Mangosuthu Buthelezi

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi lashed out at the ANC on Monday for “obstructing reconciliation” and “playing games” with the country’s stability.

Buthelezi was speaking in Durban after the metro’s third social cohesion conference, at which he was supposed to give the keynote address, was abruptly cancelled without any reason.

Using examples of historical incidents to draw what he called “a clear pattern” of the ANC scuppering his attempts at reconciliation, Buthelezi said there were some in the ruling party who genuinely believed in social cohesion and reconciliation.

“But there is another group who hold an enormous amount of power, who are determined never to see old wounds healed”.

“I am sick to the stomach of games being played with our nation’s unity, stability, prosperity and hope. The people of eThekwini have been disrespected. We deserve to know the reasons – the real reasons – for the sudden cancellation of this conference,” he said.

It was important to know how an “enormous” waste of money could be justified, he said, and people deserved to know “who pulled the strings to bring down the curtain when they heard that Buthelezi was going to speak”.

“There will undoubtedly be some excuse peddled for why this three-day conference couldn’t take place. But the fact is it was cancelled with less than 12 hours’ notice; the directive came from above the city council, and no reasons were given,” he said.

Responding to questions, Buthelezi said his secretary was told the directive to cancel the conference was given by “political leaders”.

“I am not a fool. I have interacted with the ANC leadership in this province for long enough to have noticed a pattern of behaviour,” he said.

In a press release sent out just after 11am on Monday, the eThekwini Municipality said the conference was postponed until further notice.

It was set to start at 8am on Monday, with 500 participants expected. Other big-name speakers included Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli could not immediately be reached for comment.