IFP bigwig Thulasizwe Buthelezi resigns as Zululand mayor

With political parties engaged in behind-the-scenes horse trading and scrambling to form a government in KwaZulu-Natal, the resignation of senior IFP leader Thulasizwe Buthelezi has added a spanner in the works.

It emerged on Thursday that Buthelezi, who also serves as AmaZulu King MisuZulu KaZwelithini’s top lieutenant and traditional prime minister, has tendered his resignation. 

“I hereby resign as the mayor and councillor of Zululand district municipality with immediate effect,” reads Buthelezi’s resignation letter sent to the municipality.

“It has been a singular honour to serve the residents of Zululand for the past seven years.”

Buthelezi tipped to become MEC

It is believed that Buthelezi, who is on the IFP’s list of members to be sworn in as members of the provincial legislature, is tipped for an MEC post. 

Like the outgoing ANC mayor of eThekwini metro, Mxolisi Kaunda, who was given marching orders by his party on Wednesday, Buthelezi’s tenure as Zululand mayor was also characterised by controversies.

The National Freedom Party (NFP) and the EFF were primarily responsible for the numerous motions of confidence that he survived.

At some stage, Buthelezi came under scrutiny when whistleblowers, claiming to be workers in the municipality, alleged that he was making their lives a living hell because they had turned down his sexual advances, a claim he vehemently denied.

Opposition parties also charged that Buthelezi was using the municipality as his piggy bank to fund the IFP’s campaigns using municipal funds.

However, he denied the allegations, calling on his detractors to come up with evidence.

Ntuli gets nod for premier position

During the IFPs media briefing on Wednesday evening, party president Velenkosini Hlabisa agreed that both the DA and the ANC had supported Thami Ntuli to become premier of KwaZulu-Natal.

Hlabisa also told the media that the parties had not discussed other portfolios in the provincial cabinet.

Ntuli was the IFP’s premier candidate leading up to the provincial and national elections on May 29.

“The discussion about forming a government has nothing to do with positions; it is about what will work for the people of KwaZulu-Natal,” said Hlabisa.

Political parties have until Thursday evening to conclude negotiations about constituting a government in the province.

The swearing-in of members of the provincial legislature is expected to take place on Friday.

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