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The ANC and IFP should work together in honour of Buthelezi, says Mashatile

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has called for unity between the ANC and IFP after the death of IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Deputy President Paul Mashatile has called for unity between the ANC and IFP after the death of IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Image: Alaister Russell

Deputy President Paul Mashatile challenged the ANC and IFP to work together again to honour one of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s last wishes.

Mashatile was speaking at Buthelezi’s homestead in Kwa-Phindangene royal residence in Ulundi, where he was leading an ANC delegation to pay their respects to the IFP founder on Tuesday evening.

Mashatile recounted the last meeting the ANC national executive committee, saying Buthelezi had expressed a dream to reinstate his ANC membership and to see the two parties reconcile in his lifetime.

“I remember the last time we had a discussion as a committee, it was exactly that issue where uMntwana wakawaPhindangene said even though we are not merging the IFP and ANC he would like to have his membership card restored because he was in the youth league. So we will sit down to further discuss and advise how we work together.”

He said that leaves the two parties with a challenge to find a way to honour the wish.

“The IFP and ANC have a challenge to build on his legacy. He had a wish of (the two parties) working together so if we want to honour him, we must honour him that way. We can’t honour him by fighting, we must honour Shenge by working together.”

However, Mashatile did emphasise that Buthelezi’s call was not that of a merger, only to find a way to work together.

“You can continue as separate political parties but work together as you have the same objective. I am sure, President, we shall see each other once we are done,” he said, addressing IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa, who was among the mourners. 

Hlabisa thanked the ANC for rising above political lines and being there for the Buthelezi family and the IFP, as well as President Cyril Ramaphosa for granting the IFP founder a category 1 state funeral.

On the issue of reconciliation between the two parties, Hlabisa said it was up to the ANC.

“I’m sure the ball is on the court of the ANC when it comes to reconciliation. The prince wanted to close his eyes [only] when this matter had been resolved, unfortunately it did not happen so we therefore have a responsibility to ensure that the reconciliation agenda is attended to at the earliest opportunity. We owe it to the people of South Africa to ensure that we heal the wounds of the past,” Hlabisa said. 

“We share a similar constituency; the people who vote IFP are in the same areas as those who vote ANC. Conflict is not necessary. All that we have to do is to ensure that we work together so our people realise true freedom in their lifetimes.”

Mashatile said the ANC was ready to work with the IFP. He said the office of the ANC secretary-general was already dealing with the matter of restoring Buthelezi’s membership card. He said the matter would be discussed further after the funeral.


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