2019 South African general election: Analysis and News

'We don't think it is unhealthy for Buthelezi to have led the IFP since 1975'

With 8 May fast approaching, political parties are gearing up for the final push to garner support.

Many parties are outlining their political strategies to get voters to support them.

Read: 'Like so many other manifestos, the IFP made broad statements.'

Show host Eusebius McKaiser sits down with Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) youth brigade national chairperson and MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa to unpack the party's election plan.

We have acknowledged our electoral decline throughout the years and we have been able to arrest this decline, judging by the 2016 election results.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

In 2016 we were able to regain our municipalities and we have done successfully well in some of the by-elections we have contested. These successes are because we have gone back to the basics and fast-tracked our grassroots movements.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

We acknowledge that we have suffered our fair share of setbacks, but at the same time we have always maintained that we may be down but we are not out.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

While the numbers tell a story, he would like to believe that post-8 May - there will be a growth trajectory by the IFP. Furthermore, he says it is the South African voter that can tell why the IFP vote declined.

When we assess and have interactions, it becomes clear that some of the messaging may not have been correct. It becomes clear that our competitors did better in their planning. It became clear to us that we needed to refocus anew.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

Hlengwa says the narrative that the IFP is a Zulu party is false.

We have never branded ourselves as such, but the ethnic politics came into serious play with the ascension of Jacob Zuma; there was the 100% Zuluboy campaign as well, something which we don't advocate for.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

He says the IFP wants to consolidate and focus on its political stronghold which KwaZulu-Natal. The mission is to recapture the province.

Everyone is healthy and weak somewhere, and secondly, we believe that we made an honest effort to be present everywhere during this election.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

The conversation moved to party leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and whether he will finally retire.

We are on public record citing the reasons why Buthelezi didn't step down. We had bogus branches ahead of the conference and we had to audit those, and we have successfully done that.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

So this guy has been a leader since 197. In a country like ours is it healthy for someone to have been a leader since 1975?

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

We certainly don't think it is unhealthy, he has done well, and he has kept the party together.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

Hlengwa emphasises that the transition for a new leader is in place and it will come full circle in July when the party hosts its national conference.

Also read: IFP faces tough election battle for KZN, journos say

When asked as to how he would convince an undecided voter to vote for the IFP, Hlengwa had this to say:

These elections are about the public purse and most importantly they are about the future and they speak to the collective interest of every South African that wants a job.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

We have to benchmark whatever futuristic hope we have against the track record of the past 25 years. As the IFP we have a track record of service delivery where we have governed and where we are governing.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

We cannot achieve all that we want to achieve if we are bleeding and losing money, maladministration and corruption.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

These elections are about the economy and the economy thrives when there is stable leadership, leaders you can trust and where there is integrity in financial management.

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Youth brigade national chairperson - IFP

Callers also weighed in on their thoughts on the IFP, and many were unhappy that Buthelezi is still at the helm.

Hlengwa reiterates that the party is scheduled to go to the conference in July and if Buthelezi had it his way, the party would have gone to the conference already.

Listen below to the full conversation:


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