Statement by IFP President Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa on Behalf of the IFP National Executive Committee

Aug 8, 2023 | Press Releases

Tuesday, 08 August 2023

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, thank you very much for being here this morning.

At the outset, let me thank all South Africans and people of the world for their well wishes, prayers and support for IFP Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, as he recuperates in hospital.

We wish Shenge a speedy recovery.

Ladies and gentlemen, the IFP is a public entity, which exists to serve the People of South Africa in the spirit of Ubuntu/Botho. At the heart of a functional democracy is public accountability and transparency by political parties. The IFP is no exception.

Against this background, we have convened this press conference to take South Africans into our confidence about developments of the past few days, which have caused public anxiety.

Let me firstly assure our members and South Africa, there is no crisis in the IFP. The Party is solid, strong, and united in its course of service to South Africa.

On 29 July 2023, the IFP Secretary-General received a petition from 20 petitioners requesting a special urgent sitting of the IFP National Council.

The NEC of Monday 31 July 2023, having considered the matter, resolved not to accede to the request.

The National Council members were subsequently called to appear before the NEC yesterday, 7 August 2023, to engage the colleagues on their petition on the basis that they had not substantiated their petition.

Furthermore, two signatories withdrew their signatures from the petition, thus the petition no longer held constitutional muster in terms of the IFP constitution, which prescribes a minimum of 20.

We had a fruitful and constructive engagement with the colleagues, who went as far as offering an apology to the Party for the confusion and public anxiety the petition has caused.

Whilst the IFP Constitution provides for petitions, it must be understood that this is an exceptional measure.

The colleagues have categorically distanced themselves from the speculation that suggested that through their petition they would table a motion-of-no-confidence in the IFP President.

The IFP will not be distracted by the desperate mischief of our detractors who seek to sow divisions in the IFP through speculation or rumour mongering.

These National Council members indicated that they wanted the National Council to finalise the issue of Party regalia and branding insofar as the use of the face of the IFP Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, is concerned. They were informed that the NEC has already resolved in the affirmative on this matter.

These National Council colleagues also raised the key question of the Party’s election readiness for 2024, with a particular emphasis on ensuring that Party structures are in place.

Over and above the already inaugurated branches, there are currently 888 branches of the Party ready to be inaugurated and the Office of the Secretary-General will fast track the process of inauguration.

As the IFP is a membership-based organisation, it follows that there would be heightened focus on ensuring branches are election ready.

The various PECs and National Council-deployed teams to provinces are currently seized with the matter of structures where it is necessary or applicable.

Contrary to speculation, the IFP has emerged out of yesterday’s meeting stronger in its unity.

I have full confidence in the leadership collective of the NEC and National Council I work with, and lead as President; especially in our onward march to 2024. We are a Party at work. We are a united leadership at work. Any speculation to the contrary is wishful thinking by our opponents.

The country is in trouble on every front: from poverty, to crime, to corruption, to unemployment, to lack of service delivery. Therefore, the IFP, as an alternative to those in power, is firmly focused on securing a decisive election victory in 2024.

As the leadership collective of the Party, we place a high premium on unity and discipline if we are to be a trusted alternative for the people whom we exist to serve.

We are defined by the rich legacy of our President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, of ethical, moral and servant leadership. It is a legacy to be proud of and a legacy we must build on.

It is our historic mission to pursue the liberation of the oppressed, dispossessed, and vulnerable in our country. We commit ourselves as the IFP to ensure that political freedom translates into social and economic justice, to take forward the collective dreams, hopes and aspirations of those we serve.

Thank you.

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