Politicians turn funeral into a political battleground

By Celani Sikhakhane

What was supposed to be the dignified funeral of famous uKhozi FM sports anchor Irvine Sihlophe was shamefully turned into a political battle between the ANC and IFP mayors as they battled to address hundreds of mourners. 

The funeral took place on Sunday in Harding, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

The ANC mayor of uMuziwabantu Municipality, Siboniso Zungu, fought with the family after being given the small role of welcoming guests in the programme instead of being the main speaker.

“They deliberately messed up the programme because they wanted me to only play a minor role of welcoming the mourners. I questioned that because IFP mayors were given a significant role in that programme,” Zungu told Scrolla.Africa.  

“They promised to fix it. I was then placed as a speaker to address mourners before the IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli. That’s when I told them that I would never speak first. Ntuli must be the one who addressed the funeral before me and I would come afterwards.” 

Programme director and family spokesperson Lucky Nkosi tried several times to get Zungu to come forward and speak but he was nowhere to be seen.

Later when the programme was about to be concluded before going to the cemetery, he came back accompanied by ANC councillors. 

He chose to sit next to celebrities and he was urged again by Zipho Mthethwa, a friend of the deceased, to come forward. 

“It would be very disturbing to the deceased if you end up not speaking at all, Mr Mayor. Please do it for him,” said Mthethwa.

ANC councillors were angry and claimed that the IFP mayors had large sums of cash that they used to dominate the programme. 

IFP KZN chairperson Thami Ntuli announced that they donated R20,000 cash to the family as their final respect to Sihlophe.

Sihlophe died at Addington Hospital after suffering a stroke.

Pictured above: The ANC mayor of uMuziwabantu Municipality, Siboniso Zungu.

Image source: UMuziwabantu


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