‘Leave my child alone’

2010-07-15 00:00

“PLEASE, leave my daughter alone!”

This was a plea from the beleaguered Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi during an interview with The Witness following the insistence by IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi that Magwaza-Msibi’s 17-year-old daughter, Gugu, was part of a crowd “that flung invectives and vulgarities” at the IFP leadership.

This, Buthelezi said, took place outside the venue of an IFP national council meeting that took place at the weekend.

Although Magwaza-Msibi refused to speak about an inquiry instituted against her by the IFP “because I don’t want to argue with Prince Buthelezi in the media,” she told The Witness that her daughter is very depressed because of the unfounded reports that she insulted the IFP leadership.

Magwaza-Msibi said yesterday that she had to take her daughter to a doctor as she was hysterical and could not even leave the house after the news broke.

“During the IFP meeting, when I heard rumours that Gugu was part of the crowd outside the venue meeting, I immediately phoned home and sent police to check her whereabouts.

“They all confirmed that she was home and had never gone out.

“I spoke to police outside the venue of the meeting to verify the rumour and they also confirmed that my Gugu was not part of that crowd. I pointed that out to the prince, but he insisted that my daughter was there,” said the distressed chairperson.

Magwaza-Msibi stressed that her daughter is a respectful child who would not even swear, let alone insult older people.

“I request that my daughter and my family be left out of this. She is still too young to experience this suffering. It’s fine with me, I can take the suffering, but not my daughter.”

In his online letter yesterday, Buthelezi disclosed that Magwaza-Msibi has declined several opportunities to “clear” her name on the divisive campaign against the IFP perpetrated by a group called the “Friends of VZ”.

“In March 1, 2010, the national chairperson published a strong statement distancing herself from the activities of the ‘Friends of VZ’ and rebuking those who were dividing the party in her name.

“She indicated that she would take legal action if they did not desist, and if they continued to use her name without her permission.

“As our extended national council discussed the problems threatening our party, it was clear that the divisive behaviour of the ‘Friends of VZ’ had continued, and still continues, to damage us.

“The question was raised about why the national chairperson had not followed up on her intention to seek legal action against them, when their activities have so clearly caused the IFP harm,” Buthelezi said.

Buthelezi then disclosed that he has given Magwaza-Msibi “several opportunities to clear her name”, most recently at the provincial conference of KwaZulu Natal.

“But she has always declined. It has become difficult to defend her position when she herself will not defend it. It was therefore decided that an inquiry should be held into this matter, to assist the national chairperson to clarify her position and set the record straight about her link to the ‘Friends of VZ’ …

“Matters were made worse by the fact that her own daughter was among those who came to the gate outside an IFP meeting and flung invectives and vulgarities at our leadership.”

Buthelezi added that many of those who align themselves with the “Friends of VZ” are friends, relatives, former employees and security personnel of Magwaza-Msibi.

The IFP is expected to hold its elective conference from July 23 to 25 at Mandleni camp in Ulundi.

Buthelezi said, “… I recognise the importance of settling this matter before the conference to ensure that we do not run the risk of clashes, violence or disruption during our elections.”

The decision to launch the inquiry, he added, is based on a resolution of the national executive committee and is in line with section 10.9 of the IFP’s constitution.

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