Durban — The EFF has mooted the possibility of working together again with the IFP to block the ANC from returning to KwaZulu-Natal.
Speaking at KwaPhindangene royal residence in Ulundi north on Tuesday, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu raised hopes that the two parties would again find each other and form a coalition against the ANC.
The party was among many which went to Ulundi to console the grieving family of departed IFP founder and Zulu Traditional Prime Minister Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Shivambu urged the IFP leadership not to use Buthelezi’s departure to cause internal strife fighting for positions, warning that they would be destroying his legacy.
He then delved into what many construed as an indication that the party was courting the IFP to form a coalition government within KwaZulu-Natal after the elections next year.
“The IFP and EFF will play very important roles in forming a government that will not be led by the ANC in next year’s general elections … so unity in the IFP is very important,” said Shivambu.
After co-governing close to 20 municipalities in the province, the EFF and IFP parted ways when Julius Malema’s party dumped the IFP and formed a coalition with the ANC.
Shivambu reminded mourners that the late Prince Buthelezi was the first leader the EFF came to seek counsel from after it was founded in 2013.
The meeting took place in 2014 in Durban. Shivambu said among the reasons why they visited Buthelezi was to apologise for the things they had said while they were with the ANC.
The EFF leader praised “uMntwana waKwaPhindangene” for being principled and institutionalising his ideas, saying the importance of the IFP was not necessarily because it was a political party, but also because it was founded by a black leader.
He added that the call for IFP unity was to end the sad precedent that all institutions founded by black people collapsed after the death of the founder.
Reacting to the EFF’s gesture to the IFP, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal poured cold water on it, saying the ANC would win the province with an outright majority.
ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the ANC was not interested in responding to what the EFF had said since it had made it clear that it was campaigning to win the province and govern alone.
The call for unity in the IFP was echoed by DA leader John Steenhuisen, who also led his party leadership to KwaPhindangene to pay their respects.
Speaking to the media outside the mourners’ marquee, Steenhuisen said unity within the IFP was more important for his party since they were both governing 13 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. Both parties have signed a pact and are working together to ensure they grab power from the ANC in next year’s elections.
IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said his party was taking the unity calls very seriously.
On behalf of the family, Prince Buthelezi’s son, Zuzifa Buthelezi, thanked all the parties for their messages of support. Buthelezi, who died last Saturday morning, will now be buried on Saturday not on Friday as the family initially announced.
The Daily News understands the changes were necessitated by the availability of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was said to have planned to leave the country on Saturday. The president’s availability to deliver a keynote address at Buthelezi’s funeral was confirmed by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Thembi Nkadimeng.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.