The Inkatha Freedom Party has justified its decision to vote with the ANC to help it regain control of the Johannesburg metro, reneging on its 2016 cooperation agreement with the DA, EFF and other smaller parties.
Party spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the IFP was under, the leadership of the DA, “undermined, overlooked and isolated” and this was “contrary to the dictates of the cooperation agreement”. Despite these challenges, his party pressed on, he said.
Hlengwa also said that the removal of IFP member of the mayoral committee for housing Mzobanzi Ntuli “without consultation in 2017” was another stumbling block to their continued commitment to the cooperative administration.
Ntuli was fired by former mayor Herman Mashaba for what he referred to as Ntuli's failure to turn around the damage done to the portfolio under the ANC's administration.
Mashaba said although Ntuli inherited a housing department that was performing poorly and with a legacy of corruption he had failed to make his mark in the department.
“Despite former MMC Ntuli's best efforts, the department's performance has not improved. While this is primarily a function of the administration of this department, it is going to require different leadership to affect the turnaround of this critical function,” said Mashaba.
As a result of Ntuli being shown the door, “our remaining MMC [Nonhlanhla Makhuba, who oversaw the Transport portfolio] subsequently, did not enjoy the latitude of her office with an overshadowing mayor,” said Hlengwa.
The resignation of Mashaba then provided the IFP with “the opportunity for the cooperation agreement to press the reset button and fix that which had broken”.
“Clearly the fielding of two mayoral candidates from two parties in the cooperation agreements, namely the EFF and the DA was ... indicative of a deadlock in the cooperation in the City of Johannesburg,” said Hlengwa.
The IFP had indicated its wish to reconnect with the ANC as far back as its national conference held in August in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal.
Hlengwa said although the IFP had decided to vote with the ANC this was “done in the collective interest of service delivery and to restore stability” to the embattled metro.
“The citizens of Johannesburg could not be subjected to playing second fiddle to party politicking with services delivery and to restore stability, said Hlengwa.
He reiterated that the IFP remained committed to the value of good governance, integrity and people-centred development.
“The IFP will maintain its individual identity and uphold its values. The IFP in agreeing to work with the ANC does not become an extension of the ANC; just as it was not an extension of the DA in the previous arrangement,” said the IFP national spokesperson.
He also guaranteed residents that in the departments that the IFP has been deployed, namely the portfolio of transport and human settlement, the MMCs designate “will endeavour to deliver quality services”.
On Saturday, newly elected Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo rewarded the IFP with two MMC positions, for voting with the ANC in the council sitting that saw him elected with 137 votes.
The IFP's Nonhlanhla Makhuba, who is also the IFP women's brigade deputy national chairperson, retained the transport portfolio, which she has held since 2016.
Makhubo also announced IFP Youth Brigade National Secretary, Mlungisi Mabaso, as MMC for human settlement.
“He brings with him youthful energy and innovation to the portfolio; he was a member of the portfolio committee since 2016,” said Hlengwa.
The IFP national spokesperson acknowledged that “coalitions are not easy, particularly given their recent introduction to the country” but pledged to learn from their past mistakes and ensure good governance for the city's residents.