Refrain from defaming our leaders, Shenge told

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has called on IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi to refrain from "defaming its leaders without putting any shred of evidence on the table".

This follows Buthelezi's claims that President Jacob Zuma and Premier Zweli Mkhize had promised amakhosi material benefits in a bid to oust him as chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders.

Last Friday Buthelezi declined his nomination to the provincial house of traditional leaders, saying he did not want to lead a divided house. He blamed the division on the ANC

Yesterday ANC acting provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party was shocked at Buthelezi's unfounded claims. "The ANC wants to state for the record that the decisions of the House of Traditional Leaders are taken by traditional leaders themselves through a transparent and democratic process," he said.

Zikalala said Zuma met with traditional leaders only once, before the elections in April at the request of amakhosi.

He said the ANC supports the call by newly elected chairperson inkosi Bhekisisa Felix Bhengu to depoliticise traditional institutions. This would allow traditional institutions to operate independently without being influenced by any party.

"We hope that their election marks the dawn of a new era," he said.