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IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who lost a key position as the chairman of the Zululand House of Traditional Leaders this week, claimed on Wednesday that the outcome was not democratic because the ANC had bought off the amakhosi as part of its strategy to “wipe him off the political map”.
Buthelezi, the former chairman of the House, was defeated by an ANC-aligned traditional leader, iNkosi Landokwakhe Ntshangase.
He said he was concerned about the agendas that influenced the outcome of this contest.
“The fact that I was not re-elected to the position of chairman had very little to do with democracy, but everything to do with the ANC’s grand plan to finally wipe Mangosuthu Buthelezi off the political map. Somehow they believe that separating me from traditional leadership will collapse my support.”
He suggested that the ANC had repeatedly tried to use legislation to oust him, which involved trying to force him to choose between his position as an MP and his chairmanship of the House of Traditional Leaders of KwaZulu-Natal, the position he previously held.
But, Buthelezi said, this legislation, which was based on ulterior motives, had failed to stand up in court, leading to the failure of this “grand plan”.
“On the face of it, these elections should be lauded as free and fair in terms of the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) process. But behind the scenes, people were primed to vote in a certain way. The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs lent support to this plan.
“This is not the first time the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs had acted in this manner. Previously, those who could be convinced to vote against me were put up in the Riverside Hotel and I was made to stay at the Royal Hotel.
“This time, those who could be primed to vote against me were put up in the Stillwater Motel in Vryheid overnight,” he said.
In addition, he alleged, a traditional leader who was often used as a proxy by MECs was “greasing the palms of others by dishing out R5 000 bribes”.
“Clearly the ANC was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that I was not re-elected,” he said.
The ANC rejected his allegations on Wednesday as “laughable” and “unsubstantiated”. - The Mercury