EFF leader Julius Malema appeared to largely single out the IFP for criticism when addressing his supporters, labelling it as a “tribal party” whose leaders are “obsessed” with bodyguards rather than service delivery.
Malema was speaking at the red berets’ party forum in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend.
The IFP’s national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa on Monday issued a statement saying they had been inundated with media enquiries to react to Malema’s “utterances at a rent-a-crowd event held in Pietermaritzburg this past weekend”.
Hlengwa said as a general rule “they do not respond to madness”.
The animosity between the two parties started in January when the EFF cut ties with IFP coalitions in the province, plunging eight municipalities into disarray and affecting another six where the two parties had voted together.
However, MP and former spokesperson of the EFF, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, speaking at IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s memorial service in September appeared to suggest a coalition, saying the two would make history in 2024’s general polls.
Malema, during a wide-ranging speech on Sunday told his supporters that the IFP must be observed in municipalities where it governs, “because everywhere where it governs there is financial mismanagement and there are sexual scandals”.
“They don’t hire people based on qualification but they use tribalism and they use sexual favours – that is the policy of the IFP.
“We must make sure that the IFP does not hire lots and lots of bodyguards for themselves at the expense of our municipalities because they are so obsessed with bodyguards.”
Malema said it could be understood if an official who had been threatened had a driver and a bodyguard but “how can the mayor of a rural municipality have 14 bodyguards, the deputy mayor eight and the speaker nine?”.
He said bodyguards are hired for status, for glory and not even for power.
“So where the EFF finds itself operating with the IFP, there is something wrong there.
“We must remove the district mayor of Zululand but we must remove anything that is IFP, where we have the power, we must remove them.
“You know why we are removing them, there is nothing they can do –they used to threaten and intimidate everyone but they will never do that with the EFF,” Malema said.
“They will never coerce our votes through intimidation or threats of violence.”
In January Malema said they had cut ties with the IFP as the “EFF will no longer be a stepping stone for others to govern at its expense”.
“We want to form part of governance and we must be treated as equals in any arrangement that will be constituted,” he said.
Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said Malema’s comments were not surprising as relations between the two parties “had soured after the failed marriage”.
“Malema asked deputy mayors who are members of the EFF to relinquish their positions because of the fallout.”
Mngomezulu said the relationship between the EFF and ANC in KZN also saw both parties criticise each other although they are trying to work together.
“The DA and the IFP are working together in the Multi-Party Charter and it is in that context that the IFP is being singled out,” Mngomezulu said.