JOHANNESBURG October 30 1998 - SAPA


The Inkatha Freedom Party on Friday threatened to take legal action against the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for implicating its leaders in human rights violations.

In its final report released in Pretoria on Thursday, the TRC found that the former SA Defence Force, in collusion with the IFP, set up and trained hit-squads to attack opponents of the IFP and of the former government.

It said IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi together with top security officials were accountable for human rights violations.

IFP spokesman Albert Mncwango said in a statement on Friday if Buthelezi or any IFP office bearers were implicated in gross human rights violations in the report, the organisation would not hesitate to take legal action.

The IFP was still studying the context of the report.

"The report has been met with complete disgust and alarm by the IFP. The implication of Buthelezi is preposterous and flies in the face of reconciliation and nation building," said Mncwango.

He said the IFP would not accept the allegations contained in the report and would fight tooth and nail in order to preserve Buthelezi's dignity and its leaders.

"The IFP is horrified by the status which has been accorded to an institution that may best be described as a circus."

The IFP has been opposed to the TRC, not against the noble ideals of truth and reconciliation, but against a body crippled by political bias, he said.

Mncwango said the TRC has been manipulated and used as a tool to discredit political opponents.

"It systematically interpreted Christian sentiments and biblical law to meet its own agenda.

"Recent public displays by one political party in particular over the content of the TRC report have not blinded the IFP.

"This party's apparent objection seems to have been a last ditch attempt to lend some sort of credibility to this institution," claimed Mncwango.

He said TRC activities focused on the black-white issue and overlooked the black-on-black conflict. This was unacceptable to the party.

The IFP believed that the report would take the country back in terms of race relations and inter-party relations.

Mncwango said the IFP, however, remained committed to achieving peace and reconciliation in South Africa.

South African Press Association, 1998
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