The party was reacting to Malema’s claim that the IFP would die when Buthelezi was no longer its leader.
IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said during a media briefing in Durban on Monday that Malema should leave Buthelezi alone.
Addressing his followers outside the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court, northern KwaZulu-Natal, Malema said: “The IFP leader is going into retirement and the IFP is going with him.”
Malema appeared in court on charges of inciting his followers to invade vacant land and occupy it. After his court appearance, Malema took the opportunity to campaign for his party.
Hlengwa said Malema was “playing the man and not the ball”. He said Malema should not talk about the affairs of the IFP, since he had never been a member of the party.
“Prince Buthelezi has successfully groomed a crop of leadership to ensure a smooth transition, which he had been spearheading from 2012, and it would materialise in the collective interest of the IFP,” Hlengwa said.
He said Buthelezi’s legacy was speaking for itself, and it would never die with him.
Hlengwa said the IFP would not take Malema seriously because he had a questionable personality.
“Mr Malema was at some point prepared to kill or die for Mr Zuma (former president Jacob Zuma).
“I am not sure whether he would come back a few years later to apologise and retract that kind of assertion that he makes about Prince Buthelezi and the IFP,” said.