IFP hold ANCYL at bay

2011-04-18 00:00

THE ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to return and campaign in the neighbourhood of Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s KwaPhindangene homestead in Zululand after being blockaded yesterday by armed IFP supporters and police.

Police stopped an ANCYL motorcade of about 200 cars from entering the road to Nkonjeni near Mahlabathini and it spent more than two hours at the Nkonjeni junction.

Near Nkonjeni Hospital, armed IFP supporters blocked the road with cars to prevent the youth league members from coming closer to the Buthelezi homestead.

There were rumours that armed snipers were hiding in the bushes along the Nkonjeni road to ambush the ANCYL motorcade in case it was allowed to proceed.

At the junction, police had to use a human wall to prevent ANCYL supporters from marching on foot to Nkonjeni after police had used police vans to prevent the motorcade from continuing with its journey.

Said an angry ANCYL KZN chairperson, Mthandeni Dlungwane, “We will return to this area again before the local government elections and we will campaign at KwaPhindangene as we had planned.

“Next time we will not be stopped by either police or armed IFP … If Buthelezi does not believe in political tolerance and democracy he must go and live in space. This area is not his island, it belongs to everyone else.”

Dlungwane and the ANCYL leadership were accompanied by police to a site where the IFP supporters were camped near the road entering the KwaPhindangene homestead “to stop [ANCYL president Julius] Malema from forcefully taking over the IFP leader’s homestead”.

Most IFP leaders, including national council members, councillors from Zululand municipalities and izinduna were part of the blockade.

Earlier, some IFP leaders in the Zululand district had warned they were making preparations to “welcome” Malema and the ANCYL to KwaPhindangene.

An angry IFP supporter in the blockade said, “This is sheer provocation. We will die to protect the homestead of our leader from occupation by Malema and these ANCYL kids. If the ANC does not know how to control Malema and the ANCYL, we will teach them how to behave.”

While the blockade was still in force, Buthelezi’s motorcade passed through on his return from a service at the local Anglican church.

After their attempts were thwarted, the ANCYL motorcade went to Section A in Ulundi to the home of Buthelezi’s son, Tutu, who is an ANC member.

They feasted on boiled and roasted meat. Tutu had apparently prepared the feast for the ANCYL’s visit to Zululand.

Dlungwane said yesterday’s incident was clearly intimidation and smacked of political intolerance, despite the fact that the IFP is signatory to the Independent Electoral Commission’s code of conduct for political parties participating in the elections.

“We will definitely report the incident to the IEC as we want them to take action against the IFP.

“We also want an explanation from the police commissioner why they stopped a legal election campaign.”

Despite being thwarted, Dlungwane said he believes the youth league’s objective to sell their party to the people of Zululand was partly achieved as locals were waving to the motorcade wherever it was passing.

Meanwhile, at the nearby town of Nongoma, the provincial secretary of the ANC, Sihle Zikalala, and provincial executive committee member Senzo Mchunu welcomed more than 400 members they claimed to have defected from the IFP. The function was held at KwaGqikazi FET College.

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