Crowds walk out of speech as Buthelezi pleads for end to xenophobia

Hostel dwellers shunned IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s anti-violence address in Johannesburg, walking out to march in the street instead. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo

Johannesburg – Hostel dwellers shunned Inkatha Freedom Party founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s anti-violence address in Johannesburg on Sunday, walking out to march and chant in the street instead.

Buthelezi was bestowed as the party’s emeritus president after new IFP leader Velenkosi Hlabisa took over last month. He said he was in Johannesburg to mediate and call for peace after xenophobic violence and looting of shops in Gauteng over the past two weeks. Hostel dwellers and indunas across Johannesburg descended on Jeppestown in the CBD to hear Buthelezi speak.

He told the crowd he was not addressing them as a political party member, but as an elder. As Buthelezi spoke on the need to live peacefully with fellow Africans and urged people not to take the law into their own hands, a large crowd brandishing knobkerries and sticks walked out of Jules Park, chanting and complaining that he wasn’t addressing problems on the ground.

They took to Jules Street, marching before returning back to the public address. A visibly irritated Buthelezi scolded them for their behavior. The unsettled crowd shouted that no one wants to listen to what they have to say, adding that foreign nationals should leave South Africa.
“You are disrespecting an elder. What you are doing is wrong. Seems it’s better to speak when everyone has left… this is not right. These disrespectful people should just leave… just leave,” Buthelezi said, with the chanting crowd oblivious to his plea.

By Ntsako Philmah Gana (Supplied)