Inkatha accuses ANC of planning to assassinate Buthelezi

 

CHIEF Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party yesterday pointed an accusing finger at the African National Congress in its submission to the Truth Commission, the last in a series of depositions by South Africa's major political parties.

The IFP submission, presented by Chief Buthelezi and two of his senior lieutenants, Dr Frank Mdlalose and Mr Ben Ngubane, accused the ANC of planning to assassinate Chief Buthelezi in January 1987 - coincidentally the same time as the KwaMakutha massacre, for which the IFP deputy secretary general, Mr M.Z. Khumalo and several former South African security force leaders are currently standing trial.

Closely linked to the assassination charge was the allegation that the ANC and its allies had played a central role in a campaign to eliminate the IFP as a political force by systematically killing its leaders and terrorising its supporters.

The presence before the Truth Commission of IFP leaders represented a turnaround for the IFP. When the commission began its hearings in April on South Africa's past conflict, the IFP depicted it as a pro ANC institution intent on, in Chief Buthelezi's words "entrenching an approved version of history".

But, faced with the prospect of not being able to present its version of the past to the broader public via the commission and subject to pressure from individual members who wanted to seek amnesty from the commission, the IFP relented.

In its submission yesterday, the IFP named the former leader of the Church of Nazareth, Bishop Londa Shcmbe, as the source for the alleged assassination conspiracy. Bishop Shembe was later murdered. The IFP identified the leader of the alleged conspiracy as Terence Tyronne, saying he had been in charge of all ANC guerrilla operations in KwaZuluNatal at the time.

The IFP characterised the killing of its leaders and followers - nearly 1,150 members had been slain in the last five years alone, according to Dr Ngubane - as serial murders" and a "crime against humanity".

Noting that the ANC's hostility towards the IFP dated from a quarrel between the two organisations in 1979 over what strategy to pursue against apartheid, Dr Mdlalose said: "From then onwards the IFP was singled out as an enemy because it refused to crook a knee to the ANC or accept its strategy of armed struggle and the destruction of the South African economy.

In its response to the IFP deposition, the ANC yesterday repeated its view that the struggle in South Africa had been between democratic forces "led by the ANC" and the system of white minority rule "in all its manifestations".