IFP acted to quell violence in Phoenix, not incite it: Mangosuthu Buthelezi
“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.
Former IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has distanced himself from what he described as a manipulated news interview posted on Facebook, in which he seems to be applauding violent killings in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal.
“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,” Buthelezi said in a statement.
“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.”
He said the manipulated post had sparked a torrent of abuse towards him, as it conveyed fake news that he applauded or supported Phoenix residents 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'.
“I want to place on record that the interview portrayed in the post is not related in any way to the violence in Phoenix. At the time the interview took place, acts of looting had only just started. Where I reside, in Ulundi, the IFP’s leadership, the mayor and the community were standing together in co-operation with law enforcement to restore calm. Our people were out on the streets, peacefully and in full compliance with the law, protecting Ulundi,” Buthelezi said.
He said the IFP had, from when the violence erupted, acted to quell the violence and restore peace.
“The IFP’s leadership is still actively working in Phoenix to stop further bloodshed. I have never, and I will never, support or accept violence for any reason. It is absolutely defamatory to manipulate footage to portray me in this way.”
He called on all those who were aggrieved by this fake news to remain calm and refrain from reacting in anger.
“I am taking immediate legal action against the individual who posted this fake news, as this is the correct course of action. Tragically, social media has been abused before with devastating consequences. Fortunately, our courts have set precedent to ensure that defamation through social media does not go unpunished.”
Buthelezi said he would also refer the post to the police for investigation, as it might be intended to provoke further violence in an already volatile situation.
“I want to thank the many friends and supporters who have identified this fake news post for what it is: a malicious attempt to destroy my legacy as a champion of peace.
“To all those who are now accusing me of being associated with the violence of the past, I can only point out that I never went to Vietnam to learn how to conduct a people’s war. I was vilified and my life was threatened because I refused to depart from the principle of non-violence which my mentors taught me.
“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.”