Velenkosini Hlabisa (left) was elected as IFP new leader during the party's ongoing 35th elective conference. These are five things you need to know about him. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Durban - Velenkosini Hlabisa was elected as Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) new leader in the early hours of Sunday during the party's ongoing 35th elective conference in Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

These are five things you need to know about him.

1. Hlabisa, 54, is a former school principal who is now the leader of the party in the KZN legislature and who has been on standby since 2017, was elected unopposed as the person to replace Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

2. He wants to bridge the divisions in the party, saying that if allowed to continue, this would irreparable damage the IFP. "You know the divisions, the damage and harm they have caused to the party," he said.

3. Hlabisa will fight any moves by Parliament to scrap the Ingonyama Trust Board based on the proposals by the presidential advisory panel on land reform and agriculture.

4. Hlabisa joined the IFP when he was just eight years old. He has been a leader in all of the party’s structures, this includes at branch level and in the youth brigade.

5. He hails from rural Hlabisa, near Mtubatuba, and is the eldest of 10 children. He helped his mother raise his younger siblings when his father passed away.

Political Bureau