IFP to include ANC succession debate in talks

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The ANC's succession debate will be high on the Inkatha Freedom Party's agenda when it holds its annual general conference this weekend.

Musa Zondi, IFP secretary-general, said yesterday the party felt that whatever happened with the ANC affected the entire country.

"This might be the issue of the ANC as a party, but we must remember that the ANC is the ruling party, so whatever happens affects us all as citizens.

"Like last year, our president, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, warned about the suggestions making the rounds then that ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma was targeted because he was a Zulu. We will discuss it again this year and make our feelings known," he said.

He said the KwaZulu-Natal leadership would also report on how far they had gone in gearing up for the 2009 elections.

He also rejected reports that certain sections of the party, especially the youth brigade, were calling for the amendment of the party's constitution to accommodate the position of the deputy presidency, and that there were senior leaders who wanted to oust Buthelezi as the president.

He said this was not going to happen. "If someone wants the party to amend its constitution, they must make a written proposal to the NEC a month before the conference," he said.

Meanwhile, former KwaZulu-Natal premier and the longest-serving IFP member, Frank Mdlalose, said the issue of someone taking over from Buthelezi should not "be entertained". Mdlalose has since joined Nadeco

He said this could only happen when Buthelezi wants it to.

"It would take 100 years for the party to have another leader. Buthelezi is the IFP, and I can bet he would remain the president until Jesus returns.

"If he decides to retire, he would appoint and bless the new person. It is not up to the members. He would appoint his successor."

One of the key aspects to be tabled for discussion at the conference in Ulundi's Mandleni-Matleng camp would be the IFP's readiness to win back the province of the Zulu kingdom.