/ 10 March 2024

Big show of IFP muscle as party launches 2024 election manifesto

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IFP president Velenkosni Hlabisa. (Photos by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Sunday pulled off a major show of strength in Durban, packing the city’s Moses Mabhida stadium for its manifesto launch for the 29 May national and provincial elections.

The party had filled the stadium, used by the Economic Freedom Fighters and the ANC for their manifesto launches, by midday, with supporters moving onto the field from the stands to avoid the sun as the afternoon went on.

Its president, Velenkosni Hlabisa, called on South Africans to vote for change in the coming poll and to give it control of  KwaZulu-Natal – which it lost to the ANC in 2004 – once more.

Hlabisa said South Africa “stands on the brink of collapse, not because of any lack of our people, but because South Africa has been subjected to poor governance, weak leadership and corruption.”

“In 2024 across the length and breadth of South Africa there is one resounding call,” Hlabisa said. ‘The call for change.”

Hlabisa said the IFP was a “government in waiting” and, iff given the chance, would once again govern in the interests of the people of South Africa.

“The IFP is no stranger to government. We seek to serve because we know, from experience, that we can better administer governance,” Hlabisa said.

“The province of KwaZulu-Natal, under an IFP-led government, saw development and prosperity. With our proven track record of service delivery and integrity, we ask you to trust us again in 2024,” he said.

While Hlabisa was elected as IFP president in 2019, its founding president, the late Mangosuthu Buthelezi, will be the face of the party’s campaign, themed #doitforShenge, going into the elections.

Buthelezi’s image will also be on the ballot paper, as the party hopes to capitalise on the wave of goodwill across communities generated by his death last year and by his legacy – and to prevent any friction among the party’s current leaders and their supporters going into the crucial election.

His son, Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi, addressed the rally ahead of Hlabisa, expressing his family’s support for the party his father founded in 1975 and led for more than four decades.

The IFP hopes to take back the province and to play a role in a national coalition government under the banner of the Multi Party Charter for South Africa and on Sunday unveiled a 13 point programme of actions it would implement if it and its allies manage to dislodge the ANC.

These included ending loadshedding through a mixed, diversified energy system and ending illegal migration while reserving jobs and access to small business for South Africans.

The party undertook to improve healthcare at local and provincial level and to boost  the welfare system while improving food support for indigent households.

The party would ensure that data costs were cut by half to address “anti-poor” pricing, while it would “put poor urban and rural communities first” by working with and supporting traditional leaders.

The party promises to roll out free basic education and commits to “reforming” National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), introducing a graduate support grant of R3 000, for a fixed period and redirecting funding from the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to pay for 12 month internships with government departments and municipalities.

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On job creation, Hlabisa said an IFP government would impose 80/20 employment targets across industries to ensure locals got jobs, while entry level and low skill sectors should be reserved for South Africans.

Likewise, only South Africans would be allowed access to the small enterprise and spaza shop market; while small and medium sized businesses should be exempt from red tape and other barriers to entry.

The IFP would support expansion of the industrial cannabis and hemp industries as a catalyst for local economic development and job creation in rural areas; along with funding for local level businesses.

The party would also enforce Competition Commission findings on South Africa’s high date prices and ensure that they were cut by 50% and would introduce a R3 000, fixed term unemployed graduate grant “to assist graduates in finding meaningful employment.”

On crime, the IFP would improve police funding, training and numbers, while creating a culture of “accountability, professionalism and ethical conduct, strengthening public trust and confidence in law enforcement”

The party in government would enforce a zero-tolerance policy towards police corruption, and fast track the prosecution of offending members, irrespective of their seniority or rank.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would be upskilled and better funded at the international norm of 2% national budget and would be deployed both on border control and internal crime combating duties.

The IFP would also construct border walls to improve security and deal with illegal immigration, while technology would be improved under a stand alone national immigration inspectorate.

Businesses employing illegal migrants would be banned from operating for a specific time period, while the permit process would be reviewed, with a six month amnesty introduced to allow people to regularise their paperwork.

On ending load shedding, the IFP undertook to at least partially privatise Eskom, saying it would be “managed through a public-private partnership”, with the electricity price for poor communities being subsidised through this.

The IFP would deregulate the fuel price, with the import industry being opened to anybody who could provide guarantees and build refineries to standards set by the state.

Coal would be retained, while gas-from-coal; solar, wind and other means would be utilised to improve the country’s generation capacity. New state building – and low cost houses – would be constructed with solar panels

The IFP would subside citizens who could not afford homes, implementing rent-to-own low cost housing schemes in partnership with the private sector using state owned land – and providing serviced sites for self-homebuilding.

The party would conduct a land ownership audit aimed at identifying state land for reallocation, while maintaining a policy of “expropriation with reasonable compensation”.

The Ingonyama Trust would remain and a similar approach of control of communal land through structures of traditional leadership would be extended to the rest of the country, under an IFP-led government.

The safety and protection of traditional leaders – currently under threat in KwaZulu-Natal in particular – would be prioritised, while they would also be empowered to play a leading role in rural development.

The IFP would also merge the agriculture, land affairs, and traditional affairs ministries into a single entity to reduce the cost at cabinet level and to streamline their functions.