Buthelezi calls for peace but warns towns of civil war: ANC's armed wing must be disbanded, says Inkatha leader

MANGOSUTHU Buthelezi arrived in Thokoza township yesterday to deliver a message of peace to his supporters, but, in a further setback to democracy negotiations, he rejected a proposal by the ANC and the government to stop South Africa's township violence.

Chief Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), followed the route taken by Nelson Mandela last week, and also visited neighbouring Katlehong. Thokoza and Katlehong, south-east of Johannesburg, have witnessed more than 240 killings in the past two weeks.

The area was saturated yesterday with policemen and troops, on the ground and in the air.

Chief Buthelezi drove through the streets escorted by four police armoured vehicles and, above the convoy, two police helicopters.

Among a forest of sticks and spears, he spoke to 4,000 supporters at a car park securely sandwiched between the local single-men's hostel, an Inkatha stronghold, and the township police station. The police, always judiciously scarce during ANC rallies, mingled cheerfully with the crowd.

'As president of the IFP, I direct that every member and supporter of my party, the Inkatha Freedom Party, translates the letters I-F-P into the slogan 'I'm for peace'.'

The reason there was no peace, he explained, was the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), popularly known as MK, to whose evil activities the government was turning a blind eye.

One example of this sinister complicity between the ANC and the government was their recent proposal for all the country's armed formations to be combined in a national peace-keeping force. Another was the agreement for MK to be absorbed, once a democratic government is in place, into the South African Defence Force.

'I call again for the disbandment of MK, and I warn the South African government, and I warn the whole world at large, that the absorption of MK into the South African Defence Force, and the absorption of MK into a so-called multi-party peace-keeping force is a total prescription for disaster,' he said.

Then, speaking in Zulu, he said he would not return to negotiations until MK was disbanded. 'There can be no peace in South Africa if MK continues to exist.'

A selective reading of his speech, however, might convey the idea that, despite yet another warning of civil war, he was softening his hardline politics. 'My heart is breaking,' he said. 'Violence is wrong; it is evil.'

A local Inkatha leader who spoke after Chief Buthelezi found the warlike note in his leader's rhetoric more to his satisfaction. Never identified by name, he declared in Zulu: 'The dam can no longer hold the anger of the people. If it breaks (there) will be great bloodshed. The IFP believes that the idea of getting the country back by using a pen is outdated.'

On that both ANC and Inkatha supporters in Katlehong might have agreed. A dozen youths fled yesterday morning as a car carrying three other journalists and me approached a bridge near the local Inkatha hostel.

Reassured that we were reporters, one youth, named Koos, explained: 'We thought you were police. The police are the big problem here, not the army. You're walking on the street, they stop, force you to go inside their Casspir (armoured vehicle) and then they drop you off inside the hostel.' What happened there? 'They kill you.'

Two hundred yards down the road two shacks were burning. The women who lived there were trying to salvage their belongings. They were Inkatha supporters. 'It was the comrades across the road, in the ANC section. They came and burnt the houses this morning,' one woman said. Two police armoured vehicles stood by. Inside one sat three teenage boys.

A policemen, a white member of the riot unit, said the boys had been caught after a chase. 'One of them attacked me with an axe, bloody bastard]' he said. Half a dozen Inkatha men gathered around the armoured vehicle, hurling abuse at the three prisoners, none older than 16. 'You are small chickens. We can kill you any time we want.'

The three were a picture of terror. One stared through the thick glass, his face rigid, mouth and eyes wide open, teeth unnaturally bared, as if he had already died a horrible death. Through the door, just before a policeman intervened, another boy gave his version of what had happened. 'We were just walking down the road. We saw the police. We ran. They caught us. And now they say we burned these houses. We did not do it.' The boy was weeping.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture