ANC out to destroy IFP - Buthelezi
Cape Town - There is "clear evidence" that ANC leaders are providing political help and massive amounts of money to a campaign aimed at destroying the Inkatha Freedom Party, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
In a remarkable speech delivered during debate on last week's state of the nation address, he also said the ruling party was trying to oust him as IFP head.
After telling MPs that under President Jacob Zuma's leadership, reconciliation was being "muscled off the agenda", Buthelezi then warned them that a "nascent threat of taking us back to a time of violence and bloodshed" existed between the IFP and the African National Congress.
"There is clear evidence that leaders of the ANC have provided their political assistance, massive financial resources and moral support to destroy the IFP and oust me as its leader."
Buthelezi then questioned Zuma's integrity, asking: "Can we believe his commitment to democracy while he is involved in undermining it at grassroots level?"
He said Zuma had met him in Durban in July last year and advised him, due to the ructions then taking place within the IFP, to step down as its leader.
"I respect our president... and thus took no exception to his suggestion. Yet I replied that his advice would carry more weight were it not for the ANC's role in our [the IFP's] problems."
Buthelezi said he had told Zuma of "extensive evidence" detailing the ruling party's manipulating IFP internal processes and using "dirty trick techniques" to undermine them.
Further, "massive money was changing hands, promises were made and violence was again resorted to, to subjugate people or elicit their allegiance".
Zuma had agreed to speak to his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe about the matter.
Yet a month later, when he (Buthelezi) had met Motlanthe, the deputy president had been "taken by surprise" by the things Buthelezi told him.
"The president had not apprised him of our conversation. They had not discussed it at all."
Buthelezi referred to the power struggle within his party last year, which culminated last month in the expulsion of certain KwaZulu-Natal councillors who had defected to the break-away New National Party in the province.
He said "certain ANC leaders" had taken advantage of the rifts the struggle had opened in the IFP.
"Certain ANC leaders saw the fracture, took up a chisel and dealt a terrible blow to the IFP. They did it with money and propaganda. They did it to finally destroy their old opponent."
Buthelezi said some members of the ANC "have spoken to me and expressed their regrets over what is being done to us".
He further warned that tensions were mounting.
"The tensions are mounting. People have died in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. On Sunday we buried IFP councillor Mr Simon Shange, who was assassinated in Mandeni."
Shange was found dead last week in eNdulinde in eShowe after leaving home with two unknown men. Two men have been arrested in connection with his death.
Buthelezi offered as proof of his allegations sworn affidavits from senior members of the Umvoti Municipality, which allege, among other things, that they were offered money and diplomatic positions by a senior ANC councillor who was "a close confidante of both [President Jacob Zuma] and KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize".