Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and his Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) made their way to Phoenix, north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, ahead of the local government elections and made a strong statement of intent. The party gave Briefly News exclusive insight into the events.
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Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi arrived in Phoenix, Durban, to a warm reception amid an election campaign visit to the area on Monday, 11 October.
The veteran politician's party spoke exclusively to Briefly News about their current campaign efforts and the message of hope this was accompanied by for the community, which became the subject of so-called racially motivated killings amid the public unrest in July.
Speaking at a community gathering ahead of the local polls on 1 November, Buthelezi reminded the people of the importance of social cohesion and the years-long friendship he has had with the Indian community.
"When I come here, I come as someone who has spent a lifetime working for social cohesion, equality and peace.
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"I come as a champion of social justice, believing now, as I did more than seventy years ago, that South Africa belongs to all who live in it," said Buthelezi clearly.
"We cannot allow racists, whether black racists, Indian racists or white racists, to divide us and destroy our shared future.
"At my age, having rejected racism all my life, it grieves me to see what is happening here as some people try to push us into the cesspool of racism for political gain."
Continuing on the ground efforts
Asked if the visit also entailed an oversight to determine the strides made to recover following the violence that besieged the community, the party said this was not the first visit paid by IFP leaders since the unrest.
IFP leadership is said to have been on the ground, offering support and calling for calm during and after the chaotic scenes.
The party's structures in Phoenix claim to have provided ongoing support to the people of the community.
Buthelezi vowed to support the hopes and dreams of citizens and challenge the varying socio-economic challenges faced by the province.
"So, when I come here and encourage you to support the IFP, I do so knowing that the IFP is the best possible option to serve your needs and save South Africa.
"Through a strong partnership of trust with the IFP, the real heroes can make a massive difference," said Buthelezi.
"It is within our power to change the trajectory of KwaZulu-Natal and indeed of South Africa. It starts at a local level. It starts right here," he added.
"I am unashamedly asking for your vote for the IFP because I know that we have earned your trust and have built a strong partnership over many years.
"I am no Johnny-come-lately, suddenly asking for your vote without having paid my dues. I have worked and served in this community for decades."
Mangosuthu Buthelezi, IFP open SAPS case against publisher of 'fake video'
In a previous exclusive, Briefly News reported that Buthelezi and his party have taken steps against the Facebook user who created and distributed a 'fake video' of the politician.
Buthelezi lambasted the originator of the video that appeared to show him condoning the spate of violence that has shone the spotlight on Phoenix.
At the time, the elderly politician said the material was a "malicious" design aimed at, among other things, discrediting him after it gained huge traction on social media.
In the interview with Briefly News, Member of Parliament and Prince Buthelezi’s media officer, Liezl van der Merwe, provided an update on the criminal and legal steps that have been taken against the individual, 'Comrade M'sirny Mngadi'.
"A criminal case has been opened against 'Comrade M'sirny Mngadi' with the South African Police Service (SAPS), with a request for a full investigation, as his fake news post is not only defamatory but can be deemed incitement to violence," van der Merwe said.