Ahead of the local government elections that will come up in 2021, the Inkatha Freedom Party has its sights on it and plans to build on the growth of the last national elections. The newly elected leader of the party Velenkosini Hlabisa took advantage of his maiden speech to stamp his authority against unruly behaviour that might divide the party and widen disunity ahead of coming elections.

While addressing about 4000-strong party delegates at the national conference held in Ulundi, Zululand, Hlabisa said “Comrades, any slogan that is divisive will not build the IFP. There are songs which are divisive in nature. Any song you sing but you know is divisive… it will never build the IFP. ” He also told them he party had to be unified before the local government elections in two years’ time and the 2024 general elections. Under his leadership, he said, the party would position itself as the voice of social cohesion and national unity.

In a bid to promote the IFP nationally, the new leader said he would traverse the country, visiting cities, townships and villages “to hear the forgotten voices and to unearth the wealth of wisdom of our people. “Our people know what needs to be done; we are just unfortunate to be governed by those that do not listen.”

Hlabisa admonished his party members to embrace the spirit of unity and solidarity “that was demonstrated in this conference.” He said “Let us take this spirit and run with it. Anyone who raises a slogan or a song that turns to divide us, let us stop that person immediately.”

Siphosethu Ngcobo, the newly elected general secretary of the party also called on the party structures to prepare themselves to win elections.