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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Buthelezi the reason IFP has no chance at winning KZN – expert

It is believed the party leader is responsible for dwindling support by insisting on staying on at the helm, despite his age and health issues.

While the Inkatha Freedom Party is confident it will wrest power from the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, a political expert believes even with former president Jacob Zuma no longer being a big political player in the province, the party has no chance.

KwaZulu-Natal-based analyst Xolani Dube said voters who moved to the ANC when Zuma was elected ANC president in 2007, and had voted for the ANC in 2009 for his “Zulu-ness”, were unlikely to return to the IFP.

Such voters had thrown their weight behind the ANC on a tribal basis because they wanted to protect Zulu nationalism, and they saw Zuma as representing tribal interests.

The IFP leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, launched the party’s manifesto at Chatsworth in Durban yesterday, with land central to the party’s election promises.

Buthelezi said the IFP was a voice of reason, champion of the poor and had leaders of integrity. The party would be tough on crime, while fighting for land reform and protection of the environment, he said.

The IFP supported a free press and the development of an inclusive economy, and would ensure the thriving of the local economic and small and medium enterprises, Buthelezi said.

He said the IFP led a corruption-free administration in the former KZN homeland. They had established Ithala Bank for the people, and other projects, which contrasted with the abuse of state funds under the ANC, including the looting at VBS Mutual bank.

But Dube responded that while Buthelezi had founded and built up the IFP, he was the one responsible for its dwindling support by insisting on staying on at the helm, despite his age and health issues.

Buthelezi had marginalised all those with the potential to lead the party, including former IFP national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, and former party secretary general Ziba Jiyane, who both finally left the IFP to form their own parties, Dube said.

He said IFP youth leaders who had challenged Buthelezi’s power, such as IFP youth leader in Umlazi Irvin Barnes, and Skhumbuzo Khanyeza and Simphiwe Buthelezi, had all been expelled.

Other casualties included the IFP Youth Brigade’s national secretary Lucky Mthethwa, and Sibusiso Msweli, president of the IFP student wing South African Democratic Students Movement, said Dube.

The Brigade’s national chairperson, Sibusisiwe Ngubane, had resigned after her colleagues left the party. This gave Mangosuthu the gap to replace them with his cronies.

“All these young leaders, including Magwaza-Msibi, Jiyane, Barnes and Sibusisiwe Ngubane, left despondent from the IFP. Barnes was a Julius Malema of the IFP, while Magwaza-Msibi, Jiyane, and Ngubane had the potential to take the IFP to greater heights. But Buthelezi was the stumbling block,” Dube said.

The analyst said the man annointed by Buthelezi to be his successor, Hlabisa’s mayor Velenkosi Hlabisa, was not trustworthy. Dube said unless the IFP realised Mangosuthu Buthelezi was no longer an asset, “it would suffer”.

– ericn@citizen.co.za

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