With the elections done and dusted, questions have been raised about the IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s future.
But the 90-year-old has no plans to quit. In fact, he’s returning to the National Assembly.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) says the outcome of the general elections in which the party reclaimed its position as the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, and also improved its seat allocation to the National Assembly, is an indication that the party is still a force to be reckoned with.
The IFP has increased its seats from 10 to 14 in the House. In the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, the party’s seats have increased from 9 to 13 seats.
“It was a clear win, placing the IFP in a position to challenge the ruling party in KwaZulu-Natal. The words of former President Mandela are surely ringing in some ears this morning:”He is a formidable survivor, we can’t ignore him.””
He adds that: “The victory has strengthened our voice in the national governance of South Africa. Our greatest victory is here in KZN. Despite the massive and well-funded campaigns waged by our opponents, in this key province, the IFPO has overtaken the DA to become once again, the official opposition in KZN. The electoral result has shown the wisdom of our party in approaching transition with prudence. It is evident that the IFP’s rank and file are comfortable with our transition and have embraced the leaders who will take the IFP into its next chapter.”
The party does admit that the election came with challenges and setbacks. Voter turnout in areas where it enjoys support was low.
Buthelezi says these areas need attention. “It’s true I was very upset about that people who didn’t go and vote in areas which are our strongholds. We need to go back and look at this…”
The IFP is the country’s fourth biggest party, and won the provincial elections in 1994 and 1999. Since then its political fortunes have dwindled.