Letter: KwaZulu and the ANC: past problems, future dangers

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The Independent Online
Sir: May I take issue with John Carlin's article 'Zulu king's freedom alarms Buthelezi' (23 May). Writing as one who spent the whole four-day electoral process in KwaZulu Natal, I can testify that the only deliberate 'irregularities' I witnessed between 26 April and 29 April involved the halting, arresting and subsequent charging of two van-loads of young ANC 'warriors' from outside the province, armed, equipped and anxious to intimidate Zulu voters from going to the polls. Those concerned did not even deny these charges.

Of course, there were many administrative irregularities. The promised equipment to carry out 'free and fair elections' did not always arrive at the polling stations on time. But this had nothing to do with Inkatha's late entry into the electoral process, as it did not involve only an absence of pro-Zulu stickers on the original ballot papers, but the ballot papers themselves, as well as all the other normal electoral administrative requirements, including marking inks, voters registration forms etc. In these circumstances it is not surprising that in some cases unauthorised ballot boxes may have been used in the absence of the official ones. But anyone who was present in KwaZulu during the election will testify that the overwhelming sentiment of this peasant, rural population was strong support of Inkatha, Chief Buthelezi and, indirectly, the Zulu king.

As for the charge that King Goodwill, in his remarks after the election that 'at last he was free', he was referring to the white Afrikaner government that had dominated his kingdom during the last half century. He was not referring to Inkatha's leader, still the traditional prime minister of his kingdom, and, in addition now, the Federal Secretary of State for Home Affairs in

Pretoria.

Yours etc,

FREDERIC BENNETT

London, WC2

24 May

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