The unresolved tensions between IFP and ANC supporters boiled over on Saturday during the funeral of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Ulundi.
The ANC and the IFP have a history of violence dating back to the late 80s and early 90s after they engaged in a bitter battle in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng that claimed over 20 000 lives.
All was well with the funeral until the second part started when government leaders who are also office bearers of the governing party were given an opportunity to speak.
The uneasy truce meant for Buthelezi’s funeral started to unravel when the co-programme director, minister Lindiwe Zulu, introduced Siboniso Duma as the provincial chairperson of the ANC, instead of his official position as the leader of government business and MEC for economic development, and tourism.
Duma was standing in for Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
When Zulu did that, there was loud howling from the section of the marquee where IFP leaders were seated.
Some of the leaders were seen throwing their hands, signalling that Zulu and Duma should get lost.
When Duma started speaking, Zulu regiments in front of the stage chanted traditional slogans, but they were drowned out by the public address system and their hostilities died down.
The hostility towards ANC leaders by the IFP supporters and some leaders continued when the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula spoke.
NEWS: IFP leaders, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Mlungisi Mabaso and Mduduzi Myeza calling IFP supporters to order as they kept on singing while President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the state funeral of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. @IOL pic.twitter.com/shGdPT4PJo— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 16, 2023
Mapisa-Nqakula is also from the ANC.
The hostilities became more open when President Cyril Ramaphosa took to he podium to speak.
While Zulu regiments had earlier warmly embraced him and waved to him when he made his way to the podium, it was not the case with the throng of IFP supporters on the stands.
They started singing and one group chanted “Asimfuni uRamaphosa - ”We don’t want Ramaphosa.”
The hostility grew and IFP leaders like Mkhuleko Hlengwa who chair SCOPA, Mlungisi Mabaso of the IFP youth brigade and Mduduzi Myeza, the Mayor of Inkosi Langalibalele had to intervene to contain the situation.
The rebellion was then contained and Ramaphosa continued with his speech unhindered until he finished it.