'IFP will be king makers'
AFTER years of electoral decline, the IFP in Gauteng is now positioning itself to become kingmaker in the 2014 national polls.
IFP caucus leader in the Gauteng legislature, Bonginkosi Dhlamini, told Sowetan yesterday he was convinced a coalition would rule the province after the elections. He added that the IFP would be part of that coalition.
"Gauteng is going to be a battlefield in 2014. The DA wants to take over while the ANC wants to retain the province. We want to position ourselves as kingmakers because we honestly don't foresee a situation where any party will register a 51percent majority," said Dhlamini.
Africa's economic hub is set to play host to a titanic struggle between the ruling ANC and the DA, which could lead to either party being unable to register a clear majority.
The DA has set its sights firmly on winning the province, targeting black townships, but Dhlamini admitted he was under no illusion the IFP would win the province.
"It would be impractical for us to say we want to win Gauteng (in 2014). Preliminary research shows we will register modest growth, which would allow us at least five percent of the vote," he said.
Dhlamini admitted that the IFP faced "serious challenges", chief among these perceptions that it was a "male Zulu party" and the "spectre of long-term leader Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi".
"The biggest challenge for the IFP is to close the gap between the party and its leader.
"Research shows that the remaining voters are his (Buthelezi) and not necessarily those of the party. We have to change that but I must say that the situation is not of his making," said Dhlamini.
Dhlamini said the IFP in Gauteng was attempting to forge a slightly different image to that of the mother body. It would do so by being relevant, visible and focusing on the "appalling" conditions in the province's hostels. - firstname.lastname@example.org