Our History

Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe

A group of patriotic South Africans, under the leadership of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, gather at KwaNzimela in KwaZulu and establish Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe, the national cultural liberation movement (Kgare ya Tokoloho ya Setjhaba). Founded on the principles of the 1912 liberation movement, Inkatha rapidly becomes home to more than a million card-carrying members.

1975

21 March.

1976

Establishes the Women’s Brigade and Youth Brigade. 

Inkatha establishes its Women’s Brigade and Youth Brigade

Inkatha establishes its Women’s Brigade and Youth Brigade to champion the voices of oppressed women and youth.

Through its structures, Inkatha mobilises support for liberation, igniting non-violent activism against apartheid. Inkatha works closely with the ANC leadership-in-exile. At the same time, Inkatha teaches self-help and self-reliance, empowering the oppressed. 

Gaining Popularity

With Inkatha rapidly gaining popular support, Buthelezi is summoned to Pretoria by Minister of Justice, Police and Prisons, Jimmy Kruger, and ordered to restrict membership of Inkatha to Zulu-speaking South Africans. Buthelezi refuses, and Inkatha remains home to all oppressed South Africans. 

1977

Prince Buthelezi is summoned to Pretoria.

1978

Buthelezi forms the South African Black Alliance.

An Alliance is Formed

Buthelezi forms the South African Black Alliance, comprising Indian, Coloured and Black political organisations.

Inkatha holds mass rallies to enquire from the people whether it should support the call for international sanctions and disinvestment. Overwhelmingly, the people say “No” as it is the poorest who will suffer the most. Inkatha thus opposes the call for sanctions, and rejects an armed struggle.

Oliver Tambo’s invitation

On Oliver Tambo’s invitation, a delegation of Inkatha led by Buthelezi meets with a delegation of the ANC’s mission-in-exile in London. For two and a half days the ANC tries to persuade Inkatha to support its armed struggle and to allow weapons and guerrilla soldiers to be channelled into South Africa through Inkatha’s structures.

Inkatha refuses. It cannot abandon the liberation movement’s founding principle of non-violence. Buthelezi also refuses pressure to support sanctions and disinvestment, knowing the damage it will cause to the economy that the people are fighting to inherit. The two organisations cannot agree. The ANC commits to meet again in December, but that meeting never happens. 

When the ANC’s Mr Cap Zungu leaks details of the meeting to the Sunday Times of London, Tambo immediately issues a statement denying that the meeting has even taken place. Buthelezi is wrongfully blamed for leaking the story, opening the door to the greater wave of propaganda that will soon be launched. 

1979

A delegation of Inkatha led by Buthelezi meets with a delegation of the ANC’s mission-in-exile in London.

1980

Prince Buthelezi investigates the possibility of reconstituting KwaZulu and Natal as a single self-governing unit, to break out of the apartheid mould.

The Buthelezi Commission of Enquiry

The Buthelezi Commission of Enquiry into Social, Economic and Political Justice investigates the possibility of reconstituting KwaZulu and Natal as a single self-governing unit, to break out of the apartheid mould. A market economy system is given preference over socialist or communist alternatives. 

On 2 June, speaking at the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, the ANC’s General Secretary Mr Alfred Nzo fires the opening salvo in what will become a decades’ long campaign of vilification against Inkatha and Buthelezi. Despite knowing the truth about Buthelezi and the role he is playing on the instruction of the ANC, Tambo says nothing.

In pursuit of the plan to balkanise
South Africa

In pursuit of the plan to balkanise South Africa and deprive the oppressed majority of their citizenship, Prime Minister Botha offers the entire KwaZulu as an “independent” country under Buthelezi’s leadership.

But Buthelezi consistently refuses the offer. He believes in one sovereign South Africa and rejects the Bantustan concept outright. His principled stand fulfils the mission he had been given by the ANC to undermine the apartheid system from within.

1981

Prince Buthelezi believes in one sovereign South Africa and rejects the Bantustan concept outright.

1982

Inkatha holds a joint protest meeting.

