, 95, who was also the traditional prime minister to three successive Zulu kings, died last weekend after spending nearly a month in hospital.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said Buthelezi, who had also served as minister of home affairs in the first post-apartheid cabinet, had been accorded a category one special official funeral.

This was given to “persons of extraordinary credentials specifically designated by the president of the Republic of South Africa” and would entail “elements of military honours”, Magwenya said.

He said Ramaphosa had directed that flags would be flown at half mast on government buildings around the country from Tuesday until Saturday evening after the conclusion of the funeral.

Magwenya said the president “reiterates his deep condolences to the royal household as well as the friends, colleagues — including members of parliament — and associates nationally and internationally of the late leader”.

The funeral had originally been scheduled for Friday, but was moved after discussions between the family and government officials to give time for preparations of the state funeral to be completed.

It will be held at the Ulundi stadium.

On Tuesday, ANC deputy president Paul Mashatile led a delegation of the party’s top seven officials to visit the Buthelezi family, who have been receiving well-wishers at their home at Ka Phindangene, near Ulundi, since the weekend.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen was also scheduled to head a delegation from his party, which is in a coalition agreement with the IFP. The leadership of the Economic Freedom Fighters was also set to visit the Buthelezi family on Tuesday.

The family welcomed the decision to award Buthelezi the official funeral, but had requested that well-wishers give them space and privacy from Thursday to prepare for it and to perform necessary rituals.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said it was “appropriate” that Buthelezi would be honoured in this way.

The IFP will hold a memorial service for Buthelezi, who led the party for 44 years since its formation in 1975 and was given the title of president emeritus, in Ulundi on Wednesday.