IFP moves party president Velenkosini Hlabisa to Parliament to replace Mangosuthu Buthelezi

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 16, 2023

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The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has resolved to move its president, Velenkosini Hlabisa, to the National Assembly (Parliament), to replace the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who died last month aged 95.

The decision was taken on Monday during the party’s national executive committee meeting.

Hlabisa's seat in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, where he was serving, will be taken by Reverend Musa Zondi, who was appointed to the party’s national council last week.

Zondi is the former secretary-general of the party, and at some point, he was tipped to succeed the late Buthelezi as party leader.

However, Zondi will not be leading the party in the provincial legislature, as the party decided to promote Blessed Gwala to lead it.

Gwala is the national chairperson of the IFP, and he was serving as the party’s chief whip in the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg.

Thembeni kaMadlopha-Mthethwa was promoted to take Gwala’s position.

“These appointments are effective immediately, and the IEC and the National Assembly of Parliament will facilitate the necessary administrative processes with the Party.

“The NEC has taken these decisions consistent with the party’s smooth leadership transition and believes that these changes will take forward the legacy and life’s work of Prince Buthelezi, entrench party unity, and consolidate the IFP’s onward march to the 2024 national and provincial elections.

“The IFP reiterates its confidence in president Hlabisa and wishes him well in his responsibilities as the IFP parliamentary leader,” the IFP said in a statement on Monday.

While it was widely expected that Hlabisa’s position in the legislature would be taken by Thami Ntuli, the provincial chairperson of the IFP, that did not happen.

Ntuli, who is believed to be running to be the IFP’s premier candidate ahead of next year’s election, will remain as the mayor of the King Cethswayo District Municipality.

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