IFP’s door is open

2014-02-20 00:00

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi yesterday offered to enter into peace talks with NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi in a bid to ensure the upcoming elections were peaceful.

“When Mrs Magwaza-Msibi left the IFP, I publicly assured her that the door would always be open to reconciliation. The IFP has kept this door open, despite violence against us by the NFP,” said Buthelezi, who is hoping the two parties would commit to peaceful campaigning and free and fair elections.

Buthelezi was responding to the murder of an NFP member and the shooting of two others in KwaMashu this week.

The shootings had prompted Magwaza-Msibi to label them as an attempt to make the hostel a no-go area as she believes the NFP is proving a threat in the elections.

However, Buthelezi was concerned with previous statements ascribed to the NFP leader when she described a meeting between the IFP and Economic Freedom Fighters as “opportunistic”.

“I therefore wish to assure Mrs Magwaza-Msibi that our request for a meeting with the leadership of the NFP is made for no other motive than to seek peace between our supporters. That is the duty of responsible political leaders.”

Buthelezi announced his decision as the ANC expressed its unhappiness with the parading of a coffin draped with ANC colours at the NFP manifesto launch in Durban on Sunday.

This happened against the backdrop of a multi-party working committee where the ANC, IFP and NFP in KwaMashu sought agreement on aligning the parties’ election campaigns in order to avoid potential conflict and ensure proper deployment of police.

In a statement, Buthelezi said he was concerned about Magwaza-Msibi’s emotive language — especially her claims that NFP members were “mown down”.

“This is the kind of inflammatory language that Mr Mandela and I warned against when we sought to end violence.

“It stirs up anger, for the sake of scoring political points. But it is a deadly practice,” he said.

Contacted yesterday afternoon, Magwaza-Msibi said Buthelezi has yet to contact her for a meeting. “I will wait in antici­pation. I have asked that political parties meet and I made that call to the Independent Electoral Commission as an impartial body,” she said.

“I don’t have issues meeting with the IFP because I don’t want to lose one more [member] because one death is one too many. I also don’t want people to die in my name or because they belong to my political party,” Magwaza-Msibi said.

Meanwhile, the ANC said the display of a coffin with ANC colours at the NFP rally was reminiscent of the 1986 launch of a union linked to the IFP that was followed by political violence.

It also said the party has called on its members to refrain from preventing other parties from campaigning freely as violence and political intolerance were deplorable.

“We expect other parties to follow our lead,” the ANC said before condemning the KwaMashu incidents and urging the police to arrest those responsible.

In her response to the complaint about the coffin, Magwaza-Msibi said her party did not subscribe to violence.

“I did not see the coffin. I only heard about it after I delivered my address, but some of our leaders had warned those who carried the coffin that their actions were unacceptable,” she said.

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