Buthelezi determined to be at Maggie’s funeral

2013-04-12 00:00

INKATHA Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi will be among the 2 000 mourners at former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in London next week.

“I can confirm that he is going to attend the funeral,” the IFP’s national administrative secretary Otto Kunene said yesterday.

Buthelezi would not be deterred from attending the funeral by the criticism levelled at Thatcher even after her death, he said.

“The friendship he had with Mrs Thatcher cannot be shaken by criticism directed at her. That friendship can’t be broken by people making noises when she can’t defend herself. What I hear is un-African to choose to criticise the dead.”

Buthelezi was doing what he strongly believed in.

Paying tribute to Thatcher on Monday, Buthelezi said she was a friend and a trailblazer who did what was right in difficult times.

“She was actually the voice of reason, in as much as I think I was the voice of reason on that issue,” he said referring to the Thatcher’s opposition to economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

Thatcher’s death drew mixed reaction in South Africa, with the ANC saying she had refused to recognise it as the representative of South Africans and had failed to isolate the National Party government after apartheid was described as a crime against humanity.

This prompted Buthelezi to write in his online newsletter on Wednesday, that it was painful to hear the claims that Thatcher had “sided with apartheid”.

He accused the ANC of projecting a dichotomous image of South Africa’s past in which it was the righteous protagonist and apartheid the arch-villain.

“Any characters are sublimated to bit-parts firmly behind one side or the other,” he wrote.

Buthelezi said he was worried what the ANC would say when he died as his hand was evident in Thatcher’s “wise opposition to the call from the ANC’s mission-in-exile for international sanctions and disinvestment against South Africa”.

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