IFP wants to leverage by-election wins to dislodge ANC

The IFP now has its sights set on wresting control of KwaZulu-Natal from the governing ANC thanks to electoral victories in two consecutive by-elections and a successful manifesto launch in the province (KZN).

Since the 2021 municipal elections, the 49-year-old party has fizzled out the ANC’s dominance in 14 municipalities that were once the stronghold of the
governing party in KZN.

When it took over all three of the wards previously won by the ANC under the Newcastle local municipality on Wednesday, the IFP, which currently controls the majority of the councils it won in the 2021 municipal elections, once again demonstrated its strength and potential to cause an upset.

According to provincial IFP chairperson Thami Ntuli, victory was on the horizon because the voting patterns have changed as voters no longer vote on sentimental grounds but for service delivery.

“We offer practical solutions, and where we govern, we make meaningful change. Our track record in the municipalities we lead speaks for itself. We focus on the basics: water provision, improving local economies and getting people working.

“These resonate with the people. Our electoral gains in recent by-elections is not due to sheer luck. Voters want parties that can be trusted. Our founder, [late Prince Mangosuthu] Buthelezi, laid a solid foundation for us to follow,” said Ntuli.

Ntuli, who is also the party’s KZN premier candidate, said indications on the ground suggested that the province would fall into their hands.

“The by-elections are a barometer and an important indicator that the people of KwaZulu-Natal will throw their weight behind the IFP,” he said.

In the list of promises that they unveiled during its manifesto launch held in Durban last Sunday, the party placed job creation at the heart of its manifesto.

“Political freedom has not delivered social and economic justice for all. In fact, South Africa has the most pronounced levels of inequality in the world. Our future, freedom and dignity depend on our ability to work. But our economy has stagnated, causing devastating levels of unemployment, especially among the youth,” said party president Velenkosini Hlabisa.

Hlabisa also said if they were to win the elections, the IFP would prioritise rolling out an unemployed graduate grant of R3 000 for a fixed period to assist graduates in finding meaningful employment. This, according to the party, would be achieved by redirecting some of the billions sitting on Sector Education and Training Authorities to fund its youth job creation programmes.

The IFP also promised zero tolerance for illegal immigrants.

“The IFP believes that the failure of the state to manage migration has led to a national crisis. The IFP’s position is that, while fairness is necessary, illegal migrants are lawbreakers who pose a threat to the safety and security of the state,” said Hlabisa.

The IFP also wants to implement a six-month amnesty period where those who are in South Africa illegally either exit the country or apply for legal status.

He further said spaza shop businesses and entry-level jobs will only be reserved for locals. Foreign nationals will only be absorbed in those sectors considered to have scarce skills.

Despite internal leadership squabbles, the IFP has managed to project a united front publicly. The party has also resolved to use Buthelezi’s face on the ballot.

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