Dear Ms Haffajee:
I have taken note of Paddy Harper's article titled "Coalition talks loom large for ANC, NFP" (City Press: 22 May 2011) in which the City Press alleged that the IFP President Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi called "Magwaza-Msibi to unsuccessfully initiate talks with her" after the announcement of the 2011 election results.
This is not true. While the IFP has now started coalition talks with various political parties, no direct approach by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was made to Magwaza-Msibi, simply because the IFP President believes in collective leadership and felt that he needed the collective wisdom of the Party's highest decision-making bodies - the National Council and the National Executive Committee - before any decision on coalitions could be made. He has never taken decisions unilaterally. Magwaza-Msibi has also denied Harper's claims on radio.
Factual inaccuracies have become par for the course as South Africa's quality of journalism declines, but write-ups on the IFP post the 2011 elections 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 be back in 2014 with a stronger showing. We will go back to the drawing board to chart a new way forward as we set our sights firmly on 2014. Time and again those who write off the IFP have proven to be nothing more than false prophets.
MS LIEZL VAN DER MERWE
PRESS LIAISON OFFICER TO PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI