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IFP denies it made difficult demands to work with ANC in hung municipalities

Narend Singh during a press conference at the IFP head office in Durban. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Narend Singh during a press conference at the IFP head office in Durban. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 22, 2021

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DURBAN - ANC mayors in KwaZulu-Natal were expected to be elected on Monday after the IFP agreed to work with the party without conditions.

IFP national treasurer and a member of the party’s negotiating team, Narend Singh, told the Daily News on Sunday there was no truth in the widely reported rumours that the party had made difficult demands before it could help the ANC in the hung municipalities.

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After the IFP announced it would work with the ANC last week, rumours spread that the party president emeritus inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi had cornered President Cyril Ramaphosa into acceding to his demands when they met last week.

The IFP reportedly demanded that the ANC government in the province recognise Prince Misuzulu as a king and also change its Zululand region named after the party stalwart Mzala Nxumalo who was Buthelezi’s fierce critic.

It was also rumoured the IFP demanded that Mangosuthu Highway in uMlazi not be renamed after the late ANC struggle hero and lawyer Griffiths Mxenge, but Singh denied his party made these demands, adding that “rumours would always remain rumours”.

“This is absolute nonsense. Our position is clear and our party wants stability in the province so the only agreement we have with the ANC is we will not contest each other,” said Singh.

He added that the IFP would not present mayoral candidates in eThekwini when the city holds its inaugural council meeting to elect new leadership. Both Buthelezi and the ANC issued statements denying that Buthelezi made these demands during their meeting with Ramaphosa.

Buthelezi said although they discussed the changing of Mzala Nxumalo’s name and the issue of the Zulu king succession problem, these were not attached to the coalition as conditions.

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He said he could not do so since he was not part of the coalition negotiating team. The ANC also said Ramaphosa could not have discussed that because he was also not part of the negotiating team.

Despite these denials, IFP sources agreed that these were the party’s conditions. The ANC confirmed that the IFP had made these demands. ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the party could not recognise prince Misuzulu while the matter was still before the court.

On Mzala Nxumalo and Mangosuthu highway names, the ANC apparently agreed to consider changing names but said it would have to be processed by both the eThekwini Municipality council and the regional conference.

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There was uproar from the IFP, especially party supporters in its stronghold in 17 men’s hostels in uMlazi, when the city renamed the highway after Mxenge 10 years ago. The city ended up only gazetting the new name, but never removed Buthelezi’s name from street poles.

Nxumalo, who was a prominent party leader in the province, authored a book, Gatsha Buthelezi: Chief with a double agenda, which angered Buthelezi who went to court to prevent it from being published.

The ANC was expected to announce mayors last night after its national executive committee meeting in Tshwane.

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With the IFP’s help, the ANC would retain more municipalities than it would have lost. This includes strategic municipalities such as uMhlathuze (Richards Bay), Newcastle, Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) and eThekwini.

Daily News

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