Durban — Political analysts said that IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa would have very big shoes to fill, including keeping the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s legacy intact.
The IFP announced that Hlabisa had been nominated to succeed Buthelezi as leader of the IFP in the National Assembly.
University of Zululand Professor Sipho Seepe has said that the vacant National Assembly seat left by the death of Buthelezi would mean that the person who occupied it would have to be as strong and capable as Buthelezi.
Nelson Mandela University Professor Bheki Mngomezulu congratulated Hlabisa.
Mngomezulu said that Hlabisa’s long history in the IFP’s leadership, and track record while being a mayor of the Hlabisa Big 5 Local Municipality, had provided him with valuable experience to ascend to the IFP’s seat in Parliament.
The IFP announced at Monday’s national executive committee meeting that it had made some changes in its provincial structures and reshuffled some of its leaders.
The party also resolved that the vacancy that arose in the KZN legislature owing to the resignation of Hlabisa would be filled by Reverend Musa Zondi.
IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said that the leader of the official opposition in the KZN provincial legislature would now be the national chairperson, Blessed Gwala, who was the chief whip of the official opposition. That role will now be filled by deputy national chairperson Thembeni kaMadlopha-Mthethwa.
Hlengwa said: “These appointments are effective immediately, and the IEC (Electoral Commission of SA) and the National Assembly of Parliament will facilitate the necessary administrative processes with the party.
“The NEC has taken these decisions consistent with the party’s smooth leadership transition, and believes that these changes will take forward the legacy and life’s work of Prince Buthelezi, entrench party unity, and consolidate the IFP’s onward march to the 2024 national and provincial elections.”
He said the IFP reiterated its confidence in Hlabisa and wished him well in his responsibilities as the IFP’s parliamentary leader.
Taking up the challenge, Hlabisa said that he was looking forward to representing his political party, the IFP, his first love whom he had worked for all his life.
He said he knew that his new responsibility involved filling big shoes left by the passing of Umntwana wakwaPhindangene.
He stressed that he was looking forward to making a difference, and for his voice and beliefs to be heard in the national Parliament as he embarked on a new journey to ensure that South Africa became a great country again, and to keep alive the legacy left by Dr Buthelezi and continuing fighting for his beliefs.
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