Buthelezi still leads the IFP – if you believe the T-shirt

Celani Sikhakhane

The Inkatha Freedom Party faces serious division after sitting president Velenkosini Hlabisa was snubbed by members of his own party. 

The party has still not put the face of Hlabisa on their party T-shirts, and instead has continued to portray the face of the former president, Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

After 40 years as leader, Buthelezi stepped down in 2017 following the election of Hlabisa. 

The party lost its power in KZN in 2004 to the ANC. In 2014, they lost their official opposition status to the DA.

This followed the party’s loss of several municipalities in 2011 to the NFP, headed by former IFP national chairperson, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi.

As a result, the IFP were left with three municipalities. 

In 2019 they retained some status by becoming the official opposition in KZN. 

A source has revealed that Provincial Chairperson Thamsanqa Ntuli is driving divisions within the party. 

“The situation is bad. Ntuli has created a strong cabal and those under his wing no longer recognise Hlabisa as president. 

“Ntuli is the Mayor of Nkandla but whenever he has an event there he invites Buthelezi instead of Hlabisa,” said the source. 

Another source said Hlabisa supporters are being removed from their positions. 

“The Mayor of Nongoma is suspended from the party, the Mthonjaneni Mayor is gone, Mayor of Big 5 Hlabisa and the Mayor of Zululand are next in line,” said the source.

This week a video from uMsinga emerged in which a branch leader was telling members not to recognise any leader other than Buthelezi. 

IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Hlabisa and Ntuli are working together.

“We know there are people trying to promote divisions between Buthelezi and Hlabisa to advance their agenda,” said Hlengwa. 

Ntuli said he understood there were people against his election.

“No meeting ever happened at my Nkandla home,” he said. 

“I have nothing to do with the purging of leaders or mayors. All IFP decisions are taken by the National structure of the party. We work well with Hlabisa,” said Ntuli.

Picture source: @IFP_KZN

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