Shenge’s secret kids

2010-09-12 09:33

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been hiding a dark secret for many years – that he has illegitimate kids by several women.

And now claims of womanising, cruelty, miserliness and abandonment have come home to haunt him.

The allegations are made by four men, three of whom survive on pensions while one is a cleaner at a hospital.

They claim that Buthelezi – who has championed family values throughout his 35-year political career – fathered them and dumped them.

Buthelezi repeatedly refused to ­comment on their allegations and threatened City Press with legal action.
“I’m not prepared to talk to you. You must continue with your work,” he said.

His parliamentary spokesperson, Liezl van der Merwe, said the party and Buthelezi would not comment on ­“rumours”.

Buthelezi has been married to Irene Mzila-Buthelezi for 58 years. They have eight children – Phumzile, Ntuthuko, the late Mandisi, the late Lethuxolo, the late Nelisuzulu, Phumaphesheya, Sibuyiselwe and Mabhuku.

The four men who poured cold water on Buthelezi’s family values persona this week are: Themba Buthelezi (62), Tutu Buthelezi (60), Sabelo Buthelezi (53) and Kwazimina Buthelezi (36).

Kwazimina has a twin sister, Nelisiwe, but City Press was unable to trace her.

The men claim Buthelezi sired them with a variety of women between 1948 and 1974.

According to their ID documents, copies of which City Press has:

» Themba Maxwell Buthelezi was born on October 21 1949;

» Ntuntu “Tutu” Macgree Buthelezi on March 17 1948;

» Sabelo Mathews Buthelezi on April 10 1957; and

» Kwazimina Lawrence Buthelezi was born on June 12 1974.

Themba and Sabelo are unemployed and survive on grants and pensions. Kwazimina works at Enkonjeni ­Hospital as a cleaner.

Tutu, a former IFP councillor, left the party for the ANC. Although he has ­secured government tenders in the past he now survives on a pension.

The IFP leader’s cousin, Lawrence Buthelezi, the first black golfer to qualify for the British Open in 1970, confirmed that Themba and Tutu were Buthelezi’s biological sons.

He said: “I know that he has more kids out of wedlock but I can’t remember them all.

I know Tutu and Themba very well because they once stayed at my house in Umlazi township during political violence.”

Sabelo, who didn’t finish school, worked as a truck driver but now runs a tuckshop at Nquthu. His mother, ­Eunice Mhlongo (73), lives at Nhlazatshe in Mahlabathini.

Mhlongo confirmed that Sabelo was Buthelezi’s biological son but refused to say how she met the IFP president.

“It is between me and him,” she said.

Sabelo, who limps badly, was left paralysed after a car accident in 2005. He was wheelchair-bound for some time.

He said: “My father didn’t visit me in hospital. Instead, he sent Mpikayise Buthelezi (an IFP national council member and businessman from Mahlabathini) and gave me R2 000.”

Kwazimina’s mother, Gladys Khumalo, who lives in Newcastle, confirmed that Buthelezi was Kwazimina’s father and added that she has other children by Buthelezi.

However, she refused to disclose their names.

She said: “When they were still young he used to send some money for them but he later stopped.

I stopped pestering him after encountering problems with his wife. He only supported Kwazimina, who stayed with him.”

She added: “I can’t disclose information to you because I fear him.

I will only do so if he gives me permission.”

Themba lives in a dilapidated house not far from his father’s home at KwaPhindangene in Mahlabathini and sleeps on a bed supported by bricks.

“The road to my father’s home passes next to our houses but he never thought of coming here to see the conditions we are living ­under,” said Themba.

He blames Buthelezi for failing to send him to school.

“He destroyed our future by ­robbing us of education.

We could have been better people today but we are nothing. As somebody ­highly educated he knows the ­importance of education.”

Themba didn’t matriculate because his late mother, Florence Khambule, a former domestic worker, had financial problems.

Tutu, who lives in Ulundi, refused to disclose his standard of education, saying he felt “ashamed” to reveal it.

His mother, Clementine Ngwenya, is jobless. She is in Johannesburg and declined to comment as she is recovering from a stroke.

Tutu said: “Our father is an abuser and a womaniser because he left our illiterate mothers to struggle alone in raising us while he enjoyed his wealth.

“We want the world to know how cruel he is – many people know him as a saint and a responsible man.”
Tutu claimed Buthelezi was ashamed to acknowledge them.

“He sired kids all over and failed to take responsibility in raising them.

We didn’t choose to be his children yet he has punished us for no reason.”

Members of Buthelezi’s family have closed ranks around him since City Press’s investigation into the claims began two weeks ago.

Last Friday Buthelezi’s wife ­contacted his illegitimate children by telephone, accusing them of discussing family matters with the media.

Themba told City Press: “She told me they will never again assist me with a lift to collect my pension because I allowed myself to be manipulated by Tutu and City Press.”

On Tuesday Tutu said he had received an SMS message from one of the Buthelezi elders requesting him to approach King Goodwill Zwelithini to convene a family meeting.

» Meanwhile, Mandla Zulu’s wife, Hlengiwe Mlondo, a policewoman at Durban Central Police Station, received threats from an anonymous person saying the reporter must stop pursuing the story or he would die. She was also threatened with death. Mlondo has laid a criminal charge.

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