The growing tension between IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for local government, housing and traditional affairs, Mike Mabuyakhulu, has raised concerns over the deteriorating relations between the ANC and IFP in the province.
At a Freedom Day event at Mandeni on Sunday Buthelezi gave Mabuyakhulu a tongue-lashing, pointed a finger and shouted at him.
The outburst caused alarm among many at the gathering and was triggered by Mabuyakhulu's clarification of the steps the ANC had taken to benefit traditional leaders. He was responding to statements made by IFP MPL Thulasizwe Buthelezi that the provincial government was destroying the institution of traditional leadership.
Those close to Buthelezi said the outburst was triggered by Mabuyakhulu's recent announcement as reported in Sowetan that a provincial cabinet decision had been taken for Buthelezi's post as chairman of the House of Traditional Leaders, as well as that of his deputy, to be full-time from June 1.
Buthelezi said the move was an attempt to remove him from active politics because he would now have to choose between his post as IFP leader and that of chairman of the house.
At a meeting with amakhosi in Ulundi last week Buthelezi lashed out at Mabuyakhulu who said Buthelezi's gift of a sheep had "belittled" him. More than 50 amakhosi at the meeting said they want Buthelezi to remain chair and leader of the party. They dug deep into their pockets to donate towards Buthelezi's battle to fight Mabuyakhulu in the high court over the decision to make the two posts permanent.
Yesterday ANC spokesman Senzo Mchunu, said party members should not interpret Buthelezi's actions as a crisis between the IFP and the ANC. He said Buthelezi's actions "as an old man and a seasoned politician was very disgraceful".