ANC STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF INKOSI MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI
The African National Congress (ANC) sends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi served as the traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch since 1968 and in democratic South Africa, he served as the minister of Home Affairs in the Government of National Unity and a Member of Parliament up until the time of his passing.
He joined the ANCYL as a student at the University of Fort Hare, working alongside the late Oliver Tambo, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, and other revered stalwarts of our liberation movement, Prince Buthelezi became an inextricable part of South Africa’s body politic.
It is well documented that, on the advice of the leadership of the liberation movement, he returned home to assume his chieftaincy role and later became Chief Minister of the KwaZulu government (Bantustan administration), as it was agreed that this would be in the best interests of the liberation struggle.
History attests to Buthelezi’s progressively strained relationship with the ANC, exacerbated by the hostile political climate of the apartheid era. With the ANC leadership’s blessing, Prince Buthelezi founded Inkatha Yenkululeko Yesizwe with the view that it would be a unit of the ANC rooted inside the country. At the same time, the people’s movement was banned, and its leaders were in exile or some languishing in Robben Island apartheid jail.
Prince Buthelezi, who keenly reported to the ANC in Lusaka and London about developments in the country, founded the Inkatha Yenkululeko Yesizwe party, which later morphed into what is known today as the Inkatha Freedom Party.
It is equally documented that in the 1980s and right into the late 90s, differences and conflicts sponsored by a third force (Apartheid regime) created a rapture resulting in horrific bloodshed in KwaZulu-Natal and in Gauteng (Transvaal as it was known then) the rapture manifested itself in the form of the Boipatong massacre (1992), Pietermaritzburg Seven Day War (1990), Shobashobane Massacres (1995) and many others.
Prince Buthelezi had a long-cherished vision of the ANC and IFP finding lasting peace in post-apartheid South Africa and being reunited with the prized membership of the ANC, his historical political home. At the time of his passing the ANC was engaged in internal discussions on how to respond to his public plea.
The African National Congress (ANC) acknowledges that Prince Buthelezi had a multifaceted relationship with the ANC and the nation, and his legacy will be subjected to intense debate. However, the ANC recognizes his contribution to the liberation struggle and the post-apartheid political environment. We send our sincere condolences to the family and the Zulu Royal Household in the Zulu Kingdom on the passing of Prince Buthelezi.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
ANC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON
076 891 5420
ACTING NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
066 056 0911