IFP tightens security
"As of today new membership cards will be issued, with enhanced security features"
INKATHA Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has announced that all party members will have to renew their membership by re-registering and that a date for the party's annual general meeting and election will only be announced when that process has been finalised.
The IFP conference has been postponed more than four times, leading to certain members accusing Buthelezi of delaying tactics so he can continue to cling to power.
"The truth is the IFP is committed to holding a conference as soon as possible," Buthelezi said. "But we know that bogus branches are still being created so that bad faith delegates can be sent to the conference with a mandate to disrupt and sabotage elections.
"Some members of the NFP who defected from the IFP still have IFP membership books. They are using these books to sign up bad faith members, to create bogus branches. Clearly, if we want a successful conference and a credible election, we will need to deal with this problem."
He said the party's senior leadership had decided that all members had to re-register so as to minimise confusion and make sure that only people wo are loyal to the party participated in its affairs.
"The national council has considered the options and resolved that all members of the IFP will need to rejoin the party.
"As of today new membership cards will be issued, with enhanced security features. This is an extraordinary step by the party, but it is the best way to ensure that those who come to conference are legitimate, good faith members of the IFP," Buthelezi said.
He said he was aware that the R10 joining fee would be a hardship for many people, particularly those who had already paid their membership fees for 2012.
"Nevertheless, I ask you to consider the interests of the party. We cannot fail to counter every attack and take every precautionary measure for the sake of conference. I therefore ask you to do everything in your power to rejoin and receive the new membership card.
"The IFP had always been a membership-based organisation. When I think of the two million South Africans who voted for the IFP in 1994 and the excruciating poverty many of them endured, it becomes clear that a liberated South Africa was built not only on selfless sacrifice but on ideological conviction. People believed in freedom. It was an ideal worth sacrificing for," he said.
Buthelezi explained that as a leader he had faced many challenges because of unpopular decisions he had to take.
"I am criticised as 'clinging to power', though I have twice announced to the IFP's annual general conference that I want to retire. Twice the delegates to conference unanimously asked me to remain, to lead the IFP as its president."