IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi Picture: Mothswari Mofokeng/ANA Pictures

Durban - IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who turns 89 later this month, is set to be at the helm of the party for the next five years after the party’s 35th elective conference in December.

This was one of the IFP’s internal resolutions from its national council meeting in July.

Having led the IFP since its inception in 1975, Buthelezi was deemed fit to continue to lead the IFP as he was an “ethical, trustworthy and principled leader” and members had “unconditional faith in him”.

“His trustworthy leadership has enabled the IFP to survive incessant campaigns to destroy it, internal divisions and leadership squabbles which threaten to destabilise almost all political formations in South Africa,” the document read.

Political analyst Bukani Mngoma said Buthelezi’s staying power came from his being more than just a leader: the party had been built around him.

“He is an authority within the party, and will remain so until he decides to hand over the reins. Even the person who takes over will be of his choice,” Mngoma said.

At the IFP’s last elective conference in December 2012, the party amended its constitution to create a position of deputy president as part of its succession plan.

Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi was elected unopposed as the IFP’s second-in-line to succeed Buthelezi.

But Mngoma argued that the party had no succession strategy.

“They may as well suspend this implementation until Buthelezi makes a decision that he wants to step down,” he said.

Mngoma added that even if Buthelezi stepped down, the IFP would not collapse as it was “a solid party”.

“Within the IFP, Buthelezi is seen as a unifier. He has not been dogged by any scandals.”