IFP youth livid at Mbeki snub
The Inkatha Freedom Party's Youth Brigade yesterday sprang to the defence of President Thabo Mbeki and attacked the ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma.
The brigade was livid that Mbeki was booed and his speech disrupted at the reburial service of former South African Communist Party leader Moses Mabhida in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.
A group of people walked out of the stadium as Mbeki took to the podium to pay his respects to Mabhida.
The ANC has not officially identified the group but there is speculation that it consisted of Zuma supporters.
When the booing broke out Zuma appealed for order.
The hostile reception for Mbeki in Pietermaritzburg follows similar treatment when he hosted the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh.
The national chairman of the IFP Youth Brigade, Thulasizwe Buthelezi, said in Johannesburg yesterday that his organisation was concerned about the "anarchy propagated by Zuma supporters against Mbeki".
"The office of the president should be protected against the behaviour of Jacob Zuma supporters."
He said that during its national conference at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which starts on Friday, the brigade would discuss the conduct of ANC members who had created no-go areas for Mbeki in KwaZulu-Natal.
Buthelezi scoffed at suggestions that his party was vocal against Zuma because of fears that, if he were to be elected president of the ANC, the IFP could lose support to the ANC.
"Zuma is not a threat to IFP support. We are only concerned about the dignity of the office of the president. We cannot keep quiet because some people want us to believe this is related to the succession battle in the ANC," he said.