IFP future 'hangs in the balance'
Durban - The future of Inkatha Freedom Party hangs in the balance, its leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi said in Durban on Wednesday.
"The future of the IFP hangs in the balance and it is only your hard work that can tip the scale in favour of growth and success," said Buthelezi.
He was addressing IFP councillors who signed local government service delivery agreements aimed at improving service delivery in IFP-led municipalities.
Buthelezi said there was a possibility that the IFP could lose support during the local government elections next year.
"That is possible. But it is not certain. It is not set in stone. The outcome can still be influenced," Buthelezi said.
The IFP did well during the first local government elections in 1996 but it is now almost neck and neck with the ANC.
The IFP controlled 32 municipalities while the ANC ran 29.
"We must challenge the coming elections, not merely with the intention to survive, but with the conviction that the IFP is desperately needed," said Buthelezi.
Buthelezi said the agreements the councillors signed on Wednesday were not entirely different from the ones they signed in 2006 after they were elected.
The IFP leader said if councillors failed to uphold their agreements, the IFP would be weakened.
"I therefore wish to sound a warning to the senior leaders who have signed this agreement today.
"You can’t leave this place and return to your ward and engage in infighting and divisive behaviour," he said.
He told them not to stand in the way of service delivery by provincial and national governments.
Buthelezi said infighting in the IFP had distracted the party from mobilising for the elections.
"The ructions caused by the Friends of VZ have damaged the IFP’s reputation and led the pundits to see devil in every doorknob," he said.
The Friends of VZ was formed by IFP members who felt that the party national chairperson, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, was being prevented from taking over from Buthelezi.
Infighting has resulted in the IFP elective conference being postponed several times.
It was not known where it would be held.
"The problems we have been seized with are not simple or frivolous. Lives have been lost in this fracas. Unity has been compromised," he said.
Councillors committed themselves not to that they would not sow divisions in their caucuses and the party.