IFP Press Conference On the KwaCeza Incident and Ensuing Accusations

Mar 22, 2024 | Press Releases

On behalf of the IFP, let me thank you for attending this press conference so that together we might fully ventilate an issue that has caused much speculation and concern over the past week. The IFP has received many requests for comments and interviews on this matter, with the expectation that we would want to respond to everything that has been said by various people.

However, we have not wished to be dragged into a matter that is not of the IFP’s making, and we have been careful not to allow ourselves to be provoked by unfounded accusations which seem designed to generate tensions for the purpose of political point-scoring.

From the outset, I feel it important to clarify that there are two matters here, which should not be dealt with as one.

The first is the incident at KwaCeza last Saturday, during the 110th commemoration of His Majesty King Dinuzulu, in which the KZN Provincial Chairperson of the ANC interrupted the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation at the podium, grabbing the microphone, telling the Prime Minister to sit down, and publicly chastising him in front of His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini and our Head of State.

The IFP understands that it is the King’s prerogative to appoint his Prime Minister, who serves at the King’s pleasure and is answerable to the King. If His Majesty is concerned in any way by his Prime Minister’s conduct on any occasion, that is for His Majesty to address. It is not the role of any politician to tell His Majesty what his Prime Minister can and cannot say. It is also not for any politician to question His Majesty’s authority or wisdom in appointing his Prime Minister.

The subsequent public statement by Mr Siboniso Duma that Government does not recognise the position of traditional Prime Minister and that the Prime Minister has no role, was unfortunate and added insult to injury. It is in itself disingenuous, as Government – and the President – have long interacted with the Prime Minister to the King, acknowledging the role and authority of this position.

The position of the Traditional Prime Minister is close to two centuries old in existence. The IFP believes that this position and even in all other Kingdoms and traditional institutions, is of great importance and is therefore supported. For the record, once again the IFP supports Rev TD Buthelezi as the Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation as appointed by the King.

The second matter that I will deal with is an incident that took place after the commemoration had ended. It is alleged that, after the event, some ANC supporters were assaulted. It has still not been clarified, however, who the perpetrators were or what exactly transpired.

Regrettably, the ANC Women’s League and the ANC immediately issued statements claiming that IFP members had attacked ANC members. In response, I requested information from the ANC on who these alleged IFP members were and in what way they were identified as IFP members, as this was not an IFP event, but a Government event, and attendees were not wearing IFP regalia.

To date, that information has still not been provided. Yet the ANC has pressed on with the narrative of alleged IFP violence against their members.

President Ramaphosa himself expressed concern over the incident and made a public statement that the ANC and IFP would meet to discuss this violence, cementing the unfounded accusation that the IFP was responsible. The President did not approach me, however, to request a meeting.

I then received a letter on Wednesday morning from the Provincial Secretary of the ANC, purporting to seek what he called “peace talks” with the IFP. I indicated to him that I would respond once I had given the matter some thought.

After careful consideration yesterday, 21 March 2024, I dispatched a letter to the President of the ANC, sharing how best we can deal with the KwaCeza incident as he also commented about it, in public. I requested that our parties nominate three members of our respective NECs and these three aside members will jointly facilitate the engagement of our PECs in KZN, to ensure that we deliver the sustainable and desired result. We are now awaiting the response from the ANC President.

Yesterday evening, 21 March 2024, I conveyed the above information to Mr Mtolo.

Furthermore, we are concerned about Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube also peddling the same unfounded allegations against the IFP. It is quite one thing for one political party to accuse another; but it is extremely dangerous and irresponsible when those accusations are echoed by the head of government without substantiation. We call upon the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal to desist from peddling this baseless narrative.

The IFP is committed to peace and stability, particularly as we approach the May 29th elections. Any suggestion of political violence must be dealt with to ensure that it does not mar the holding of a free and fair election.

The IFP is therefore ready to engage with the ANC through the process we have suggested. We believe it vitally important that an investigation be done into the alleged assault and that the facts be brought to light. It is strange that almost a week later no evidence has been provided of what the ANC was so quick to claim as fact.

We believe that at this time of heightened political sensitivity, accusations should not be made lightly. If we are to protect the integrity of this election and ensure that it is indeed free and fair, a higher level of political maturity is required. The electorate deserves better than mud-slinging.

I thank you.
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