Johannesburg - The African National Congress on Sunday paid tribute to outgoing Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, wishing him well as he stepped down as IFP leader.
"Prince Buthelezi has led the IFP for over 40 years and remains one of the key roleplayers in the struggle for democracy in South Africa. Having been a member of the African National Congress in the late 1940s throughout most of the apartheid era, Prince Buthelezi was considered one of the foremost black leaders," said ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe.
"He [Buthelezi] played a key role in creating a framework for a negotiated solution to South Africa's racial conflict. Following the 1994 general election, Prince Buthelezi led the IFP to join the government of national unity, led by our global icon Tata Nelson Mandela."
Mabe said despite acrimonious relations between the ANC and the IFP at the time, "as a unifier in his own right", Buthelezi accepted the responsibility to serve as Home Affairs minister from 1998 until 2004.
The ANC congratulated Buthelezi for his continued commitment to the values of constitutional democracy and wished him well as he stepped down as leader of the IFP.