Youth brigade vows IFP will not disappear into the periphery

The IFP will not disappear into political obscurity following the death of its leader and founding president Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Buthelezi took his last breath at his ancestral home in eMahlabathini near Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal early on Saturday morning. He was 95.

It is widely believed that the death of Buthelezi, who founded the IFP in 1975, will herald the beginning of an end for the party which has remained strong in KwaZulu-Natal.

During local government elections in 2021, the IFP staged a massive comeback and recorded unexpected electoral gains in several municipalities.

In the northern part of the province, it made a clean sweep, completely dislodging the ANC. The party went on to scoop consecutive by-elections.

The IFP Youth Brigade told Sunday World on Wednesday that despite internal squabbles rocking the party and the departure of Buthelezi, the organisation remains strong.

“The IFP has a major role to play in the politics of the country. Our leader and founder left a solid foundation for the party to die a natural death,” said the youth brigade’s secretary Mlungisi Mabaso.

“The youth will close ranks and will refuse to be used to divide the party, and will go to the 2024 general elections as a solid block.”

Mabaso and national IFP youth leaders had led the youth wing to pay respects to the departed world-renowned politician and custodian of the history of AmaZulu.

Divisions in the IFP were laid bare when senior leaders including several mayors led a charge calling for the head of party president Velenkosini Hlabisa.

Hlabisa was anointed by Buthelezi to succeed him, and he had mainly survived internal skirmishes because of the presence of Buthelezi.

There are now fears that there are those within the party who are plotting the demise of Hlabisa in the aftermath of Buthelezi’s passing.

However Sanele Zondo, the youth wing national chairperson, said the leadership preferences do not mean divisions.

“When members prefer a certain leader in the party, that does not amount to divisions,” Zondo said.

“For now, we have only one president, which is honorable Hlabisa, up until the next elective conference [of the party].”

The contestation over who will become the party’s KwaZulu-Natal premier candidate for 2024 polls has also pitted Hlabisa against provincial chairman Thamsanqa Ntuli.

Ntuli is the mayor of King Cetshwayo municipality district.


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