/ 13 May 2005

‘Pack of lies,’ says IFP’s Jiyane

National chairperson of the Inkatha Freedom Party Ziba Jiyane has lashed out at party members who are ”fighting to undermine” him, and has branded the IFP youth brigade’s recent attack on him as ”a pack of lies”.

”At the annual general conference last year there was a clear democratic expression of the will of the people [when I was elected to replace Lionel Mtshali]. Those who lost have not stopped fighting,” he said.

This is the latest salvo in an acrimonious leadership tussle plaguing the party.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week that the leader of the IFP Youth Brigade, Thulasizwe Buthelezi, had launched a vitriolic attack on Jiyane for ”using the youth with the covert aim” of ousting IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The youth leader said that ”there is a battle for the soul of the IFP raging in party ranks” and accused Jiyane of using the youth to further his political endgame.

Thulasizwe Buthelezi also said he was angry that Jiyane had not obtained permission from the youth brigade’s national leadership to address youth rallies in Mtubatuba and KwaDukuza.

”I would like to say that what [Thulasizwe] Buthelezi said was a pack of lies,” said Jiyane this week. ”To say that the youth are inviting me against his wishes [to address their rallies] demonstrates how unpopular he is. For that he must not accuse me, he must look at himself.”

Jiyane said the youth leader’s unpopularity was shown by a series of resignations this year from the youth brigade’s national executive committee (NEC), which had dwindled from nine to five members.

One member, brigade treasurer Xolani Mbutho, resigned two months ago to enter business. Nketu Matima, a member of the NEC, defected to the African National Congress earlier this year.

In October last year, on the eve of the party’s youth conference, Mangosuthu Buthelezi suspended Lucky Mthethwa, the brigade’s national secretary, and Sibusisi Msweli, a member of the brigade’s NEC, after they challenged the party’s constitution by demanding that the brigade’s chairperson be democratically elected instead of appointed by the party’s president.

”If Thulasizwe Buthelezi has problems with me he must go to the annual general conference and call for a vote of no confidence,” said Jiyane. ”I think that the young people will deal with him. I am not going to deal with him because I was elected by the people. He was not elected, and I won’t respond to an appointee.”

The youth brigade’s annual general conference, at which a new NEC will be appointed, is scheduled for May 28.

Meanwhile, IFP stalwart Ben Ngubane told the M&G this week that he had resigned from the party ”to pursue his diplomatic responsibilities”. He is currently serving as the South African ambassador to Japan. He would not be drawn on the spat within the IFP.