Leaders of the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) need to come together and disclose where caches of arms have been stashed in KwaZulu-Natal if the political killings are to come to an end. This is the view held by IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who believes that the arms used in the violent killings that took place in the province back in the 1990s are now being used to carry out political assassinations.
It is widely believed that large arms caches were brought into the province when war broke out between the IFP and ANC at that time – fuelled in part by the apartheid security police. Many of those weapons were not recovered, and it is not known exactly how many remain in the province. “It is true that the violence [of today] comes from those arms,” Buthelezi told City Press.
“You can only retrieve those arms by negotiation – if we talk among ourselves and clear our chests, sivulelane izifuba ne ANC and all of us do what Madiba said about throwing our arms into the sea.”
Much of the blame for the violence of that era has been placed at the IFP’s doorstep.
However, Buthelezi reiterated that he had always advocated for peace. Referring to the fallout between the ANC and IFP, Buthelezi said he warned the ANC that taking up arms in the struggle for liberation was not the correct direction and that it would beget more violence later on.
“It is just as I warned, that they should not adopt this culture of violence,” he said. “This is why. [Look at] what is happening now – the burning of schools, the protests of today. Our people do shameful things when they burn down schools and libraries.
“That culture was cultivated at that time as part of the strategy of liberation,” said Buthelezi, tapping on the table emphatically.
“To those of you who don’t know the full story because you are young, you don’t know that the ANC killed their own people. It is their thing.
“Look now at Inchanga, where more than 10 people have died. Look at Umzimkhulu, and so on. It is their thing, you see.
“Whatever they say [to deny this], it is a fact. The IFP is no longer a factor and they are killing each other.” Admitting that KwaZulu-Natal had adopted a culture of violence, Buthelezi said the current killings concerned him. Shouldering some of the blame, he added that there was no “political will on behalf of all of us” – referring to leaders of the IFP and ANC.
An added concern for the IFP leader was the “psychological” significance of the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) in South Africa since the democratic dispensation began.
“What really surprises me is seeing that MK still exists [given that the fight against the apartheid regime is over]. Psychologically, it cannot be a good thing, but they still have it,” he said. “We need to go in depth about the violence because [by] actually having MK romanticising the violence, I don’t know what purpose it serves.”