Ignoring SPU members is ‘dangerous’

2011-08-23 12:58

The IFP today warned that failure to integrate the party’s former Self-Protection Units (SPUs) into the defence force would have dangerous consequences.

“It is dangerous to train preachers and not find them churches to preach in because the devil can find good hands for them,” said IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango.

He was speaking at a press briefing organised by members of the former IFP-affiliated SPUs in Durban.

Mncwango said only 3 500 of the more than 11 000 former SPU members had been integrated to the SA National Defence Force.

“Here we have highly trained people who have not been integrated into the defence force. They have been left on the streets and that is dangerous as they maybe tempted to get involved in crime,” said Mncwango.

The SPUs were formed by the erstwhile IFP-led KwaZulu government to protect IFP councillors and members during the apartheid conflict.

The rival ANC then had its own version, the Self-Defence Units (SDUs).

Mncwango said he was trying to have SPU members integrated into the defence force. “We worked well with the former defence force minister Modise who integrated 3 500 members. He promised that he would take all of them but when Terror Lekota took over as the minister, he stopped the whole thing,” said Mncwango.

The briefing today was called by 10 SPU members who claimed to be leaders. All of them were members of the national defence force.

They pledged their full support to IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. During the leadership battle between Buthelezi and supporters of IFP former chairperson, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, the SPUs aligned themselves with the latter.

The move prompted the IFP to ban SPU members from entering party offices and attending meetings.

“We appeal to all those who currently associate themselves with the self-protection units (SPUs) to from henceforth refrain from visiting any IFP premises,” IFP general secretary, Musa Zondi said last year.

Addressing reporters today, Lucky Ncube, who claimed to be the national SPU chairperson, said it was not true that all SPU members were members of the IFP breakaway party, the National Freedom Party.

“We are and remain loyal members of the IFP. We support the IFP as the tried and tested alternative to the ruling party in KwaZulu-Natal and beyond,” he said.

The other faction of the SPU was not immediately available to comment.

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