The Hon. Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Leader of the Official Opposition in Kwazulu Natal
24 November 2021
Following on our press briefing of last week, the IFP is pleased to provide an update to the nation on progress that has been made in constituting councils in the hung municipalities of KwaZulu-Natal.
The IFP has established councils in Nongoma, Inkosi Langalibalele, Umvoti, Abaqulusi, Newcastle, Alfred Duma, Endumeni and Mthonjaneni. This is in addition to municipalities where we won a clear majority, namely Umfolozi, UMlalazi, Ulundi, Msinga, Big 5 Hlabisa, Nkandla, Ophongolo, Nquthu and Jozini.
On the basis of the electoral mandate, these municipalities are now administered by an IFP government. We intend to honour the trust that has been placed in the IFP to lead with integrity and to deliver.
The strong growth of the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal is an indication of the growing partnership between the people and a trustworthy leadership. Moreover, it is a clear vindication of the decision taken by the IFP’s National Council to approach the formation of local governments on the basis of the principle that the party who received the most votes, even without attaining a clear majority, should be allowed to govern.
The IFP had hoped that other parties would follow this same principle as a model for governance in all hung municipalities.
As we indicated last week, however, the governance of KwaZulu-Natal’s economic hubs was still under discussion. The IFP believed that, because of the strong support we received in Umhlathuze, eThekwini and Newcastle, it is essential that we play a strong role in these municipalities to retore them to good governance.
As this last part of our discussions with the ANC was not yet complete, the IFP’s negotiating team approached them once more to secure finality, but was compelled to report to our National Executive Committee on Sunday 21 November that our call for shared governance arrangements in these municipalities had not yet been answered.
Unfortunately, in the early hours of Monday morning 22 November, the ANC came back to us saying that there could not be an agreement on shared governance. We therefore took the mutual decision not to continue our agreement, and instead agreed to allow local dynamics to prevail in the remaining hung municipalities.
Accordingly, local leadership in the various constituencies worked to form governments which saw different parties coming together. This has brought the IFP into leadership in Umhlathuze and Newcastle.
We are humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead these two economic hubs of KwaZulu-Natal, and we thank the electorate for placing its confidence in the IFP.
As we begin the important work of fixing broken municipalities and strengthening service delivery, the IFP will keep the people informed every step of the way. We believe in governing through partnership and being accountable to the people.
There are still councils to be constituted, including King Cetshwayo, Umzinyathi and the Zululand District Municipalities. Once all councils have been constituted, we will provide another update.
I wish to thank South Africa for its patience in these uncertain times, as we seek the best possible outcome for local government.