Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founder and traditional Zulu prime minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, died in the early hours of Saturday morning.
His death was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. This comes just two weeks after Buthelezi turned 95 years old.
“Prince Buthelezi, who served as the democratic South Africa’s first minister of home affairs, passed away in the early hours of today, Saturday, 9 September 2023, just two weeks after the celebration of his 95th birthday,” Ramaphosa wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Prince of KwaPhindangene, Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and the Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been an… pic.twitter.com/pqa2iJpysz
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) September 9, 2023
Ramaphosa described Buthelezi as an outstanding leader in the political and cultural life of South Africa, during the liberation struggle, the transition to democracy in 1994, and the new democratic dispensation.
“My thoughts and prayers and those of government and our nation go out to the Royal Household who have been blessed to share uMntwana waKwaPhindangene’s extended lifetime with him, as well as to the Zulu Nation and the leadership and membership of the Inkatha Freedom Party,” he said.
According to a statement released by his family, Buthelezi died “quietly and painlessly”.
“We realise that this loss will be deeply felt by many and that many will wish to express their condolences and pay their respects in the days ahead. The family will engage His Majesty the King and the Royal Family, His Excellency the President, the Buthelezi Clan and the leadership of the Inkatha Freedom Party as the necessary funeral arrangements are made. Further details in this regard will be announced in due course,” the family said. in a statement
Early in July, Buthelezi underwent a medical procedure for back pain management. He developed a complication after the procedure, resulting in him remaining in hospital.