By Tiyani Solly Mabunda
Historic day for the IFP’s political landscape. Veteran politician, Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi hands over the baton as party President.
The 90-year-old has been head of the IFP for 44 years. His party has seen the rise and fall of Apartheid’s Bantustans government. Over the weekend, a new leader, Velenkosi Hlabisa was elected unopposed during party Congress in Ulundi.
Hlabisa has been member from his early days of life at 13. A teacher by profession and has been serving the party in many capacities. He served as the leader of the official opposition in the KZN legislature and was a councillor for 24 years as well as a Mayor of KwaHlabisa.
Hlabisa has praised his mentor whose shoes he is about to fill and was not happy with Sihle Zikalala, KZN’s premier, whom he slammed for :”Showing hatred and immaturity” when he failed to acknowledge his IFP’s predecessors in an acceptance speech last month.
Hlabisa who was the IFP’s secretary general until elected has said, “This evening was the ending of an era and the beginning of a new season.”
Buthelezi reiterated the importance of upholding the democratic ideals to those who wishes to follow on his footsteps. “You must be champion of the vulnerable and speak of this everywhere you go. We need to change our society by changing the conversion. This is about democratic ideals, it’s about freedom and the right to life.” Said Buthelezi.