Durban - The longtime leader of the IFP, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who has led the party since its inception in 1975, says he is ready to hand over power to his successor.
His successor is expected to be elected at the party’s national conference of the party billed for 23 to 25 August.
In a speech signalling that he has accepted that age is not on his side anymore, Buthelezi told the party’s Youth Brigade elective conference in Ulundi on Saturday that “I am conscious of the fact that there are very few opportunities left for me to address the next generation of leaders in a venue like this.”
He then indicated to the hundreds of delegates that he was ready to hand over power, much against speculation that he is not willing to hand it over to Velenkosini Hlabisa, the designated successor who is however, facing internal opposition.
“I am ready to hand the reigns of this party to the next president. It is not hard to watch this generation moving our party forward. But it is exceptionally difficult to accept the idea that I won’t get to see the next chapter, or the next, or the next for the IFP. Because I believe this party is on an upward trajectory,” Buthelezi said.
Turning his attention to the country’s politics, Buthelezi said his party has always called for social and economic justice and that was their clarion call throughout the campaign for the May general elections.
“It is, undeniably, time for justice in South Africa. The Fees Must Fall campaign was a cry for justice. The land expropriation debate is a cry for justice. The service delivery protests that are springing up across our country are a cry for justice. Even the rhetoric against “white monopoly capital” is a cry for justice."
He added that the space is wide open in the country's political landscape for anyone who claims to be able to secure justice and warned that this presents both an opportunity for positive action, and a terrible threat of destruction.
"Thus it is vitally important for this generation, specifically, to know the truth, to understand the way nations and economies work, and to be able to persuade the conversation back towards democratic ideals,” he said.
The new leadership to be elected to lead the youth brigade is expected to be officially announced on Sunday.