Buthelezi slams ‘fake news’ of Zululand mayor’s arrest

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has described reports that Zululand District Municipality mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi was arrested in connection with the killing of an IFP councillor as “fake news”.

He was responding to media reports which suggested that the mayor had been arrested on Wednesday for the murder of Sibuyiselo Dlamini, a member of the party’s youth brigade. Dlamini was shot in Ulundi at an intersection while waiting at a traffic light in May.

At the time, the IFP leader dropped a bombshell, saying he knew the person who murdered Dlamini was a member of his party. Dlamini worked closely with his daughter, Princess Sibuyiselwe.

Buthelezi said Dlamini had confided to her daughter that someone he knew wanted him dead and even mentioned the person’s name.

“On the day before his death, Dlamini sent a text message to a friend in Durban, naming a person behind his imminent assassination. I saw that message with my own eyes,” said Buthelezi.

It was reported that Thulasizwe Buthelezi had been taken in for questioning in connection with Dlamini’s killing on Wednesday but he denied ever been questioned by the police.

Zulu newspaper Isolezwe reported that that on Wednesday he was in Pietermaritzburg attending the Premier Aids Council before he went to Durban for another meeting. 

In a statement issued on Friday, the IFP leader said his party had been subjected to a great deal of propaganda over the years with the intention of confusing the electorate and damaging their reputation. 

“Our leaders are generally targeted for campaigns of misinformation. This morning’s fake news about the mayor of Zululand District Municipality is another example. The mayor has clearly not been arrested, as some news outlets are announcing. Nor is he appearing in the Mahlabathini Magistrate’s Court today (Friday). We are in Mahlabathini together attending a municipal event,” said Buthelezi senior.

He said disseminating fake news was a serious indictment on the ethical integrity of news outlets. “Those responsible are now trying to backtrack, claiming that they did not name the mayor. But the reference to a senior IFP official has left no one in any doubt as to who has supposedly been arrested.”

Buthelezi said police minister Bheki Cele had called the party’s national chairperson Albert Mncwango to “assure me that there was absolutely no basis whatsoever to the news that the mayor of Zululand has been arrested”.

“Surely that puts the matter to rest,” said the veteran IFP leader.

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