IFP supporters prevent ANC from ‘recruiting Buthelezi’s wife and children’

2011-04-17 13:11

Several hundred IFP supporters have blocked the road leading to party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s home, kwaPhindangene, at Nkonjeni near Ulundi, to prevent a convoy of ANC members from canvassing in the area.

As a result the ANC group have left Nkonjeni and returned to Ulundi, about 25km away, to campaign there, failing in their bid to campaign in Buthelezi’s own ward.

For the bulk of the day there has been a massive police presence creating a no man’s land between the several hundred carloads of ANC activists and the IFP, whose local leaders spent hours locked in negotiations with police commanders who were trying to clear the road.

The stand-off comes as a result of the threat by ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and provincial leaders earlier this week to come to Nkonjeni and “recruit’’ Buthelezi’s “wife and children’’ for the ANC.

The IFP’s Youth Brigade and local members declared their intent to “defend” Buthelezi’s home and stop the canvassing. Ironically Malema did not turn up for the campaign, apparently because he had to prepare for his appearance in the Equality Court tomorrow to defend his hate speech case.

Male IFP members armed with sticks and shields mingled with women with plastic bags protecting their hairdos in the rain which has poured down over the area for the entire day.

Buthelezi remained in his home after earlier attending a local church service. His personal assistant, Thami Duma, had to spend around an hour negotiating with the leaders of the IFP group before they would open a gap in the crowd to allow his car through.

The IFP group has been singing anti-Malema songs and chanting slogans while blocking the road. Police have stopped the ANC convoy several kilometres away to avoid clashes.

“We will not move. We will die here if we have to,’’ shouted one of the leaders of the IFP group. “Voertsek. We will give you the stick.

“Where is this dog Malema? He is a coward. Bring him here.’’

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