'No merger between IFP and the ANC'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi insists that there will never be a "marriage" or merger between his party and the ruling ANC.

Buthelezi said the two organisations were "quite distinct animals in respect of multiparty democracy".

He was responding to remarks allegedly made by ANC president Jacob Zuma on Sunday, when he addressed the Twelve Apostles Church in Umgababa.

Zuma allegedly urged believers to pray that the "IFP and the ANC may have this love demonstrated by you . so that there may be a marriage that results from this love".

Though he shared Zuma's desire for the two parties to enjoy "a good, functioning relationship befitting our parliamentary democracy a marriage or merger was not on the agenda today, tomorrow or in the future".

"While I, of course, welcome a rapprochement between the ANC and the IFP, I wish to reiterate that history has cast our respective organisations in different roles," Buthelezi said.

"The IFP will retain its identity as an opposition and a political competitor to the ruling party. This notwithstanding the common bonds of history between the country's two largest predominately black parties."

Buthelezi said while he appreciated this new generosity of spirit, as expressed by Zuma and other ANC national leaders, he stressed that: "I think it is important to unequivocally clarify that today our organisations are quite distinct animals in respect of our multiparty democratic order.

"Moreover, the cordial relationship between the respective parties' national leaders and the normalisation of party relations, in terms of how political parties in a multiparty democracy interact with one another, has not yet filtered down to the provincial level."

Buthelezi said there was too much vilification of him and the IFP. He mentioned the eThekwini municipality's street-naming exercise and the insults hurled at him by the SA Students Congress about the Mangosuthu University of Technology.