Statement by Hon. VF Hlabisa, MPL
President: Inkatha Freedom Party
Durban: Monday, 30 January 2023
On behalf of the IFP’s senior leadership gathered here today, I would like to welcome all members of the media. Thank you for joining us today.
Following the events of the past few days, we felt it was important to state the IFP’s position on the latest developments impacting coalition government in South Africa.
It is interesting to see political parties that initially took a stand against the ANC – against corruption and the impending downfall of South Africa – back in bed with the ANC again, due to their own greed for power, positions, and contracts. Birds of the same feather, flock together.
Just to take you back: on the 11th and 18th of October 2022, the NEC of the IFP met the DA and EFF national leaders in Johannesburg, respectively. The purpose of meeting these two political parties was to consolidate our working arrangements in the coalition governments.
Earlier this month, on the evening of the 18th of January 2023, we received a call from the EFF Secretary-General requesting an urgent meeting between the IFP and EFF national leaders. The meeting between the IFP and EFF leaders was held in Johannesburg on the 20th of January 2023.
In the meeting, the EFF made a presentation, which firstly expressed their desire to govern a municipality in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal where they would demonstrate good governance by the EFF.
In the main, they indicated that they have a strained relationship with the DA, and they thus engaged with the ANC, and now, together with the ANC, they offered a token Mayoral position to the IFP, at Mogale City in Gauteng. In COJ, they offered that the ANC would identify a small party to take the position of the Mayor and that the EFF would do the same at Ekurhuleni. These would be token proxy Mayors to be effectively manipulated by EFF and the ANC.
Lastly, the EFF asked the IFP to give them Umhlathuze Municipality, to be led by the EFF.
We indicated that we would revert within a week to allow the IFP delegation to go back and reflect on their proposals. A follow-up meeting was held on the 25th of January 2023 in Durban with the EFF leaders.
During the meeting in Durban, the EFF was very arrogant.
The IFP was categorically clear that we would not hand UMhlathuze over to the EFF, as this would be a betrayal of the trust and confidence placed in the IFP by the people of UMhlathuze.
We informed the EFF that we would not enter into any coalition arrangement that was inclusive of the ANC. We further suggested that an opposition bloc arrangement could be consolidated to allow the EFF to lead eThekwini Municipality and further proposed changes in the construct of the coalition governments in Gauteng to incorporate the EFF in government – without returning the ANC into power.
The EFF rejected these proposals, indicating that their deal with the ANC would proceed with or without us.
It is important to add that at the robust behest of the EFF, we engaged the DA national leadership on consolidating the opposition bloc to keep the ANC out, and the DA was agreeable to meeting with the EFF.
The meeting ended well, with full understanding that the coalition between the EFF and IFP had come to an end.
Despite these developments, the IFP’s mission remains to take back KwaZulu-Natal, to govern honourably, and to turn around the current downward trajectory of the province.
The IFP will continue to champion self-help and self-reliance as tools to uplift the people of our province and give them hope and tools to build a prosperous future. The IFP will continue to elect ethical leaders who are committed to rooting out corruption, and we will do this with – or without – the support of certain political parties.
Out of the 29 municipalities we currently govern, the IFP is only likely to lose one municipality because of this latest development.
The laughable latest development is the ANC in KZN jumping the bandwagon through Bheki Mtolo, who is a loose cannon on the deck. To the ANC in KZN: you continue to be rejected and this unholy marriage of corruption between the ANC and the EFF will not derail our onward march to removing the ANC in this province next year.
The task at hand remains the same, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves: the IFP is committed to putting the people first, and to providing and rolling out the basic services they need. We are committed to restoring dignity where it has been stripped away due to mismanagement, corruption, and greed on the part of the ruling party.
We will not be distracted from this important work by insults from political parties that flip-flop with each passing month.
The IFP is a political party that was established in 1975, with a legacy of good governance and servant leadership that spans decades. We have built this legacy through the example set by our Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Our legacy was built on a foundation of trust – and our values of solidarity, freedom, and unity in diversity.
The IFP exists as a political party to serve the people of South Africa, and to do so in the spirit of ubuntu/botho. Our primary purpose is to serve. It is why we exist. We contest elections and we seek power in order to serve the people by addressing their needs. We are servants, not masters, of the people.
Therefore, we cannot – and will not – be distracted by the words and actions of political parties that have no vision, no mission, and no moral or ethical values.
Whilst they are currently exaggerated, we will take the loss of one or two municipalities as and when this arises, and then let the citizens be the judges in 2024. We will not be new to the opposition benches in Gauteng and we will definitely not be dragooned into unholy coalitions with the ANC at the behest of the EFF.
The IFP has noted that yesterday Mr Malema doubled down on the attack on the IFP when he said the door to discussion between us and them is still open, but on the basis of Friday night’s diatribe the IFP believes that that door is closed!
Our track record of good governance speaks for itself.
Our track record in the recent by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal speaks of a Party very much on the rise, growing in support as the people become tired of the many broken promises of the ruling party.
The IFP will not step aside or stand back, rather, we will continue to pursue a just, prosperous, and moral society, where everyone is able to develop to his or her fullest human potential.
Our ten-point plan is the blueprint for this future, and all IFP-run municipalities will continue to strive towards achieving the goals set out in this plan.