Cabinet place for Buthelezi?

2009-04-24 00:00

Johannesburg — President-elect Jacob Zuma is considering including IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi in his cabinet.

The ruling party apparently believes that by honouring Buthelezi, a Zulu prince, it can build on the support it has gained in KwaZulu-Natal and further damage the IFP. The ANC dealt the IFP a severe blow at both national and provincial level.

IFP chief whip Koos van der Merwe yesterday accused the ANC of playing the ethnic card by proclaiming that Zuma will be the first Zulu to rule South Africa since Shaka.

An ANC source yesterday confirmed that this was a cornerstone on which the party’s success in former IFP strongholds was built. “We reminded voters that Zuma is from there and that it would be good if the country had a president from the province, and yes, that he is Zulu.”

The IFP’s poor showing is put forward as the reason the ANC did as well as it did, despite the growth of the DA and Cope. The IFP’s national support has almost halved since 2004 and analysts maintain that it is these votes that the ANC used to make up for its losses elsewhere.

Outside KZN, the IFP has lost almost 400 000 votes at national level, and almost the same number at KZN provincial level.

“The ANC’s two-thirds is thanks to Zulu support that it gained in KwaZulu-Natal by playing on Zulu nationalism,” Van der Merwe said. “I don’t think it can be sustained, because people will realise they are not getting the fridges they were promised, and that crime continues.”

An ANC source confirmed that the party’s KZN win is especially sweet.

It was built on four pillars: the management of internal differences, good election organisation and mobilisation, a better service delivery record than the IFP and the call on ethnicity.

“The IFP attempted to portray Zuma as a ‘watered-down’ Zulu, not a real one. It didn’t work and we could convince people that he is indeed one of them,” said the source.

After the Polokwane leadership nomination process, the ANC decided not to resort to retaliation, or to fire provincial leaders. This led to better organisation and it was realised early that there could be a breakthrough in KZN. “If planning meetings were called, everyone attended, plans were made and executed. The provincial ANC took ownership of the campaign.”

Although Zuma has not made a final decision on his cabinet, it is beleived that Buthelezi would be open to the approach.

“Buthelezi is old and the last thing he wants is to be humiliated,” another source said. “It will bring the Zulus on board.”

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