The party’s spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, was emphatic that all their conferences would proceed, and refused to entertain the dissenting voices that grew louder after the party’s KZN elective conference in Ulundi on Saturday.
The upcoming conferences are for the IFP Youth Brigade, billed for July 13-14, the Women’s Brigade, on July 27 and 28, and the main national elective conference, scheduled for August 23-25.
According to several sources from the Zululand and uMgungundlovu districts, branches of the party are feeling undermined by the decision of the party’s president, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, to “impose his people”.
One source said the party may even postpone the conferences if Buthelezi was not assured that his preferred successor, Velenkosini Hlabisa, would win, or if he was challenged.
The party member who attended the controversial weekend conference where the mayor of Nkandla, Thami Ntuli, was elected as provincial chairperson after Buthelezi nominated him, was giving a sign of what could happen if the long-time leader was not assured that “his preferred people” would win.
Ntuli surprisingly beat Mbangiseni Yengwa, the former district mayor of Mzinyathi, and his victory was attributed to Buthelezi’s last-minute public endorsement while delivering his conference opening speech.
Hlengwa did not respond to allegations that there were divisions in the party and that Ntuli was elected because of a “threatening directive” by Buthelezi.
“So as far as we are concerned the complaint is nothing but a rumour and if it is true, it would be a baseless and irregular one,” Hlengwa said.