Mandela retracts KwaZulu threat

Cape Town (Reuter) - President Nelson Mandela backed down yesterday from a controversial threat to cut funding for the Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's rebellious KwaZulu-Natal province.

Aides told reporters at a briefing originally billed as a presidential news conference that Mr Mandela would not undermine the constitution, which controls the allocation of govenment funding to South Africa's nine provinces. He said Mr Mandela had made his threat against a backdrop of political violence and threats by Mr Buthelezi. On Monday, Mr Mandela said in an address to ANC supporters at Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal province that he was tired of Mr Buthelezi's challenges to his coalition government.