The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has dismissed reports that its leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi wants the African National Congress (ANC) to renew his membership so he can die peacefully.
This after IOL reported this morning that Buthelezi expressed the wish to have his ANC membership renewed at an event in Durban on Sunday.
In a statement today, the IFP described the article as “malicious reporting” saying it had been “designed to sow confusion within the rank and file membership of the IFP in particular, and among South Africans in general”.
The party called for evidence to back up the reported claim that Buthelezi wished for his ANC membership to be renewed.
The IFP said Buthelezi’s focal point on Sunday had rather been the reconciliation of his party with the governing ANC.
“The rift which has existed since 1979 between the IFP and the ANC is well documented and since the release of Mr Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners from prison in 1990 serious attempts for meaningful reconciliation have been pursued by the IFP in the face of a non-committal ANC,” the IFP said in a statement.
The party added that reconciling the two parties would restore “a conducive environment for politicking between the two liberation movements”.
The IFP further accused the ANC of vilifying Buthelezi, saying the governing party could rectify this by clearing its leader’s name.
“This in no way suggests that the Prince wants his membership of the ANC reinstated because after all Prince Buthelezi never left the ANC, it is the ANC that left him,” the party added.
The IFP said it fully backs Buthelezi for reviving talks of reconciling the two parties, adding that it remains committed to the attainment of this goal.
“We call on the ANC to meet us halfway and bring the reconciliation agenda to a logical conclusion,” the party said.
Today, the ANC noted reports that Buthelezi had indicated that he wishes his membership of the governing party to be renewed.
“The ANC acknowledges his participation amongst the founding members of the ANC Youth League at Fort Hare University and later in the ANC. At the same time, it recognized the tumultuous historic relationship between the ANC and Chief Buthelezi,” the governing party said.
The ANC said Buthelezi’s reported wish to renew his membership indicated that “the African National Congress, once joined, remains part of the DNA of our people”.