I have taken note of Sibusiso Ngalwa’s article titled “IFP plots way forward after dismal results” (Sunday Times: 22 May 2011), in which Mr Ngalwa claims that there is “no immediate indication that Buthelezi plans to step down” following the 2011 Local Government elections.
It is disingenuous for South Africa’s political analysts and journalists to suggest that the IFP would somehow benefit from the resignation of its leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, when research has shown time and again that Buthelezi is more popular than the IFP. Why would the IFP be better off by removing the most powerful ammunition in its arsenal? It’s nonsensical.
Disturbingly, the write-ups on the IFP post the 2011 elections, like Mr Ngalwa’s, speak to a bigger plot against the Party. The facts are simple. The IFP did not do as well as it had hoped. But despite the odds that were stacked against us – such as being destabilized by a breakaway group and barred from competing in Umzumbe – we have again reclaimed our position as the third largest party in the country. We remain a formidable force.
The media seems to be on a concerted campaign to write off the IFP. Where are the political obituaries of the ACDP, Freedom Front Plus, AZAPO and all other smaller parties? They are conspicuous in their absence.
In the interest of growing and consolidating our democracy, the IFP will go back to the drawing board to chart a new way forward. The IFP is far from being a spent force. Come 2014, the IFP will be back in with a stronger showing.
MS LIEZL VAN DER MERWE
PRESS LIAISON OFFICER TO PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI