IFP spurns sponsored candidate idea

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Theo Jeptha/Independent Newspapers

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Theo Jeptha/Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 13, 2023


IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa has weighed in on the issue of a sponsored candidate leading the MultiParty Charter (MPC), saying the party will not entertain a sponsored candidate and the charter was a cause the people of South Africa are counting on.

Hlabisa was speaking in reference to Roger Jardine, who after a recent meeting with DA leaders John Steenhuisen and Helen Zille, was touted as a presidential candidate for the Charter, which includes the IFP, ActionSA and other parties. The IFP and ActionSA said they had never held any such discussions with the MPC.

On Sunday, Jardine officially launched his political movement – The Change Starts Now movement – saying it consists of an intergenerational group of dedicated citizens with experience in politics, business, and civil society. It is understood that funders have pledged more than R1 billion for his campaign.

The IFP on Tuesday held its first national policy conference since 2008, the last time it met to review policies.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Hlabisa said the party was not interested in a sponsored candidate.

“The IFP is not interested in positions but in bringing in a government that will bring relief to the people of South Africa.”

On whether a candidate should be available for the MPC, Hlabisa said this should be decided once next year’s election results are out.

“If you want to be a leader, do so in your own party; you cannot be a candidate of a coalition because each party brings its own ideological identity. Once the coalition has been formed after the elections then we can discuss leadership,” Hlabisa said.

The issue of a presidential candidate should only be raised once a candidate had formed their own party and proved themselves in elections, he said.

“It is problematic if someone just wants to become a leader without having shown leadership capabilities.”

Earlier, during his address to IFP delegates, Hlabisa said policies must evolve as needs evolve and new challenges emerge that demand solutions.

“In 1994, nobody was talking about corruption or load shedding. But in 2024, any political party that does not have a solution to corruption and load shedding has no place on the ballot paper.”

Hlabisa said the party had consulted extensively “from the ground up” in coming up with the draft policies that would be discussed at the conference. He said there is power in the IFP’s approach of working hand in hand with the people they serve.

“There is power in partnerships and participative politics. That is where the real work is being done and where results are delivered.

“The IFP’s policies are based in this ideology of participative democracy.

We believe in making the tough calls, for the sake of the greatest benefit to the largest number of people, while setting up contingency plans so that no one is left behind.”

He said the party believes in getting the power closer to the people, devolving it to the lowest level of governance, enabling communities to design their own solutions to their unique challenges.

“The IFP believes in empowering communities, in self-help and self-reliance, in servant leadership, in integrity, and in doing the right thing.

“This is the legacy uMntwana waKwa Phindangene (late party founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi) left us, and we are all responsible for walking in it.”

He said Buthelezi had left the IFP in a strong position.

The Mercury