Buthelezi stepping down as IFP leader

2017-10-30 13:45
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi will step down at the next national elective conference.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi will step down at the next national elective conference. (File)

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Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi will step down at the next national elective conference.

This is according to the party’s treasurer-general and national executive committee (NEC) member Narend Singh.

Singh told News24 on Sunday that during a meeting of about 500 party members, which took place on Sunday in Durban, members were asked to offer themselves for position of party leader.

“After some consideration, we came to a unanimous decision and recommended Velenkosini Hlabisa, who is currently the party’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary,” he said.

Singh explained that Hlabisa will not assume presidency immediately, but he will be the first candidate put forward.

“According to our constitution, anyone else can put their name forward,” he told News24.

Buthelezi (89) is still committed to helping out with party duties wherever possible, Singh added.

The IFP leader — who was also the founder of the party, has been at the helm since its formation in 1975.

Some had interpreted Buthelezi’s extended stay in power as a reflection of the IFP leader’s dictatorial tendencies — an accusation he had vehemently dismissed.

Buthelezi had on numerous occasions told the media that IFP members had insisted that he stayed on as president each time he had expressed a wish to step down.

In 2011 IFP members who wanted the then party national chairperson Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi to succeed Buthelezi, left the party to form a splinter organisation — the National Freedom Party (NFP) after a fallout of succession plans.

The split resulted in the IFP losing considerable support in the 2011 local government elections which saw the NFP, led by KaMagwaza-Msibi, co-governing with the ANC in several KZN rural municipalities previously controlled by the IFP.

Singh could not give time frames on Buthelezi’s retirement.

“We were scheduled to hold our national conference in December but that will no longer be the case as the branches still need to be audited.

“[We are] expecting the conference to take place early next year.”

On why the IFP’s national leadership overlooked the party’s current deputy president, Mzamo Buthelezi, Singh said the organisation’s leaders felt that Hlabisa was the right person to take the party forward.

“The current deputy president will remain in his position until the national conference,” he said.

Prior to Sunday’s announcement, the IFP deputy president had been viewed as the IFP president’s successor.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ifp

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