Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, former leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party and traditional prime minister of the Zulus, died in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The family confirmed his death in a statement.
“In this terrible moment, we thank God Almighty for his faithfulness and mercy, and we know for sure that uMntwana has been embraced by his Lord. He entered eternity quietly and without pain in the early hours of the morning,” reads the statement.
Buthelezi spent his 95th birthday in hospital on 27 August. He underwent a routine examination in July due to prolonged back pain, but had to be readmitted in August after developing a complication following the procedure.
“We realize that his death will affect many people and that many people will want to express their condolences. The family will engage in discussions with the king and the royal family, the president, the Buthelezi clan and the leadership of the IVP to make the necessary funeral arrangements.”
The Buthelezi family thanked the country for the support they have received in the past few weeks. “We also say thank you for the prayers that will surely help us carry now.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa also expressed his condolences.
“Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was an excellent leader in the political and cultural life of our country, including the ebb and flow of our freedom struggle, the transition that secured our freedom in 1994 and our democratic order. I think of and pray for the royal household, the Zulu Nation and the leadership and members of the IVP.”
Buthelezi was the founder and former leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party. From 1994 to 2004 he served as the Minister of Internal Affairs in the cabinets of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Click here to read more.