Velenkosini Hlabisa is the new IFP president, taking over from the long-time leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Hlabisa’s deputy is Mzamo Buthelezi while Blessed Gwala has been re-elected the national chairperson and Thembeni Mahlopha Mthethwa has been elected the deputy national chairperson.
The former president of the National Teachers’ Union Siphosethu Ngcobo is the secretary-general and his deputy is Albert Mncwango.
Narend Singh has been re-elected the treasurer-general.
All the office bearers were elected unopposed at the IFP national elective conference in Ulundi, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
‘End of factionalism’
Hlabisa has called on party members and supporters to end factionalism. Over the past few years the party could not hold its conferences due to the divisions and the mushrooming of bogus branches.
Speaking to delegates Hlabisa committed the newly-elected national leadership to uniting the party.
“On behalf of the newly elected NEC, we are humbled Shenge to receive the baton from you. We will not disappoint you. Comrades what you did today should be a new beginning for this party. You know the divisions, the damage and harm they have caused to the party. The Prince of KwaPhindangene when we were at Mthonjaneni he called upon us to bury these divisions. The unity you have shown today, let us live it for ever. A divided IFP will not be able to win the hearts of the people of South Africa.”
IFP and ANC
Earlier the former IFP president told delegates that the unfulfilled reconciliatory efforts between the IFP and the ANC remain one of his biggest concerns. Buthelezi says he will not be at peace as long the two parties have not reconciled.
“I can say with clear conscious that complied with the instructions of my leaders’ iNkosi Luthuli and Mr Oliver Tambo to ensure that the bits and pieces of land where we were perched under our King did not become a Bantustan like the TBV states. Over the years many efforts to bring about reconciliation between the two organisations, but this has never been fully achieved. It is something that must be achieved to normalise the political relationship between our organisations. My greatest sadness is that I won’t get to see the chapter of the IFP. This is not because I’m stepping down but because in few days I will turn 91. Common sense tells me that my time is short. There is so much I will not get to see.”