Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi field questions at a joint press conference in Durban, Monday, 20 January 2014. Malema on Monday apologised to Buthelezi for remarks he made while he was with the ANC Youth League. Picture Giordano Stolley/SAPA

Durban - The “reconciliation” between Julius Malema and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was a strategic move for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and an act of “desperation” for the IFP.

So said National Freedom Party (NFP) president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi who described the burying of the hatchet by the leaders of the two parties as a “marriage of convenience”.

She was speaking to NFP leaders during the party’s election campaign launch in Durban on Friday.

“When you see the leader of the EFF, Mr Malema and Prince Buthelezi, the leader of the IFP, publicly hugging each other in reconciliation, you must know that is the marriage of convenience.

“This marriage smacks of desperation on the part of the IFP. But indeed desperate times call for desperate measures,” KaMagwaza-Msibi said.

She said: “I think Malema is very strategic” to find a way to campaign for votes at Buthelezi’s home, in eMahlabathini.

Last week, Malema and Buthelezi agreed to protect each other’s supporters during campaigning for this year’s national and provincial elections.

“Patting each other at the conference like best friends and no one ever thought that would happen,” KaMagwaza-Msibi, a former IFP leader, said.

She claimed she had received calls from IFP members who were “not happy” with the IFP and EFF joint conference.

“We must be ready… to approach those who are not happy with this arrangement and take them into our fold.”

Although Buthelezi expressed his surprise at Malema’s apology, he denied any merger with the EFF in a statement last week after their joint conference.

KaMagwaza-Msibi said the NFP would be targeting women and young people during its campaign. “We want to take over KwaZulu-Natal and if we fail we want to be the official opposition,” she said.

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