The Inkatha Freedom Party has lashed out at KwaZulu-Natal MEC for traditional affairs Mike Mabuyakhulu for demanding a "public apology" from party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Mabuyakhula and Buthelezi have been at loggerheads for the past few weeks over the provincial cabinet decision to declare the post of chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal house of traditional leaders a full-time one. The decision effectively requires Buthelezi to relinquish either this position or his seat in the national assembly.
During Freedom Day celebrations at eMacambini on the North Coast, Buthelezi accused Mabuyakhulu of telling lies about him.
IFP secretary-general Musa Zondi said: "The IFP cannot help but view the political campaign of interference in the provincial house of traditional affairs by Mabuyakhulu as a drive to depose Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi."
Zondi said Mabuyakhulu had falsely claimed that he was verbally attacked by Buthelezi during the Freedom Day celebration. "We wish to expose the MEC's sustained campaign against Prince Buthelezi as well as the timing of the provincial government's resolution as a transparent early electioneering tool."
Mabuyakhulu's spokesman, Lennox Mabaso, said he was surprised by the IFP statement that the MEC was demanding an apology. He said Mabuyakhulu was considering taking legal action for defamation.