IFP hopes to gain from ANC fac­tion fight­ing

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - KAILENE PILLAY

THE ANC in Kwazulu-natal will lose votes to the IFP and the DA in na­tional elec­tions next year un­less it gets its house in or­der, an­a­lysts pre­dict.

Pro­fes­sor Bheki Mn­gomezulu, pol­i­tics lec­turer at the Uni­ver­sity of the Western Cape, said: “If the ANC de­lays in deal­ing with fac­tions, a party like the IFP would make in­roads in the prov­ince and fur­ther re­gain its strength.”

In­de­pen­dent an­a­lyst Tha­bani Khu­malo said the IFP was re­gain­ing ground lost in the 2011 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

“The IFP is con­sis­tent in re­gain­ing lost ground since 2011 and they have a strong lead­er­ship,” Khu­malo said.

The IFP in Kwazulu-natal be­lieved the fac­tion­al­ism in the gov­ern­ing ANC had opened the door for it to re­gain lost votes.

Win­ning a num­ber of by-elec­tions in the past year in the prov­ince had shown the IFP’S growth, said IFP MP Narend Singh.

“There is no doubt that the fac­tions in the ANC will ben­e­fit po­lit­i­cal par­ties and al­ready we have peo­ple talk­ing to us about mov­ing their sup­port,” he said. The IFP was on an up­ward tra­jec­tory and as much as it had been en­ter­tain­ing the talks of ANC sup­port­ers shift­ing, “the strength is in the num­ber of seats we take away from the ANC”, he said.

The IFP had al­ready won by-elec­tions in Jozini and Eshowe, and Singh said the party’s aim now was to tar­get ur­ban ar­eas.

“It is very in­ter­est­ing times for South Africa,” he said.

“Vot­ers need to look hard and clear at who they choose to sup­port. We have been a sen­si­ble op­po­si­tion and that has taken us out of the val­ley and on the rise.”

The IFP was look­ing to show vot­ers it could of­fer Kwazu­lu­na­tal a sta­ble gov­ern­ment free from cor­rup­tion, Singh said.

Like Mn­gomezulu, Khu­malo be­lieved the IFP was the only party in the South African po­lit­i­cal land­scape that was dis­play­ing signs of sta­bil­ity. Ten­sions between the pro-cyril Ramaphosa ANC fac­tion and those aligned to for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma reached boil­ing point in the Moses Mab­hida re­gion (Pi­eter­mar­itzburg) this week when men be­lieved to be the body­guards of some may­ors drew guns on party mem­bers dur­ing a con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing in How­ick. Mn­gomezulu said this was part of the fall­out of the ANC’S elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber when Ramaphosa won the post of party leader.

Any chaos in the ANC’S three big­gest re­gions, ethek­wini, Moses Mab­hida and Musa Dladla (Em­pan­geni/ Richards Bay), would cost the ANC in the elec­tions, said Mn­gomezulu.

“And I don’t think this will go away any time soon,” said Mn­gomezulu.

The ANC was in a race against time to re­group and start cam­paign­ing as a unit rather than be­ing cen­tred on cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als, he said.

The DA was likely to ben­e­fit but not as sig­nif­i­cantly as the IFP from the rum­blings in the ANC, he said.

Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by

Lungani Zungu

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