DURBAN - Former IFP leader and Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said on Friday that he has never used his position in the Royal family for political gains, following an attack by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in light of a recent controversial IFP social media post.
Buthelezi said the ANC in KZN has accused him on several occasions of using his position in the Zulu royal family to advance his political interests in the IFP, which was not true, and questioned whether or not the move was sanctioned by its national leadership.
The 93-year-old said that if ever there was a time that he wanted to step down from his role as Prime Minister, it was never more than in the past few days, adding that 67 years of work could not be wiped away with one social media post.
He said he had faced attacks from those within the ANC and members within the Zulu Royal family who opposed the heirship of His Majesty, King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini.
“I have never been a coward. It is perhaps my greatest fault. While I can be hurt and offended, for some reason, I cannot be intimidated. My sense of duty overrides any care for my life or reputation. This is something my detractors have never understood.
“While these accusations are not new, this intensity of political poison that throws talks of reconciliation right out the window has not been seen since the eighties and early nineties of the ANC,” Buthelezi said.
“I have loyally served my King and nation for 67 years. More than once in that time, I placed the IFP in serious jeopardy of being politically destroyed for the sake of supporting the institution of the monarchy,” he added, referring to the 1994 elections when he led the IFP out of participation.
IFP retracting this poster saying the photo of Zulu King, Misuzulu Ka Zwelithini, was erroneously used. The party says disciplinary action will be taken against the implicated staff members. pic.twitter.com/ey1DYXMami— Aldrin Sampear (@AldrinSampear) October 11, 2021
Controversy struck after the IFP post, which contained a picture of King MisuZulu in support of traditional leadership, was released on the internet. Buthelezi said that an employee who failed to follow the chain of approval used the image.
He said neither he nor the IFP had sanctioned the post. However, the ANC in KZN did not feel the same.
“We also feel that we should place it on record that, as the ANC, we respect the Zulu monarchy and the entire royal family. It is through that respect that we call on the IFP to refrain from reducing the Zulu monarchy to a level where it becomes a subject of the IFP,” ANC KZN spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said last week.
“They are no custodians of the monarchy. Just like us, they are also the subjects of the Zulu monarchy and should behave as such.”
An ANC 2016 local elections poster that bore the face of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini was also brought up, but Buthelezi refused to answer the media, saying that he could not talk about the late King.
Buthelezi questioned members of the Zulu Royal family as to why they did not raise concerns over the ANC poster which featured the late King Zwelithini’s face. He said he remembered former ANC premier Sbu Ndebele boasting that the King was in their pocket.