- IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has rubbished a video appearing to show him condoning the recent spate of violence in Phoenix
- Buthelezi lambasted the originator of the material and said it has instigated a torrent of abuse against him
- The IFP leader said he is devastated by the events in Phoenix and of which his party is in strong condemnation
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founder on Wednesday lambasted the originator of the material and said it was a "malicious" design aimed at, among other things, discrediting him. The video has gained huge traction on social media.
Watch: What Mzansi’s international DJ star Black Coffee told CNN about South Africa’s looting and unrest
In the video, Buthelezi is heard saying in part:
"I am very proud of the community of Phoenix who have also decided to take the matter in [sic] their own hands because, really, we mustn't bluff ourselves, we are beginning to see the end of our country and to see the end of all that we know we worked for."
In response to the media, Buthelezi, in a statement, said the malicious and manipulated post has instigated a torrent of abuse against him, according to IOL.
“I and the IFP are aggrieved by a malicious Facebook post by an individual calling themselves ’Comrade M’sirny Mngadi’, who posted an edited video of a news interview dating from before violence erupted in Phoenix," expressed Buthelezi.
’’Below this edited video, he posts images of bodies in the streets of Phoenix, clearly intending to show a nexus between the interview and the violence. Yet the two are entirely unrelated.
"The post conveys fake news that I applauded or supported the people of Phoenix for the killing of innocent people. I have been called all manner of expletives, with commentators hoping that I will (and I quote) 'die a slow and painful death'."
Buthelezi said the interview portrayed in the post is not in any way related to the violence in Phoenix. At the time when the interview took place, acts of looting had only just started.
He added that in Ulundi, where he resides, his party's leadership and the community, including the mayor, were in cooperation with law enforcement to restore calm.
"Our people were out on the streets, peacefully and in full compliance with the law, protecting Ulundi," said Buthelezi.
There has since been an uproar on social media with some users, however, quick to rush to the elderly political leader's corner; backing the notion the comments were aired prior to chaos erupting in Phoenix.
"I believe this was before we all heard of how Indian communities of Phoenix were attacking innocent people, as well, for 'passing through Phoenix while being African'. I, too, thought they were 'right' [to defend] their livelihoods but after seeing a video on the issue, I differ."
"I am sure he was not talking about those that killed innocent people but those that protected or defended their malls and properties. That happened also in Mabopane and Soweto, communities there defended their properties and business."
"He has issued a statement about this video taken long before the news of Indians killing black people. This is fake news we don’t need as a nation."
In the midst of the social media furore, Buthelezi concluded by saying he is devastated by the events in Phoenix, and of which his party is in strong condemnation.
"We are devastated by the murders and vicious attacks, and condemn what is happening in the strongest possible terms.
"With the situation still highly volatile and the murders continuing, it is disgusting that anyone would use social media to disseminate false information that will only escalate tensions," said Buthelezi.
Families of victims plead for justice after killings
In recent news, Briefly News reported that the families of those killed in the recent wave of violence in Phoenix, north of Durban, amid violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are pleading for justice.
Briefing the media on Friday, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirmed that the death toll following the unrest of the past week stood at 212. This number has since increased to 276 as of Wednesday.
Reports suggest at least 20 people were killed in suspected racial tensions in the Phoenix area last week.
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