IFP wants Cele to apologise

Mhlaba Memela and Canaan Mdletshe

Mhlaba Memela and Canaan Mdletshe

The IFP has demanded a public apology from KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Bheki Cele for implying its leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi had benefited from apartheid.

But the ANC said no apology was needed from Cele as he had not done anything wrong.

This follows Cele's remarks during the sitting of the provincial cabinet at Vryheid on Monday that "while Lionel Mtshali was premier of KwaZulu-Natal he only tarred the road to Buthelezi's home KwaPhindangene".

He also alleged Buthelezi benefited from money provided by the apartheid government.

Cele's comments evoked angry responses from IFP leaders and supporters.

Chairs were thrown in the air and Buthelezi's daughter Phumzile suffered a head injury.

Mtshali said they would not take part in the sitting unless the apology was received.

Mtshali said the IFP needed a public apology from Cele and speaker Willies Mchunu to Buthelezi and his family.

"A five-member delegation met with the ANC and told them we would only return to the sitting on condition Cele apologises."

But the ANC-led legislature yesterday backed Cele saying he "does not need to apologise".

The party's chief whip in the provincial legislature Cyril Xaba said the remarks attributed to Cele were "neither offensive nor unparliamentary".