Durban — The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal has refuted claims that its members disrupted a government event that took place in Estcourt in the north west of the province on Saturday.
The event was organised by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and was to be addressed by MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi.
In a record-setting statement party provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli said it was the ANC that turned a government event into its own rally using state resources, adding that several loud-hailing vehicles branded with ANC logos were used to mobilise community members in the area and encouraged them to attend the gathering.
Ntuli said that at the entrance of the venue where the government program was scheduled to take place, individuals were handed free ANC t-shirts as they entered.
“The IFP in KZN would like to clarify the unprecedented and disastrous activities that resulted in the disruption and cancellation of the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) public event in Estcourt, in the north-west of the province, on Saturday. According to our local leadership in Estcourt, the problem began when the department decided to transform the government public meeting into an ANC political rally, using government resources,” read the statement.
Ntuli said the IFP in Estcourt was also holding its own party meeting not far from the government event location but when attendees of the IFP meeting learned that those attending the government event were being given ANC t-shirts and the majority were dressed in ANC regalia, they decided to join the government public event as their own meeting had concluded.
“As community members wearing IFP t-shirts began entering the government public meeting, Lindokuhle Percy Xulu, an ANC Youth League activist who also serves as the Head of Ministry in the Department of Cogta, took to the stage, seized the microphone, and started chanting slogans inciting violence.
“These slogans included phrases like "Niyabesaba Yini Na?" (translated as "Are you scared of them?"), to which the audience responded with "Cha, asibesabi, siyabafuna!" (meaning "No, we are not scared of them, we want them!"). Xulu didn't stop there. He went on to sing ANC political songs like "Mshini wami," creating a divisive atmosphere between those wearing ANC t-shirts and those wearing IFP t-shirts.
Ntuli further stated that the IFP Inkosi Langalibalele local Municipality mayor Mduduzi Myeza who was at the event in his official capacity, approached Xulu and pleaded with him not to politicise the government event.
He said, however, Xulu was not receptive to the concerns raised regarding the potential dangers of politicising the government event.
The party said it was warning all ANC MECs to refrain from exclusively conducting their government programmes in areas where by-elections are taking place, adding that the misuse of state resources not only amounts to maladministration but also undermines the intelligence of the residents.
Ntuli added that MEC Sithole-Moloi should be the one reprimanding her party and the government for misappropriating government resources for political gains.
“This trend sets a dangerous precedent as we approach the 2024 elections. Politics and political campaigning should be kept separate from government programs. Communities should receive services based on their needs, not their political preferences. Allowing such practices to continue will only lead to more chaotic and tumultuous government events, which is detrimental to our vulnerable communities. It must be stopped,” concludes the statement.
In his explanation on Sunday, Xulu had said the group had demanded the inclusion of mayor Myeza in the programme as one of the speakers, adding that the mayor had been invited but had not indicated his availability hence he was not on the list of speakers. The event degenerated into fist fight between ANC and IFP supporters.
Several years ago the area was regarded as one of the violence hotspots in the province and every time there was an election more police and army were deployed.
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