Mandela, Black Rival Accept Blame in Strife

From Reuters

South Africa’s two most powerful black leaders said Saturday that they accepted some blame for failing to stop their supporters from fighting in the black townships.

But African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela and Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi conceded that their five-hour discussion failed to remove key differences and they unveiled no dramatic new initiatives.

“The continuing violence is seen as an indictment of black leadership in the country,” they said in a statement. “Both leaders expressed their fervent desires for peace and asked all South Africans to pray and actively work for peace.”

Mandela and Buthelezi met for only the second time since battles between their supporters erupted in Natal province five years ago. Their first meeting, on Jan. 29 in Durban, produced a peace accord that was hailed as a breakthrough but failed to halt the warfare.

More than 1,200 people have been killed in black townships around Johannesburg since factional fighting spread there from Natal last August.