IFP strife sees five wounded

2010-12-07 00:00

AS internal tensions continue to rise within the Inkatha Freedom Party, embattled national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi has approached KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mammunye Ngobeni to provide her with security.

Her request follows a shoot-out at a function she was to have addressed at the weekend.

Two busloads of IFP supporters allegedly launched the attack at a function to mark the 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children held at eNseleni Sports ground near Empangeni on Sunday.

Five people were hospitalised after being injured during the shooting.

In an interview with The Witness yesterday, Magwaza-Msibi described how she had to take cover as gunshots were fired just before she delivered an address.

“I have since approached the office of the provincial commissioner as I fear that the attack was directed at me,” Magwaza-Msibi said.

She said she had received indirect death threats prior to the weekend incident, “but I did not take them seriously. I now strongly believe that something needs to be done to beef up my security.”

She said it seems the attacks are meant to confine her to her house.

Magwaza-Msibi is involved in a leadership battle with IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi and IFP secretary-general Musa Zondi.

One of the organisers of the eNseleni function, Bonginkosi Mkhwanazi, criticised the police failing to act against the perpetrators and denied that this was a political function.

“We invited Magwaza-Msibi as a member of the provincial legislature. We were surprised when top IFP leaders from outside the eNseleni area, including Dr Lionel Mtshali, IFP provincial chairperson Dr Bonginkosi Buthelezi, Inkosi Nsikayezwe Cebekhulu, IFP MPL Thulasizwe Buthelezi and other IFP national council leaders attended. They came with their cars and were accompanied by two buses from Ulundi with NTU number plates.

“We requested police to prevent them from disrupting our function as they were armed and wearing political party uniforms in a community event, but police failed to do so,” Mkhwanazi said.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe said no arrests have been made.

The commissioner has not officially received Magwaza-Msibi’s request for her security to be beefed up, Radebe said, but it will be considered once it is received.

IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango reportedly said the IFP leaders and supporters were there to accompany Magwaza-Msibi as their leader.

Acting KZN Community Safety and Liaison MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo condemned the violence, saying the IFP members should resolve their differences.

Noxolo Memela of Fever Publications reports that eNseleni ward councillor Dumisani Nxumalo dismissed allegations that supporters of the IFP president started the shooting, but an onlooker who declined to be named said a group from Nongoma arrived wearing branded T-shirts, and started throwing stones at the Friends of VZ group.

Nxumalo reportedly said party youths did not allow IFP elders into the stadium. “Buthelezi’s supporters behaved themselves,” said Nxumalo.

Sicelimpilo Hadebe, Zenzele Khumalo of Dalton, Zwelihle Mhlanga and Jabulani Khoza of uLundi are in a critical condition in Ngwelezane Hospital. A fifth injured person allegedly disappeared.

Nhlanhla Khawula, a member of Friends of VZ group and a former IFP member, said the gathering was interrupted by elders who came from Nongoma. “These so-called elders always cause commotion in our gatherings. They hire barbaric and ill-disciplined cane carriers to attack us,” said Khawula.

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