Avatar photo

By Eric Naki

Political Editor

‘MK, Zuma do not scare us’ – IFP’s Hlabisa

The IFP is confident in reclaiming KwaZulu-Natal from the ANC despite the MK party presence. This is backed by political analysts.

The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party and Jacob Zuma “do not scare us, we will reclaim KwaZulu-Natal to the IFP [Inkatha Freedom Party] in May” – so says Velenkosini Hlabisa.

In an interview in Johannesburg, where he is on an election campaign visit and to undertake a media engagement tour, a confident Hlabisa, the president of IFP, said come 29 May elections, his party would take over from the ANC.

ALSO READ: ‘We await Ramaphosa on KZN peace talks’ – IFP

He is backed by different political analysts who said the conditions and enmity between the ANC and the MK favoured the IFP.

Hlabisa, who topped his party’s national parliamentary list, said the IFP would retake KwaZulu-Natal from the ANC, irrespective of the MK party’s presence.

MK ‘no threat to IFP’

He stressed that the new party was no threat to the IFP at all, but it threatened the ANC as it was stealing its members.

It’s the ANC that would lose votes to the MK party and that would cause a split of the ANC votes.

“That split will help us, it will place the IFP in a better position,” Hlabisa said.

He said the IFP had worked on a five-year plan to consolidate its victory in 2024.

The success of the plan was shown by its many victories and defeat of the ANC in 15 wards since the 2021 local government elections, including by-elections.

The cherry on top was when the IFP won three ANC wards with big margins in Newcastle in a single by-election round on 13 March.

Currently, the IFP is in control of the majority of municipalities in KZN, making it a de facto government in the province, when considering that the local government level was the coalface of service delivery and democracy.

The IFP worked so hard since the 2016 municipal polls to consolidate its power in KZN.

PODCAST: IFP’s Mzamo Buthelezi shares insights on political discord in KZN, mic grabbing incident

This was proved when it beat and replaced the Democratic Alliance (DA) as the official opposition in the provincial legislature in 2019.

“If you want to win an election, you must have five years of hard work, and that is what we have been doing. We worked on a threeyear package from 2016, 2019 and 2021. We started working in 2019 for 2024,” Hlabisa said.

The IFP is contesting the national ballot and in all nine provinces.

“Indeed, KwaZulu-Natal is our top target. The second target is to remove the governing party in Gauteng. We want to influence the decision-making at executive level in the province. Nationally we want push to reduce the ANC majority to below 50%,” he said.

The IFP is also campaigning strongly in Mpumalanga, Free State and the Eastern Cape and was also eyeing the DA-controlled Western Cape.

Those would add to its national power consolidation that would boost the IFP influence in the Multi-Party Charter, which has been reserved to operate after the election.

MPC members campaign seperately

For now, the nine parties constituting the charter would campaign separately in the elections.

Topping the IFP provincial list and a premier candidate for KwaZulu-Natal is IFP provincial leader Thamsanqa Ntuli, the executive mayor of the King Cetshwayo district municipality.

Hlabisa, who promised to come up with new ideas and fresh thinking in the party, said as part of its election strategy, the IFP would mobilise among the 14 million registered voters who were not participating in the elections to convince them “trust us as the IFP” with their votes.

“We will be appealing to the people to give us their votes to remove the ANC from power,” Hlabisa said in blunt message to the electorate.

His message to the voters was clear: “The year 1994 was critical year in the history of our country. But the 2024 elections are a make-or-break for our country.

“So, we say to all who appear on the voters’ roll, let us all go to the voting stations to vote for a political party that will change their lives. In so saying I am not campaigning for any party, but it’s an appeal,” Hlabisa added.