Inkatha Holds a Joint Protest Meeting

Inkatha holds a joint protest meeting with the Progressive Federal Party against Government’s plan to cede KaNgwane and Ingwavuma to Swaziland. Ultimately, Buthelezi takes the Government to court and successfully blocks this plan.

Buthelezi visits President
Ronald Reagan

Buthelezi visits President Ronald Reagan and various Heads of State to urge against economic sanctions and disinvestment, as many of the large multinational corporations are the biggest employers of black South Africans.

1983 – 1984

Prince Buthelezi visits America’s leaders.

1985

Prince Buthelezi appointed Chief Executive Councillor.

Black-on-black violence engulfs KwaZulu and Witwatersrand

Black-on-black violence engulfs KwaZulu and the then Witwatersrand as the ANC’s People’s War is unleashed on South Africa. 

With Inkatha seen as a threat to political dominance, the ANC turns the People’s War on Inkatha supporters. Over the next few years, some 20 000 black lives are lost to violence, counter-violence, preemptive violence and revenge attacks. Throughout, Buthelezi maintains the call for peace and no retaliation. 

Provincial constitutional talks are engaged through the KwaZulu Natal Indaba

From April to November of 1986, under Buthelezi’s leadership, provincial constitutional talks are engaged through the KwaZulu Natal Indaba. This results in the establishment of the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Executive Authority, South Africa’s first non-racial, non-discriminatory government. 

1986

KwaZulu-Natal Joint Executive Authority is established.

1990

February.

President FW de Klerk announces in Parliament his decision to release Mandela

On 2 February, President FW de Klerk announces in Parliament his decision to release Mandela. Buthelezi is the only person he mentions by name as having persuaded him to make this decision.

On 11 February, Mandela finally walks free. At his first mass rally, he publicly thanks Buthelezi for all that he did to secure his release. Mandela indicates to his supporters that political violence must end.

Mandela and Buthelezi meet for the first time since Mandela’s release.

Mandela and Buthelezi, together with their delegations, meet for the first time since Mandela’s release, at the Royal Hotel in Durban.

After lengthy discussions, they publicly commit to hold joint rallies from that point onwards, to end the violence between the two parties. Tragically, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal immediately prevents Mandela from fulfilling his commitment to share a podium with Buthelezi.

1991

Mandela and Buthelezi commit to hold joint rallies.

1992

Constitutional Negotiations.

Constitutional Negotiations

Throughout the constitutional negotiations, the IFP advocates a federal system, devolution of powers, social and economic rights, a constitutional court, independent organs of state controlling the executive, the recognition of indigenous and customary law, and the need for a Bill of Rights.

ANC and NP Government are Not Negotiating in Good Faith

It becomes clear that the ANC and NP Government are not negotiating in good faith. They declare that anything agreed upon between the two would constitute “sufficient consensus”, to the exclusion of every other voice in South Africa. The IFP withdraws from negotiations.

1993

ANC and NP Government are not Negotiating in Good Faith.

1994

19 April.

The Signing of the Agreement for Reconciliation and Peace

The signing of the Agreement for Reconciliation and Peace by Prince Buthelezi, Mr Nelson Mandela and then President FW de Klerk, committing to convene international mediation after the 1994 elections to finalise outstanding matters from the negotiating table.

On the basis of this commitment, the IFP participates in the elections. However, the commitment is never honoured.

The IFP Wins More Than 2 Million Votes

Despite having had only eight days to campaign, the IFP wins more than 2 million votes in South Africa’s first democratic elections. In KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP is elected to govern.

1994

27 April.

1994

11 May.

Prince Buthelezi is Appointed South Africa’s First Minister of Home Affairs

President Mandela announces the formation of the Government of National Unity in terms of the Interim Constitution.

Prince Buthelezi is appointed South Africa’s first Minister of Home Affairs, while Dr Ben Ngubane becomes Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, and Mr Sipho Mzimela becomes Minister of Correctional Services. 

In KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Frank Mdlalose becomes the first Premier under a democratic system and sets up his Provincial Cabinet.

IFP Makes a Comprehensive Submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The IFP makes a comprehensive submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the details of 420 IFP leaders and office bearers who had been systematically assassinated. None of these cases is ever investigated by the TRC.

