Mangosuthu Buthelezi 'in breach of constitution', claim disgruntled IFP members
Disgruntled IFP members have lodged an official complaint with the party's top leadership and are asking for a rerun of the KwaZulu-Natal elective conference, which took place on Saturday night.
Members from eNkululekweni, under the Amajuba constituency in Newcastle, have accused party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi of being in breach of the IFP constitution by using his speech to influence delegates to vote for his preferred candidate.
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The letter, seen by TimesLIVE, says: "During an elective conference of any structure no one is allowed to practise lobbying for any candidate who will participate but it was clear before the house that Ndabezitha [Buthelezi] was lobbying for Cde Thami Ntuli as he said he wished that Ntuli be elected as the provincial chairperson.
"His excellency [Buthelezi] made it clear that if delegates don't vote for Ntuli it will be ... like those who betrayed Jesus Christ on the last days."
Other alleged constitutional violations contained in the letter, which aggrieved members said discredited the elective conference, included voting by observers.
"Observers and delegates were mixed ... inside the venue ... which led to some observers voting because the house was disorganised."
The letter also stated that members of branches which did not appear on the registration forms were allowed to vote and that party guidelines on the composition of voting delegates were violated.
"During the registration process delegates were registered without any proper verification ..."
The aggrieved members said they raised their concerns before the elective process, but nothing was done to correct the situation.
They warned that if their concerns were not addressed urgently, the party's credibility would be at risk at future conferences.
They pleaded with party leaders to address the matter "very soon and come up with a rerun date of the next provincial elective conference".
IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the party’s leadership had not received a complaint or letter of complaint about the conference.
The Sunday Times reported last week that the plan to install Ntuli was a compromise reached by top party leaders to appease a faction threatening to contest Velenkosini Hlabisa at the national elective conference next month.
UPDATE: The IFP has subsequently confirmed that no such letter was received by the party's NEC. The party said there was no discussion on the table about a rerun of the provincial conference and that it was satisfied with the outcome.
• This article was updated on July 4 2019.