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A democratic revolution is underway in South Africa’s most populous province of KwaZulu-Natal. In recent by-elections, the IFP has won five previously safe ANC wards, and in those where it fell short, posted massive double-digit gains in its share of the vote and turned the ruling party’s majority from comfortable to marginal. The party, founded by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in 1975, is a staunch member of the anti-ANC/EFF Rainbow Coalition. It governed KZN between 1994 and 2004, a project which is regarded as unfinished business. The IFP’s newfound momentum is perfectly timed ahead of the watershed 2024 Election, where the IFP expects to regain the right to govern the province – and to share power nationally. Its president Velenkosini Hlabisa, who succeeded Buthelezi in August 2019, explains how the recent surge is part of a long-term plan embarked upon almost ten years ago. He spoke to Alec Hogg of BizNews.___STEADY_PAYWALL___
Interview topic timestamps below:
- 00:07 – Velenkosini Hlabisa on the incredible results the IFP have been achieving in the recent by-elections
- 04:15 – Can the same results be replicated in the rest of KZN and other parts of the country
- 08:17 – The IFP’s plans for 2024
- 11:32 – The potential of an ANC/EFF coalition and whether this will cause a secession of the KZN province
- 15:55 – Velenkosini’s Hlabisa’s background and values
- 20:13 – The IFP’s aim for a percentage of the vote come 2024
- 22:02 – How the IFP is encouraging non-voters to register and vote
- 25:01 – On the EFF’s planned national shutdown and what is likely to happen in KZN on the day
- 29:03 – End
Excerpts from the interview below:
On the IFP’s plans for 2024
We are looking forward to the removal of the ANC, by a coalition government at the national government level next year. In 2021, we were not prepared for a coalition government, we only found ourselves in a coalition government when the results were announced. That is why you see some coalition governments being unstable, especially in Gauteng. Fortunately, the IFP has been experiencing stability up to now, with the exception of one or two municipalities where we have a coalition.
We are preparing for a coalition next year. Last year, in November I was part of a delegation of eight political parties in South Africa that went to Denmark. Denmark has almost 100 years of coalition experience. We learned the good practices of a coalition that makes a coalition work and what makes a coalition government finish its term without instability. We brought back those experiences.
What is happening now is a result of the ANC failures. They failed through load shedding. Crime is rife in our society. Unemployment is killing our youth, especially those who still have dreams for the future and everything is disintegrating. Inflation is growing. So now the people of South Africa have protested, have expressed themselves through elections, showing that they have had enough of the ANC. Voters want an opportunity. Surely all of our efforts are to ensure that we get more support. We went to the Free State, North West and Eastern Cape. Those are the provinces that we are working on the ground to ensure that we influence the national outcome so that we can cut the ANC below 50% so that the like-minded organisations that want to put the people of South Africa first will come together and form a coalition government.
On the potential of an ANC/EFF coalition
A coalition between the ANC and the EFF would be a national disaster. You saw what happened during the SONA, the ANC and EFF were already on a coalition course at a local government level. How can the leader of the EFF embarrass the leader of the ANC, a person whom they are in coalition with? It’s an embarrassment. A coalition between the ANC and EFF will be a recipe for national disaster in South Africa, as we see what is happening now.
We are working very hard, especially in KZN. If you look at the results in the by-election, actually the increase of the support is dramatic and amazing and we are working flat out to mobilise all people of KZN to go to the voting station and use the power in their hand to cast their ballot to remove a government that has failed and give the IFP the opportunity to continue where it ended.
I am confident we will command a bigger majority in terms of the voters. If we don’t get 50 plus 1%, we will make a coalition but the ANC will be excluded. EFF will be excluded. Will we be looking at the DA because we’re working very well with them and other smaller political parties, we have a number of them in KZN.
On the EFF’s planned national shutdown and what is likely to happen in KZN on that day
When it comes to the call by the EFF on 20 March for a national shutdown. It’s unfortunate. Our country is already on its knees. The economy has broken down. Unemployment has increased. There are people who are able to put food on the table. If they woke up and went to work to sell something or do something to get money for that particular thing. A no work, no pay principle will be applied. It will affect the salaries of all people at the end of the year. The EFF is not talking about what people do not know but what is very bad they are going to add pain to our people who will not be able to go and do something to put food on the table on that day. Who will not go to work and will be penalised at the end of the month with no work, no pay. So now, instead of penalising the ANC, the shutdown will penalise the people of South Africa.
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