FILE: Mangosotho Buthelezi

DURBAN – Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founder and president, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has said that humiliating president Jacob Zuma would serve no purpose, but also made a clear distinction between being humiliated and facing the consequences of one’s actions.

“It would serve no purpose to humiliate the president. There is a difference, however, between being humiliated and being subjected to the rule of law. President Zuma has repeatedly said that he wants his day in court. I think it is important for our nation’s closure on this terrible chapter that he faces charges against him,” said Buthelezi.

He was responding to questions sent by African News Agency on Tuesday.

The African National Congress led by deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa has resolved to recall Zuma who is expected to respond to the instruction by Wednesday.

Legally, Zuma is permitted to retain his position as state president until 2019, when his term officially ends, but an increased outcry from civil society, opposition parties and within the ANC itself is thought to have prompted the ruling party to ask Zuma to step aside. 

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Buthelezi told ANA that the ANC should have exercised better communication about how it was managing Zuma’s exit. “I would have liked to see clearer communication from the ruling party. In the absence of this, South Africa has been subjected to wild speculation, outrageous statements and fake news. This is never good for stability,” he said.

He called last week’s South African Communist Party (SACP) statement alleging Zuma was looking to practice “ethnic mobilisation”, including the use the Zulu military regiment, amabutho, to defend him, “grossly irresponsible”. 

“It was grossly irresponsible of the SACP to suggest that the president was mobilising His Majesty the King’s amabutho. If this had been true, I would have known about it, for I serve as the King’s traditional Prime Minister. Zulu warriors are not involved in any individual’s campaign. It is wrong to bring the monarch (King Goodwill Zwelithini) into political affairs,” said Buthelezi.

He said the depth of corruption that had been exposed through Zuma’s leadership could “ironically be a good thing”.

“It can prove to be a turning point as people can no longer ignore what is happening,” said the elder statesman, also saying that the ANC had been in denial over corruption within its ranks “for far too long”.

Buthelezi said Zuma’s “vacillating on economic policy has hurt us all” pointing out a weaker economy, lowered investor confidence and the cost of living becoming “unaffordable”. 

Ramaphosa has made it clear that Zuma should not be humiliated during the party’s transition period.

African News Agency/ANA