IFP Responds to Allegations of Secret Military Training

27 May 2013    


In today's edition of Sowetan, an article by Mr Mandla Zulu alleges that "former IFP-aligned self-protection unit members are undergoing secret military training in KwaZulu Natal". The IFP has no knowledge of this.


While we are aware that there are people identifying themselves as former self-protection unit members, we want to make clear that they are in no way affiliated to the IFP. They are not members of the IFP, nor does the IFP sanction their claims.


For the sake of clarity, the historical identity of the former Self-Protection Unit of the KwaZulu Government must be highlighted. It was not, as Mr Mandla Zulu claims, one of the "former guerrilla forces". The Unit consisted of 400 VIP protectors assigned to protect the Chief Minister of KwaZulu, members of his Cabinet, and government buildings, based on a threat analysis and numerous assassination attempts.


The initial training of these protectors was indeed carried out by Mr Phillip Powell, in a legal and fully transparent process. When the KwaZulu Government became part of the Government of National Unity in 1994, the Unit was appropriately dismantled.


There has never been any discussion between the President of the IFP and President Zuma on integrating former members of the Unit into the Defence Force, and no future meetings are scheduled in this regard.


If people are indeed being recruited for secret military training camps, it is being done without the knowledge, involvement or approval of the IFP. We therefore urge anyone who is approached by these so-called "commanders" to report it to the police.


The IFP is aware that ANC provincial leader, Mr Bheki Ntuli, has attempted to assist people claiming to be former self-protection unit members, to find temporary work with the KwaZulu Natal MEC for Safety and Security, Mr Willies Mchunu.


The IFP, however, has not involved itself in any way with the claims or objectives of these people.


Mr Mandla Zulu, who has previously been demonstrably hostile towards the IFP, has acted with gross negligence in writing a story with no basis in fact. Statements allegedly made by former IFP members were not checked, neither were the historical facts, nor the truth of the present situation.


By strategically placing the IFP at the centre of this story, in blatant disregard of the facts and the truth, Mr Zulu has done enormous damage to our Party. There is no doubt that this is part of a propaganda tactic as we approach a national election.


Questions should be raised as to why a journalist is working so hard to defame an opposition party at this crucial juncture.


The IFP reserves the right to take legal action.



Mr Blessed Gwala, Leader of the Official Opposition in the KwaZulu Natal, on 078 290 5842.