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Buthelezi hits back at violence 'charges'

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi says there is not a "shred of evidence" to support the contention he gave instructions to members of his party to commit "murder and destruction" in KwaZulu-Natal during the late 1980s. Responding to a Sunday Times column, written last week by the newspaper's editor, Mondli Makhanya, Buthelezi said in a statement on Friday he could not ignore certain "serious charges" made against him.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi says there is not a "shred of evidence" to support the contention he gave instructions to members of his party to commit "murder and destruction" in KwaZulu-Natal during the late 1980s.

Responding to a Sunday Times column, written last week by the newspaper's editor, Mondli Makhanya, Buthelezi said in a statement on Friday he could not ignore certain "serious charges" made against him.

"Mr Makhanya holds me personally responsible for the low-intensity civil war which broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the late 1980s. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] did not reveal a shred of evidence to support the contention that I gave instructions to IFP members to engage in acts of 'murder and destruction'.

"Like former state president FW de Klerk, I never applied for amnesty to the TRC for the simple reason that I had nothing to apply for amnesty for.

"I therefore challenge Mondli Makhanya, or anyone else, to prove that which even the TRC failed to achieve: that I ever personally ordered, authorised or approved the death of a single human being during that conflict."

Buthelezi said the decision to prosecute apartheid-era law and order minister Adriaan Vlok and others for the attempted murder of then-secretary general of the South African Council of Churches, Frank Chikane, was prompting a wider appraisal of the national reconciliation process.

"I fear that the generosity of spirit and magnanimity which characterised our confident young democracy could be yielding to the bitter fruits of recriminations."

He noted the South African Human Rights Commission, responding to the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) decision to prosecute Vlok, had said the question of reconciliation should not be confused with accountability.

Further, Chikane had said forgiveness of apartheid perpetrators and legal action against them were two separate issues.

"I agree -- as long as the rule of consistency is applied without fear or favour," Buthelezi said.

"Mr Makhanya can carry out a civil prosecution of me if the NPA fails to do so. And I think that it would only be fair that Mr Makhanya should rather do so instead of abusing his position as editor of the country's largest Sunday newspaper to carry out this vendetta just to satisfy his paranoiac hatred of me.

"I will never apologise for the fact that I urged Inkatha supporters to defend themselves from attack.

"Mr Makhanya's hagiography, like so many others, omits to mention that many Inkatha supporters had to resort to arms to defend themselves against naked acts of aggression by the ANC and its United Democratic Front associates."

Buthelezi said he was sure much more information pertaining to human rights violations committed by all sides during the apartheid struggle years could be unearthed if people continued to dig. -- Sapa

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