THE decision by the IFP national council to postpone the annual general meeting by one month has been described as an attempt by senior leaders to "cling on to power".
The council met at Nkonjeni in Mahlabathini, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday.
The general meeting was scheduled for 23 to 26 April but will now take place from the 28th to 30 of May.
"The NC deliberated on the report by the national organiser on the state of preparedness of branches for the 2010 annual general conference and noted that more than 200 party branches are ready for inauguration but failed to meet the deadline for inauguration on 31 January 2010 in order to enable delegates from these branches to attend the annual general conference.
"The IFP national council resolved to extend the deadline for inauguration of branches until February 28; to postpone the dates for constituency, district and provincial conferences by one month; and to postpone the annual general conference by one month until May 28-30 2010," IFP general secretary Musa Zondi said in a statement.
But Friends of VZ Magwaza-Msibi chairperson Thokozani Zulu said they were not surprised by the announcement.
"We were expecting it. It's one of their oldest tricks because they now realise that their attempts are failing, but we view this postponement as a serious violation of the party's constitution.
"I must say, however, that we expect more dirty tricks," he said.
Zulu said the IFP was in a leadership crisis.
"Our party is in leadership crisis, which is why we want change. It cannot continue in this way," he said.
Zulu said the statement that the branches were not ready was a lie.
"It's just a political statement and yet another strategy to trick members because we at branch level know that we are ready," Zulu said. If the branches had their way, we could even hold the conference tomorrow.
"When the last conference was postponed, the same reasons were given. This tells you that something is not right there."