Durban - IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has made a u-turn about retiring from politics saying that as a leader of the party he has to go back to Parliament.
Buthelezi voted at Buthelezi Tribal Court near his homestead in Nkonjeni village outside Ulundi, Zululand, about 11am.
When asked during a press briefing about his political future plans after the elections, Buthelezi said: “Of course I am going to Parliament” without elaborating.
He told his supporters that his party, which he formed in 1975, might collapse if he abandoned it.
“As long as I am still alive I will not leave my party I will assist the leadership that will be elected.
“I cannot allow something I formed to collapse,” he said.
When asked why he cannot allow a young person to lead, he said he had wanted to relinquish the position for years.
“But because other people bribed our national chairman kaMagwaza-Msibi and she broke away. When my party was in dire straits I could not. I could not leave my house burning and run away like a coward.
“Even this time I spoke to the national council, and I told them that I’m no longer standing for this election, and all of them unanimously added me (on the list),” he said.
He said he refused o bow to pressure from the council, which referred the matter to party branches.
“So all the structures were represented in Durban and they all unanimously backed up what the national council had said and said ‘please’ I should do so,” said Buthelezi.
After voting at Mangqwashu Primary School of his home village of Mandlakazi in Nongoma, Mncwango said this party in KwaZulu-Natal would negotiate with any political party except the ANC. Buthelezi said his party was also opened to negotiations, but not with a party that had socialist ideologies. He said coalitions were part of democracy.
“After what I have seen with my own eyes I am not interested in a party which still talks about socialism,” he said, but declined to mention parties.
He also accused the ANC of rigging votes. In a statement that he read for the media, he said he had been informed that the ruling party had taxis to transport foreign nationals to Zululand to bolster votes.
“It is difficult to see this as a wild allegation when they did a similar thing in Nquthu (northern KwaZulu-Natal) recently during by-elections.
“In that case, they filled buses with people from Durban to vote in Nquthu, in a desperate attempt to beat the IFP. That attempt at electoral fraud was exposed and prevented,” he said.
Reacting to Buthelezi’s allegations, ANC PML in KwaZulu-Natal Nontembeko Boyce accused the IFP of also busing voters.
“During by-elections in Vryheid and Nongoma we have caught IFP trying to bus in people from various wards taking people from Mondlo to vote where they do not belong.
“You remember the Jozini in Umkhanyakude where IFP lost a case after the elections because it was proven that they bus people,” she said.