Nelson Mandela and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, his chief black rival, have agreed to an urgent meeting, Buthelezi's group said Friday. The move marks their latest try to make peace between warring supporters.
Scores of people have been killed in recent weeks during clashes between the rival groups. Police said Friday that nine people died in the latest township violence.In another matter, the justice minister ordered a judicial inquest into a clash Sunday in Daveyton that killed 12 blacks and a white policeman.
Though some of the township violence has involved other groups, most fighting has been between supporters of Mandela's African National Congress and Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party. They are the two main black opposition groups.
The chronic unrest has cast doubt on the two leaders' ability to control their followers. Black leaders in recent weeks have warned it could harm proposed negotiations with the government on ending white minority rule.
Few details were available on the Mandela-Buthelezi meeting scheduled today in Durban in Natal Province, the traditional Zulu homeland and power base of the Zulu-dominated Inkatha.
An Inkatha statement said Buthelezi and Mandela would meet to "discuss the current, tragic violence." No further details were available.
ANC spokesman Saki Macozoma told the South African Press Association that Mandela would hold a news conference before flying to Durban, but he refused to confirm any planned meeting with Buthelezi.
Mandela and Buthelezi, longtime friends turned political rivals, met for the first time in 28 years in January to complete an ANC-Inkatha peace agreement. It called for an end to the violence and set up joint committees to work together in trouble spots.
But the fighting has continued.
Recent clashes in Natal townships and several near Johannesburg have killed more than 100 people.