The Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) student wing has turned to the charm of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi's brand to win support as it tries to revive its political fortunes in lucrative campus politics.
That was evident on Wednesday in Umlazi, where the South African Students' Movement (Sadesmo), which is aligned with the IFP, held a siyanqoba rally ahead of voting for the new Student Representative Council (SRC) on Thursday.
NEWS: Canvassing for SADESMO, the chairperson of the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal, Thami Ntuli, says the student wing should win Thursday's elections in honour of the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Buthelezi is the founder of Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi, Durban. pic.twitter.com/V96qisE2vG— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 4, 2023
For the longest time, Sadesmo has been relegated to oblivion even in its former strongholds like the University of Zululand (Ongoye) in Empangeni and Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) in Umlazi south of Durban.
The space has been largely dominated by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command. That was after it pushed the African National Congress (ANC)-aligned Sasco out of power, as most students accused it of not fighting hard enough for their welfare.
But in a bid to revive itself and claim its space, the IFP-aligned movement made a plea to the students of MUT to vote for it in honour of Buthelezi, who founded the university in the 1970s.
WATCH: SADESMO rally at Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi, Durban. The rally will be addressed by Thami Ntuli, the chairperson of the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal. pic.twitter.com/PT8YFx4S2H— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 4, 2023
Lining up before students at the rally, the candidates of Sadesmo made pledges that should they be elected to power, they would fight for students' welfare.
On top of their agenda is the issue of the controversial direct payment system by NSFAS, which has seen some students not making their payments on time and in full, leading to them being overcharged by banking institutions.
The student wing even bolstered its fortunes by bringing heavyweights from the youth brigade like Sanele Zondo, the national chairperson, and the chairperson of the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal, Thami Ntuli.
Zondo assured the learners that their challenges with NSFAS are being addressed in parliament and a solution is on the way.
PICS: The chairperson of the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal, Thami Ntuli, has arrived at Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi (Durban) to address the siyanqoba rally of SADESMO, his party's student wing. The university's elections will take place tomorrow (Thursday). pic.twitter.com/VWOFifm1kY— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 4, 2023
Zondo added that the campus elections are a dry run for next year’s crucial elections and pleaded with students to play their part by removing the ANC-aligned Sasco on campus.
“We will also play our part as the youth next year and remove the ANC. Remember that 2024 is our 1994.
“In 1994, we removed the apartheid government, and in 2024, we will remove the party behind the oppression of black people by other black people,” Zondo said.
Delivering the main address, Ntuli said these elections will prove "how mature" students are by first removing Sasco from campuses.
He added that in memory of Buthelezi, who died on September 9 at age 95, the university's students should vote for Sadesmo.
“This year you need to vote in honour of the vast contribution of the Prince of KwaPhindangene (Buthelezi), the founder of MUT, Buthelezi the Struggle icon, who worked tirelessly to liberate the people of this country from the yoke of apartheid.
"He founded this institution with you in mind,” Ntuli pleaded.
The results of the elections are expected in the early hours of Friday.