Warring parties pick date for peace talks

2011-08-20 16:01

The IFP and National Freedom Party (NFP) are set to hold peace talks this week to put an end to a spate of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

Bhekisisa Mthethwa, acting IFP national chairperson, told City Press yesterday that his party had proposed that the first ­meeting – aimed at “establishing peaceful ­relations’’ ­between the two parties – take place on Tuesday.

NPF president Zanele Magwaza-Msibi earlier this week met provincial police leaders to raise concerns about the killing of several of her party members in the province since the NFP’s formation in ­January.

Mthethwa said the move had come after a ­request for dialogue from IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi to put an end to­ violence between the two parties.

“The ball is now in their court. We’ve suggested the 23rd but they haven’t yet responded,” said Mthethwa.

“We want to have this meeting before the week is over. We need ­reconciliation between the parties so that even
if we differ politically, we must not insult and vilify and ­despise other people.”

NFP spokesperson Zanele Cele confirmed that the talks were on but that a venue was still ­being secured.

Police said on Friday that seven men had been arrested for the killing of Thintabantu Mthembu at Gluckstad near Vryheid in Zululand earlier this week.

Both the IFP and the NFP claimed Mthembu was a member of their party.

Police spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the men had been ­arrested in connection with the shooting of Mthembu last weekend and a subsequent revenge attack.

They made an ­initial court appearance in Vryheid this week and would make a bail application this coming week.

Mdunge said police had assured Magwaza-Msibi they were dealing with the cases but that they had not established any direct link between the various killings in the province.

“The NFP delegation was not aware there had already been some arrests in this case and that the accused would appear in court,” Mdunge said.

“They were happy to hear there was progress, and there were further discussions about continued security support in key areas.”

But Mdunge said the police believed some of the recent killings were not politically motivated.

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