The following article is from the South African newspaper The Weekly Mail & Guardian and was posted to Usenet with permission from the publishers.

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IFP's curious Scientology friends

A business consultancy linked to the Scientology movement advised IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, report Stefaans Brummer and Farouk Chothia

FOLLOWERS of Scientology -- the highly controversial American "religion" -- have been courting Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and his Inkatha Freedom Party.

The IFP, which is well-known for its reliance on outsiders for political and organisational advice, contracted a Johannesburg close corporation, Businesswise Management Consultants -- described by a scientologist source as a "Scientology front" -- before the elections to help with the administrative restructuring of the party.

Businesswise was brought to the IFP last year on the recommendation of Natal businessman Laurence Anthony, a close associate and advisor of Buthelezi. Anthony on Thursday confirmed he had "studied Scientology" but denied it was "a big spook". He said Businesswise had worked with him until April 27 in "evolving an organisational plan" for the IFP, and that he still provided a "business service" to the party free of charge.

Anthony said some IFP leaders, including secretary general Ziba Jiyane, were aware of his Scientology links. "They have no problem with it."

He described it as "patent nonsense" that Scientology groups operate "deviously".

Businesswise is licenced by the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (Wise) International to "disseminate administrative technology" developed by the founder of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard.

Trademarks used by Wise International are held by the Religious Technology Centre (RTC) which, according to Scientology literature, "is the protector of the Scientology religion ... The purpose of RTC is to safeguard the proper use of trademarks, to protect the public and to make sure that the powerful technology of Dianetics and Scientology remains in good hands and is properly used".

Businesswise executive director Alan Murray this week denied his company had "anything to do with Scientology", but acknowledged: "If you want to be devious you can say there is a connection."

He said Businesswise was franchised by Wise International to deliver a management system developed by Hubbard, but that Hubbard wrote widely on matters other than religion. "It is just a regular management system used right across the world."

Scientology literature makes it clear, however, that Businesswise was set up by Scientologists in South Africa. A document quotes Johannesburg Scientology "patron" Earnest Corbett as saying: "I have helped to start a successful Wise group, a U-Man group and a field auditing practice -- all of which are doing splendidly."

Scientology "patrons" such as Corbett are described as "special public individuals who have greatly assisted the International Association of Scientologists by making contributions to its `war chest'. This war chest is used for projects that guarantee the future of the Scientology religion on this planet and which advance Scientology through broad dissemination."

Mail & Guardian investigations have determined that Businesswise earlier shared a business address with Corbett, and that U-Man South Africa, also franchised by Scientology, still shares an office with Businesswise -- a clear indication that Businesswise is the "Wise group" Corbett is quoted to have helped establish.

Murray said Businesswise had made contact with the IFP last year through Anthony and senior IFP figures including MZ Khumalo (of Inkathagate fame) and Jiyane.

He said Businesswise had a six-month contract with the party, ending shortly before the elections, to help restructure their administrative structures. He said he was still "very interested in how they are progressing".

Meanwhile, in a recent International Association of Scientologists video transmitted via satellite to all Scientology "orgs" -- jargon for organisations -- David Miscavige, successor to Hubbard, boasts that "we have been working in South Africa with Minister Buthelezi to get LRH (L Ron Hubbard) tech (jargon for the Scientology philosophy) in", said a Scientology source.

Miscavige stated that "as a result of this, Buthelezi has now made calls for investigations into mental institutions, and the war against the psychs (jargon for psychology and psychiatry) in South Africa has begun", the source said.

The IFP last month called for a commission of inquiry into mental institutions, and for the 1976 Mental Health Act, which prohibits transparency in mental institutions, to be scrapped.

Scientologists are avid opponents of traditional psychiatry and psychology practices. A Scientology document states: "Germany is the birthplace of psychiatry and psychology, practices diametrically opposed to that of Scientology." It says a 1973 mental health programme in Germany was "countered" by Scientologists "with the exposure of inhumane activities and psychiatric crimes".

Both Anthony and Murray denied the push for an inquiry into mental institutions had originated with them, saying it had come from IFP branches.

Scientology is premised on the system of "auditing", by which adherents are "cleared" of unhappiness. Detractors charge it is nothing more than "brainwashing" and point out that intimate secrets of followers are revealed in the process -- which makes it difficult for them to leave the organisation.

The Church of Scientology has been involved in numerous law suits in the United States. It is currently suing Time magazine for a 1991 article, "The thriving cult of greed and power". In the 1980s 11 top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were jailed for infiltrating, burgling and wire tapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations.

Bruce Cohen
Weekly Mail & Guardian
Tel 27 11 403-7111 fax 27 11 403-1025