IFP YOUTH call for 'new blood'

Canaan Mdletshe and Luzuko Pongoma

Canaan Mdletshe and Luzuko Pongoma

The IFP Youth Brigade in Gauteng has rejected Mangosuthu Buthelezi as the leader to take the party forward. They have called on him to step down and not stand for re-election in July.

The defiant IFP Youth Brigade in KwaZulu-Natal has also challenged their party's top brass to "change" the party's leadership.

In a meeting held in the Johannesburg CBD yesterday, the brigade called for Buthelezi not to stand in July or "face their wrath".

Publicity officer for the City of Johannesburg Felicity Bafo said the youth made up the majority of IFP members and said that they should occupy high positions.

"We also want a youth president and we want the party to stop focusing on KwaZulu-Natal only," she said.

Bafo said they wanted every province to be represented in the national executive committee of the party.

The brigade held meetings with the party's provincial executive council in Durban on Friday and Saturday, where they called for the IFP's constitution to be amended to permit them to function as a separate wing of the party.

Skhumbuzo Khanyeza, the brigade's provincial chairperson, said the delegates passed "serious" resolutions that they hoped would bring about change.

He said the IFP failed dismally in last month's elections and that there were many reasons for this - but said that the postponement of the youth elective conference last year had contributed to the party's poor performance.

"We, like all party members, are hurt by the way we were humiliated during last month's elections and feel it's high time for change. We want change not only at the top leadership level, but also in all party structures," he said.

Khanyeza said the brigade had notified general secretary Musa Zondi of the resolutions and said Zondi would make a submission at an elective conference in July.

"We want him to include the fact that we want the youth brigade to be separated from the office of the president.

"We also want the Constitution to be amended so that it can accommodate our vision of having the structures reshaped, like the issue of deputies in all key positions, from the president downwards."

He said that Buthelezi had done well but it was time for him and other senior members to retire.

The IFP has denied that its youth were calling for a change in leadership.

Zondi said he still had not received the youth structure's demands and was completely "blank" regarding their grievances.

But provincial secretary Bonginkosi Buthelezi acknowledged that the youth brigade had held its provincial executive meeting on Friday, followed by a provincial council meeting on Saturday.

"I am not aware of resolutions taken but assume that our youth will follow the proper channels in addressing whatever grievances they have.

"They know they have to address their proposals to the constitution review committee, headed by Zondi."

The committee would then include their proposals in the conference agenda, Buthelezi said.