Nongoma violence: ANC and IFP point fingers

2009-02-02 00:00

THE IFP and the ANC yesterday blamed each other for the violence in the northern KZN town of Nongoma on Sunday where the two parties held rallies.

Three members of the ANC, including Prince Zeblon Zulu, an ANC MP and member of the Zulu royal family, were wounded when they were ambushed by gunmen, believed to be IFP members, as they left an ANC manifesto rally. Zulu’s daughter-in-law, Princess Dorris, was reported to be in a critical, but stable condition in hospital yesterday after she was shot in the forehead. Zulu and another woman were slightly injured.

On Sunday, IFP members also blockaded roads and attacked ANC members.

The ANC leadership said the IFP is using intimidation and violence to advance its agenda.

“These incidents happen at a time when IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been making statements in the media expressing concerns that there will be no free and fair elections in the province. His fears are now being confirmed by his own party members … Either IFP members are doing exactly what the party wants them to do or the IFP is now so full of thuggish elements that the leadership has totally lost control,” the ANC said.

But the IFP said Sunday’s violent confrontation between its members and the SAPS at Nongoma would not have happened if Community Safety MEC Bheki Cele had not interfered.

Yesterday, Buthelezi claimed that IFP members who were making their way to an IFP rally were attacked by police on Cele’s instructions. He said the members were “summarily tear-gassed and shot at with rubber bullets without provocation”.

He called Cele “a political activist” and confirmed that the IFP has opened a case of damage to property against the SAPS.

Buthelezi called on Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa to call the MEC to order and prevent him from exceeding his constitutional authority and interfering in the policing of KZN.

IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango said he was one of the Cele’s victims. “I was talking to him and trying to calm him … when I was tear-gassed by one of his overzealous policemen.”

Buthelezi and other IFP leaders said there is not yet proof that those accused of removing ANC posters or threatening supporters were actually IFP members. They added that they are also awaiting details from police about the alleged shooting of the deputy chairman of a Nongoma ANC branch, Mantobela Ngcobo, by an IFP councillor. Buthelezi said if an independent investigation found any IFP members behaved wrongly, the party would let the law take its course.

ANC provincial chairman Zweli Mkhize announced that the ANC will lodge a formal complaint with the IEC and might in the future ask that some areas, where political violence continues to rear its head, be considered areas where there is no free political activity. The IFP also welcomed a possible IEC investigation into Sunday’s incidents.

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