Durban - The IFP’s president, Velenkosini Hlabisa, yesterday put on a brave face and insisted that there would be minimal disruptions in KwaZulu-Natal municipalities where it governs despite the EFF ending its coalition with the party.
On Sunday, EFF leader Julius Malema announced that the party had cut ties with the IFP, and that EFF deputy mayors had been instructed to resign from their posts where they had been appointed as part of the coalitions with the IFP.
It is understood that there are 13 municipalities where the IFP and EFF had formed coalitions to govern. However, Hlabisa said yesterday that the collapse of the coalition was likely to only affect governance in Maphumulo and uMhlabuyalingana municipalities in northern KZN.
Addressing the media at the IFP offices yesterday, Hlabisa insisted that it was their refusal to hand over control and governance of uMhlathuze Municipality in Richards Bay to the EFF that had brought an end to the working relationship between the two parties.
The IFP president added that in the past two weeks, the party’s leaders had met with the EFF leadership in Durban and Johannesburg, where the EFF had placed certain demands in order to continue the relationship.
“The IFP was categorically clear that we would not hand uMhlathuze over to the EFF, as this would be a betrayal of the trust and confidence placed in the IFP by the people of uMhlathuze,” Hlabisa said.
He added that they had offered to throw their weight behind the EFF in KZN’s two biggest municipalities, eThekwini and Msunduzi, but this had been rejected.
The IFP leader said they were not fazed by the latest developments that would see them losing control in some councils in KZN, adding that they would seek to rebuild for next year’s elections.
He said that they had been encouraged by the results of recent by-elections.
“Our track record in the recent by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal speaks of a party very much on the rise, growing in support as the people become tired of the many broken promises of the governing party.
“The IFP will not step aside or stand back – rather, we will continue to pursue a just, prosperous, and moral society, where everyone is able to develop to his or her fullest human potential.”
According to Hlabisa, the IFP would not enter into a coalition agreement with the ANC, as it believed that the governing party had caused massive damage to many cities in the country, leaving Durban resembling a ghost city.
EFF provincial secretary Nkululeko Ngubane dismissed suggestions that they had been demanding over the councils they wanted to govern, or that they had displayed arrogance when negotiating with the IFP.
He insisted that they had always rallied behind the IFP when needed, a position which he said started after the 2021 local government elections.
“The suggestion that we rejected taking over eThekwini Metro or Msunduzi Municipality is not accurate, it was not a factor as the IFP did not have a majority in the two councils and therefore was not in a position to make offers,” Ngubane said.
He stressed that they wanted to get a chance to govern in order to convince the electorate of their ability when campaigning during next year’s elections.