Durban - The IFP has embarked on a campaign to identify party members who have dumped party regalia bearing the face of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, its founder, and wearing others.
In a circular to leaders at various structures on Thursday, the party said the list should be submitted to the office of its secretary-general, Siphosethu Ngcobo, by May 6.
BREAKING NEWS: The IFP has embarked on a campaign to root out party members who are not wearing regalia with the face of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. It is believed that this was sparked by one senior leader (name known) who replaced Buthelezi's face with his own face. @IOL pic.twitter.com/G9GaiczFB1— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) May 4, 2023
“You are with this requested to submit the list and details of members/persons within your District who are known (either thorough social media or verifiable physical observation) to have worn or are currently wearing the regalia with the IFP logo that does not bear the face of the Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu, but of the sitting, Hon VF Hlabisa, in contravention with the party’s resolution,” Ngcobo wrote in the memo.
He did not say why it wanted the list.
However, IOL can reveal that this was sparked by a social media post by one of the party’s national leaders where he was wearing a T-shirt without Buthelezi’s face.
The matter was heavily debated over the weekend in Ulundi where there was a national executive committee meeting and there was even a suggestion to suspend the leader.
UPDATE: This is the T-shirt that set the cat amongst the pigeons within the ranks of the IFP. The party is now hunting for members who have been spotted wearing it. IOL understand that the matter was debated (it was heated) over the weekend pic.twitter.com/muKwYNtiHp— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) May 4, 2023
The proposal fell through when it could not muster enough support and when others argued that it was a factional move.
Following an uproar after the memo was leaked, Ngcobo said it was meant to reinforce brand discipline.
“I have taken note of malicious attacks on the IFP and its founder and president emeritus on the basis of an internal memorandum, which I circulated to all our structures today.
“While it is not my habit to discuss internal party matters in the public arena, I must provide context to the memorandum, as it is now being grossly misrepresented.
NEWS: The Secretary-General of the IFP, Siphosethu Ngcobo, says by demanding that party members only wear T-shirts with the face of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, they are enforcing “brand discipline.” Ngcobo says no one can deny that “Buthelezi is the IFP’s strongest brand.” @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) May 4, 2023
“The IFP, like all political parties, is gearing up for 2024 and we have had internal discussions about brand discipline.
“Nobody will deny that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is the IFP’s strongest brand.
“It is due to his legacy and commitment to moral and ethical leadership that the IFP continues to grow, from by-election to by-election.
“The IFP’s National Council - the party’s highest decision-making body - has therefore resolved to reaffirm our party resolution taken in 2019 and 2021, to continue using our founder’s face as our brand.
“My correspondence to our structures sought to reinforce this.
“It is therefore mischievous to suggest that this is some sort of decision that involves our founder and president emeritus. He has not been part of our discussions on the matter,” Ngcobo said in a statement.