1996

6 September.

1997

Dr Ben Ngubane becomes the IFP’s second Premier of KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr Ben Ngubane becomes the IFP’s second Premier of KwaZulu-Natal.

Buthelezi is Sworn in as Acting President of the Republic of South Africa.

Subsequently, he serves in this capacity 22 times under President Mandela and President Mbeki.

Mr Ben Skosana is appointed Minister of Correctional Services.

1998

14 June.

1999

The IFP retains KwaZulu-Natal, but invites the ANC to participate in governance for the sake of reconciliation.

The IFP Retains KwaZulu-Natal, but Invites the ANC to Participate in governance

With South Africa’s second national and provincial elections, the IFP retains KwaZulu-Natal, but invites the ANC to participate in governance for the sake of reconciliation.

Nationally, the IFP becomes the second largest opposition party and retains 34 seats in Parliament. Despite the final Constitution making no requirement for a Government of National Unity, President Mbeki invites Prince Buthelezi to continue as Minister of Home Affairs for another five years. Dr Ben Ngubane continues as Minister of Arts and Culture and Mr Ben Skosana as Minister of Correctional Services.   

Dr LPHM Mtshali becomes the IFP’s third Premier of KwaZulu-Natal. 

The Country’s Greatest Success Stories in the Fight Against HIV/Aids

Under the leadership of Premier LPHM Mtshali, the antiretroviral Nevirapine is rolled out to clinics across KwaZulu-Natal to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/Aids at birth. 

The programme is such a success that the Treatment Action Campaign takes national Government to the Constitutional Court demanding that it be done throughout South Africa. This becomes one of our country’s greatest success stories in the fight against HIV/Aids. 

2002

The antiretroviral Nevirapine is rolled out to clinics across KwaZulu-Natal to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/Aids at birth.

2004

The IFP becomes the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, retaining several seats in the provincial cabinet.

The IFP Becomes the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal

With the third national and provincial elections, the IFP becomes the Official Opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, retaining several seats in the provincial cabinet.

At national level, the IFP continues in Parliament, both in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. The decision is taken to provide a constructive opposition in order to build South Africa.

Constitutional Amendment

Buthelezi proposes a constitutional amendment to separate the position of Head of State and Head of Government to give South Africa a President who truly represents all the people, is above party politics, and above reproach. The Bill is defeated by an ANC majority.

2007

A Constitutional Amendment.

2011

Buthelezi provides evidence in Parliament of the ANC’s role in splitting the IFP through the formation of the NFP.

Buthelezi Provides Evidence

Buthelezi provides evidence in Parliament of the ANC’s role in splitting the IFP through the formation of the NFP.

His evidence is not contradicted. The Local Government Elections see the newly formed NFP split the vote for the IFP, with painful consequences. Nevertheless, the IFP retains several municipalities.

IFP MP Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini Introduces the Medical Innovation Bill

IFP MP Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini introduces the Medical Innovation Bill which seeks to make South Africa a centre of medical research and innovation, while legalising the medical use of cannabis. Tragically, he loses the battle to Cancer that same year. 

2014

IFP MP Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini Introduces the Medical Innovation Bill.

2015

40th Anniversary.

The IFP celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Party’s founding.

An Increased Support

The results of the national and provincial elections see the IFP back on an upward trajectory, with increased support. In KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP overtakes the DA and once again becomes the Official Opposition.

On 24 August, at the IFP’s National Elective Conference, Buthelezi officially retires from the presidency of the Party. The Hon. Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa is unanimously elected President of the IFP. Buthelezi is asked to continue providing guidance as President Emeritus.

2019

The results of the national and provincial elections see the IFP back on an upward trajectory.

2020

Lockdown in South Africa.

Lockdown in South Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic forces South Africa into a national lockdown. The IFP provides leadership and support as communities endure tremendous loss, both of lives and livelihoods.

Local Government Elections are postponed to 1 November 2021

In light of the ongoing pandemic, Local Government Elections are postponed to 1 November 2021 and the IFP prepares to contest wards throughout South Africa.

2021

Local Government Elections are postponed to 1 November 2021.

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