Church leaders call for peace between Buthelezi and the ANC

Left: Zulu Traditional Prime Minister Thulasizwe Buthelezi, Bishop Wilfred Napier and Bishop Nkosinathi Myaka. Photo by Willem Phungula

Left: Zulu Traditional Prime Minister Thulasizwe Buthelezi, Bishop Wilfred Napier and Bishop Nkosinathi Myaka. Photo by Willem Phungula

Published Apr 22, 2024


Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council of Churches has offered to mediate the rising tension between the Zulu king’s traditional prime minister, Thulasizwe Buthelezi, and the ANC in the province.

On Thursday afternoon, the council met Buthelezi to discuss his rejection by the ANC as the AmaZulu Traditional Prime Minister.

The escalating issue concerning the prime minister being “humiliated” when ANC provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma grabbed the microphone while he was talking at an event in Nongoma last month was also on the agenda.

The drama was broadcast live on television and added salt to the wound since the ANC-led government refused to accept Buthelezi as the king's prime minister.

The incident led to an attack on people, mainly those who were wearing ANC T-shirts, allegedly by Zulu regiments.

However, the leaders of Amabutho distanced themselves from the incident during a media briefing.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, the council’s chairperson, Bishop Nkosinathi Myaka of the Lutheran Church, said they had asked for a meeting with the prime minister to offer their mediation in the tensions between him and the ruling party. They felt they should help before the tension degenerated into violence, he said.

“As the council, we advocate for peace, freedom, and justice. Therefore, we are involved in conflict management.

“We felt the importance of speaking to all the parties and traditional leaders to ensure a peaceful election. We are talking to the ANC about its relationship with the royal family, especially the traditional prime minister. We call for calm and peace and tolerance,” said Myaka.

Myaka said another reason for the meeting was to ask the traditional prime minister to organise a meeting with the king. The council further commended the parties for signing a code of conduct pledging to ensure peace during the elections and beyond.

Buthelezi welcomed the council’s mediation offer, saying it was accepted if it would bring about better working relations.

“It was a very well-received meeting, full of prayers. The council expressed its willingness to work with me as the traditional prime minister and the royal family. It is the church’s responsibility to promote peace and stability,” said Buthelezi.

He is currently pursuing legal action against the ANC’s provincial deputy chairperson Nomagugu Simelane, demanding R10million from her for insinuating that he was sexually harassing women staff at Zululand District Municipality. Addressing ANC supporters last month, Simelane responded to the allegations that Buthelezi was sexually harassing women workers in the municipality.

Well-respected Roman Catholic Bishop Wilfred Napier is also part of the council’s leadership.

Culturalists had labelled Duma’s actions as undermining King Misuzulu since Buthelezi was appointed by the king. They argued that Duma was supposed to show respect for the king and not react in a manner that implied that Buthelezi was wrong, adding that two wrongs did not make a right.

ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said they were aware of the council’s call for peace between the ANC and Buthelezi but right now the ANC was focusing on election campaigns.

WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.

Daily News