Malema and Buthelezi kiss and make up

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi (left) and EFF head Julius Malema. (M&G)

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi (left) and EFF head Julius Malema. (M&G)

The EFF's Julius Malema and IFP's Mangosuthu Buthelezi have decided to let go of past grievances and protect each other's members while campaigning.

A meeting between the leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has sought to bridge serious divides from the past.

Past utterances by Julius Malema about the IFP and its leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi were also discussed, and were labelled as "unfortunate events of the past". These were "dealt with amicably" so that "an understanding was reached", a press release after the meeting on Monday said.

In the press conference, Malema said: "I apologise for unfortunate remarks that were made at the time."

The IFP said its national leadership "wholeheartedly accepted" and "acknowledged that this reflects the maturity that defines the EFF's approach to the electoral policies of South Africa".

When Malema was head of the ANC Youth League, before he was dismissed from the position and founded the EFF, he said: "There is no democracy in the IFP ... an old man who is refusing to go on retirement even when he is sick wants to die president of the IFP." 

The apology followed a two-hour meeting between the two party leaders to discuss the problems facing South Africa. "The two parties agreed that indeed millions of South Africans have not experienced the freedom that they fought for," it said. 

The press release from the two parties attacked the ANC for failing South Africans when it came to land restitution. Both parties said a new approach was urgently needed to address the problem because the willing-buyer willing-seller approach had failed.  

While the meeting was not about any type of alliance, the parties did say that although there were "fundamental differences between the two organisations", they would work to ensure that the coming elections were free and fair. Consequently, they agreed to protect each other's members while campaigning.

The release also criticised the ANC for using tribalism in KwaZulu-Natal to mobilise people, and asked that the SABC give all political parties space on the airwaves. All parties' manifesto launches must also be covered live, it said. 

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