IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa, speaking at Sunday’s memorial service for the late founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said the party was not going to disappear but was expecting to win KwaZulu-Natal at next year’s elections.
The event held at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu, was attended by politicians and dignitaries and Buthelezi’s family including his children Prince Zuzifa and Princess Phumzile, the chairperson of the party’s Women’s Brigade and Queen Mother Mavis MaZungu Zulu.
The memorial was organised by the IFP which Buthelezi founded in 1975 and led for 44 years – he passed away in September, aged 95.
The party had been in a decline prior to 2016 but revived its support and by the 2021 local government elections, it regained several stronghold municipalities that had been held by the ANC.
Hlabisa on Sunday said the party would remain united as a mark of “enduring legacy” to Buthelezi.
“(Next year) is our 1994 and all eligible voters must register to vote and remove the ANC from power,” said Hlabisa, adding that South Africa’s potential to be a giant had been diminished in recent years by corruption and maladministration.
Hlabisa said the party was in safe and capable hands as he dismissed any suggestion that the IFP would “implode and become irrelevant” after Buthelezi’s death.
He said since Buthelezi had formed the IFP, “it served South Africa faithfully, acting on principle and never wavering in its commitment to the core values of democracy, equality, justice and and freedom”.
“One tool he believed in was education, and he poured his energy into developing education in KZN. Another tool was unity, and he became a bridgebuilder like no other,” said Hlabisa.
The party’s deputy president Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi said the IFP founder had an unwavering sense of duty and commitment to serving the people.
“During his tenure leading the KwaZulu government, roads were well-maintained, essential medicines were readily available in clinics, and emergency services were prompt and reliable.”
He said that Buthelezi had the ability to rise above hostility.
IFP KZN chairperson Thami Ntuli said it was important for a memorial service to be held in the province.
“When you talk about his legacy in KZN, this includes more than 6 000 classrooms, his contribution to education and universities, industries that were convinced to invest in the province and even Ithala Bank.
“There is a lot of infrastructure that even today is giving people hope and this signifies the great legacy.”
ActionSA KZN chairperson, Zwakele Mncwango speaking at the event said he would motivate for the eThekwini Municipality to be renamed after Buthelezi, and would soon table a motion to this effect.
“Eastern Cape was able to rename its only metro to that of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality and we are calling on all parties next week ... we will sponsor the motion in council to rename eThekwini Municipality to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi municipality. We believe that we must honour him as a province.”
Mncwango also called on political parties to unite to defeat the ANC at next year’s polls, saying this would be the best way to honour Buthelezi.
“This is one of the ways we can honour Prince Buthelezi, we have to do whatever it takes to honour him.
“Removing the ANC from power, to stop our country from collapsing is one way to do that.”
Mncwango said that Buthelezi always maintained integrity and morality and the country needed ethical leaders.
“We must unite as political parties and take the seat of the legislature back to Ulundi,” Mncwango said.