IFP to probe allegations of rented crowd during Limpopo rally

IFP leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi ,during the IFP rally in Polokwane ahed of May 8th National and Provincial elections on Saturday 13 , Limpopo.
IFP leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi ,during the IFP rally in Polokwane ahed of May 8th National and Provincial elections on Saturday 13 , Limpopo.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) would investigate allegations that people were bribed with T-shirts to impersonate members of the party during its election rally in Limpopo, it said on Sunday.

This follows an incident in which the IFP had to resort to a rented crowd to look good in numbers in Polokwane on Saturday. Attended by a handful of people wearing white T-shirts showing the face of party leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the rally went ahead without glitches. However, some who wore the T-shirts said they were not party members.

IFP national chairperson Blessed Gwala said: “I'm going to investigate the allegations that those people who came to our rally and wore our T-shirts were not our members,” Gwala said on Sunday. “I need to know from chairpersons of our various branches in Limpopo as to why they allowed people to board the buses while they are not members. It is wrong for them to transport non-members."

Ntsieni Mugwedi was one of the people bused in from Nzhelele outside Makhado. He said he was approached by people known to him and asked to accompany them to the rally. “I'm not a member of the IFP. I was only asked to wear the T-shirt when accompanying people to the election rally,” said Mugwedi.

Thabo Matjokotja said he was passing by the Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane on Saturday when he was given the T-shirt to wear. “I took the T-shirt but I won't wear it. Actually, I'm going to give it to a friend of mine who washes cars for a living," said Matjokotja.

However Daniel Tlou, the party's provincial coordinator, maintained: “Those people who were wearing IFP T-shirts at the rally are members of the party. They are lying when they say they are not our members.

Speaking during the rally, Buthelezi said the IFP would prioritise fighting corruption if it won the elections in Limpopo. “There is corruption that needs to be rooted out in Limpopo,” Buthelezi said, citing the lack of clean drinking water and the VBS scandal.

“South Africa deserves more than just crisis management. I urge the people of Limpopo to work with the IFP to ensure that we run a corrupt-free province.”

frankm@sowetan.co.za

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