Durban: January 21, 2005

The IFP's KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Spokesperson, Mr Velaphi Nldovu, today demanded an immediate apology from the Mercury as a result of an article, which appeared on the front page of the Mercury, Friday 21st January 2005, written by Farook Khan, tilted "IFP stalwart Thomas Shabalala slain".

Mr Ndlovu said:

"It is a pity that Farook Khan is attempting to rewrite history in this unethical manner. This is a painful time for the Shabalala family. The IFP rejects this with contempt and is considering taking legal action against the Mercury for its assertion that "IFP members attacked Indian-owned homes, shops and businesses" in the "Inanda riots in 1985." This statement is not only factually incorrect but is also malicious because it defames the character of both Shabalala as well as the IFP.

"The Mercury and Farook Khan must know that when the Indian Community was under attack in 1985 it was the President of the IFP, the then Chief Minister of KwaZulu, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who sent IFP members to help protect the Indian Community. When history and the reputation of individuals and organisations can be so cheaply and contemptuously treated is a sad indictment on the Mercury."

"I appeal to the Mercury and Farook Khan to immediately withdraw this statement by printing a retraction on the front page of The Mercury's next edition. This will in no way undo the damage already caused by this article but will demonstrate a belated will on the side of the Mercury to abide by journalistic standards and ethics."

"VB" Ndlovu - 083 625 0803