The president of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Velenkosini Hlabisa said on Sunday that his party will not enter into coalitions with the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to govern the hung municipalities in the province following the local government elections on 1 November 2021.
The 18 hung municipalities in KZN include eThekwini where the ANC will have 96 seats; the Democratic Alliance (DA), 58; and the IFP, 24; as well as uMhlathuze where the ANC garnered 39.5% of the votes and will have 27 seats; the IFP, 34.6% with 23 seats; and the DA, 11.78% with eight seats.
“Where we will govern as the leading party in KwaZulu-Natal we will not enter into a coalition with the ANC,” Hlabisa said, explaining that the governing party in the province and nationally, in the past, had not been honest with the IFP and had let down South African voters and citizens.
Hlabisa further elaborated that the IFP had taken issue with utterances made by the ANC during the campaign trail, which he said the governing party needs to correct.
The IFP took issue with the ANC’s decision to rename its Abaqulusi region in the Zululand District – a district governed by the IFP – in the north of KZN to Mzala Nxumalo region and viewed this as an insult to the party’s president emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, because Nxumalo is the author of a book containing falsehoods about Buthelezi, Hlabisa said.
Hlabisa added that the ANC “flatly refused” to backtrack on the decision when it was approached by the IFP.
ANC and South African Communist Party researcher, the late Nxumalo in 1988 penned the book titled Gatsha Buthelezi: Chief with a Double Agenda, which Buthelezi has described as a “Bible of propaganda”.
Hlabisa further accused the ANC in KZN of insulting Buthelezi by mixing his roles as the prime minister of the Zulu nation and the president emeritus of the IFP by “falsely accusing” him of campaigning for his party in his efforts to resolve recent issues in the Zulu royal family.
Hlabisa also said that through the vote, the electorate in KZN had “indicated that enough is enough with the ANC”.
The ANC has held a majority in eThekwini (Durban) since the 2006 local government elections.
The IFP, Hlabisa said, is not prepared to go into coalitions with the ANC where the latter party leads in terms of the of votes garnered and it, the IFP, is ready to take the opposition benches at those municipalities.
In the hung municipalities where the IFP is in the lead, there are sufficient numbers from other parties besides the ANC to form coalitions, Hlabisa added.
The IFP is engaged in coalition talks with the ANC at national level, Hlabisa said, adding that the party is willing to enter into an agreement with the governing party for coalitions outside of KZN, including at the city of Johannesburg, where the IFP’s MMCs for housing and transport had excelled under an ANC administration.
The IFP has two non-negotiable conditions for it to enter into a coalition with other parties, which are that it will not enter into a coalition with a party that advocates for or supports racism or has racist policies, and it will not enter into such an agreement with a party clouded by controversies of corruption and mismanagement, Hlabisa said.
Hlabisa would not be drawn to provide an elaborate response to one of the non-negotiable terms, land expropriation without compensation, set out by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for them to enter into a coalition with any party.
EFF Has Formed A Coalition Negotiations Team And Coalition Framework Of Principles pic.twitter.com/1rcQ9IF9US
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 5, 2021
However, Hlabisa pointed out that some issues may be a mandate of national government.
The EFF has said that it is willing to enter into coalitions with the IFP in KZN.
Hlabisa said the IFP does not classify the DA as a racist party and will engage it in coalition talks.
Desperation to get into government and stay there can sometimes lead to bad coalitions. The DA is prepared to speak to everybody, but not to act out of desperation.
All coalition partners will have to sign this agreement which very clearly sets out non-negotiable principles. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/PV8szMC7Eh
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) November 5, 2021
The IFP’s team to engage other parties on coalition talks will be led by its head of elections campaign Narend Singh, an MP who led difficult coalition talks in 2016, Hlabisa said.
Singh’s team will include the IFP’s KZN chair Thami Ntuli, party spokesperson, MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa, and the party’s member of the KZN legislature Bonginkosi Dlamini.
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