Buthelezi’s death leaves ‘a huge vacuum’

The late IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been hailed for dedicating his whole life to the liberation of the oppressed black masses of South Africa. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA Pictures

The late IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been hailed for dedicating his whole life to the liberation of the oppressed black masses of South Africa. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA Pictures

Published Sep 11, 2023


Durban — Political pundits have hailed the late AmaZulu Traditional Prime Minister, founder and Emeritus President of the IFP, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, for his sterling, long-lasting commitment and fight for the emancipation of all people of South Africa.

The analysts said the death of Buthelezi was likely to leave a massive vacuum in the political sphere of the country, and especially within the IFP.

Buthelezi died early on Saturday at his home.

Political analyst at the Nelson Mandela University Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said the death of Buthelezi left “a huge vacuum and emptiness” in the political spectrum of South Africa, especially within KwaZulu-Natal.

Mngomezulu said for most of the old, traditional political parties, the coming elections were going to be a test of time, and with the dearth of strong political leadership presenting voices of reason, their support base was likely to face confusion and indecisiveness as to whether to still vote for IFP, or look for other political homes.

“His passing spells a political dearth for the already political deficiency because of the passing of many leaders of substance. For the IFP this will become a test of its present leadership and will have to be tested whether they will be in a position to keep the followers of this political party in a cohesive and united state. The IFP leadership will have to convince its support base of the lasting legacy that Buthelezi fought so long for,” Mngomezulu said.

The University of Zululand Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Institutional Support, Professor Sipho Seepe, said the South African political landscape was fast becoming devoid of real leadership, who still stood for the real emancipation and freedom of the underprivileged masses.

Seepe added that Buthelezi’s passing would have a lasting effect on the IFP supporters, most of whom believed in his sterling leadership that stood the test of time.

“Without Buthelezi, the IFP would have to come up with a strategy that will follow on his lasting legacy, something that will keep the ties that Buthelezi stood for strong and united,” Seepe stressed.

He said the South African political system was fast maturing, therefore requiring strong leadership that would fight for the real economic freedoms of the disadvantaged and suffering masses.

Seepe said the IFP therefore would also need to re-look its policies and strategies on what the people expect from the current crop of leaders.

Independent political pundit Thabani Khumalo hailed Buthelezi’s decades-long political commitment and fight for the suffering masses all his life.

Khumalo said the death of uMntwana wakwaPhindangene had left an emptiness in the political landscape of the country.

Khumalo added that Buthelezi had devoted his whole life to fighting for the downtrodden, saying his legacy would forever be etched in the history books of South Africa for generations to come.

“Prince Buthelezi will be remembered for having made a big difference in many people’s lives. Institutions such as the Mangosuthu University of Technology and many educational institutions, hospitals and many more owe their existence to this African leader,” Khumalo stated.

Meanwhile, the provincial government announced on Sunday that Buthelezi’s funeral would be on Friday. In a statement, the provincial government said after a short meeting on Sunday, the family set Friday as the funeral day.

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