Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Political killings in KwaZulu-Natal had nothing to do with Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi leaving the ANC Youth League several decades ago‚ the IFP leader said on Wednesday.

He was responding to claims by the ANC’s former KwaZulu-Natal chairperson and premier, Senzo Mchunu‚ who told the Moerane Commission earlier in the day that if Buthelezi had stayed with the ANC ,the bloodshed might not have happened.

He also claimed that better negotiations between the two parties could also have made a difference. Thousands died in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s in KwaZulu-Natal, in clashes that largely pitted the ANC against the IFP.

Responding to Mchunu’s claims‚ Buthelezi said this was "nothing short of politicking". However‚ while he agreed with Mchunu that the violence could have been avoided‚ he said the blame should be put on the ANC and not on the IFP.

"The violence birthed by the ANC’s people’s war could certainly have been avoided. I founded Inkatha on the same principles‚ for Inkatha was intended to reignite political mobilisation in our country following the banning of the ANC. The ANC’s leaders in exile endorsed Inkatha for this purpose. But when the ANC chose to abandon the founding principle of nonviolence‚ and to engage in an armed struggle‚ Inkatha could not agree," Buthelezi said.

"We understood that a people’s war would unleash violence in our country that saw brother pitted against brother in a whirlwind of endless revenge."

Buthelezi said the ANC and the IFP couldn’t come to an agreement over this difference in approach following meetings in London in 1979. He said this triggered personal attacks on him and resulted in intraparty violence.

"More than 400 of our leaders and office bearers were systematically assassinated. But even though the ANC had stopped talking to Inkatha‚ Inkatha didn’t stop pleading for an end to violence‚ for reconciliation and negotiations. The violence didn’t start because I ‘left the ANC Youth League’‚ as Mr Mchunu so ignorantly claimed," Buthelezi said.

"It was started as a deliberate campaign to secure political hegemony for the ANC after liberation. So as much as Inkatha wanted to stop it‚ talks couldn’t and didn’t stop the violence.

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