Press Conference Following a Meeting of
The NEC of The Inkatha Freedom Party
The National Central Command Team of
The Economic Freedom Fighters

Statement By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of The Inkatha Freedom Party

20 January 2014  


I want to thank members of the media for attending this press conference. I have no doubt that when you received word that the IFP was meeting with the EFF, speculation on what it meant was rife.


The IFP received a request from the National Command Team of the Economic Freedom Fighters in September last year, asking for a meeting to formally introduce themselves to our Party’s leadership. My office immediately responded, indicating our availability to meet, as the IFP operates with an open-door policy towards anyone who seeks to discuss the needs and interests of South Africa.


Shortly afterwards, Mr Julius Malema officially launched the EFF and our two parties sought a suitable date to meet. Today’s meeting is a result of that process, and I am pleased to report what transpired.


As the President of the IFP, I welcomed the Commander-in-Chief of the EFF and the National Command Team, and acknowledged the importance of our country’s continued struggle for economic liberation, which is the basis upon which the EFF was founded. The IFP has been working for South Africa’s full and final liberation for close on four decades.


Our two parties discussed the needs of our country and the role that we each intend to play in creating a prosperous and stable future for all South Africans. We recognise that we are fighting a common enemy in the form of enduring poverty, unemployment and hardship, and we share the goal of moving our country away from corruption and weak leadership.


Naturally, however, we identified areas of disagreement between our two parties and, in some cases, we robustly disagree. But we have emerged from this meeting with an understanding that it is possible, and in the best interests of our country, to disagree without being disagreeable and without descending to offensive politicking.


Mr Malema and I both come from a background in the ANC Youth League, although I was a member of that body during a different era. The politics of his era are vastly changed from the politics of my own time in the Youth League.


Thus, although we share this common background, it was necessary to set aside some past friction in order to meet today. The IFP did this in acknowledgement of the fact that Mr Malema has founded his own party, which will contest the 2014 elections and will, no doubt, have an impact on the political landscape of South Africa.


There is a role, in a strong multi-party democracy, for a myriad of voices to represent the diverse aspirations of our people. Where the IFP finds common ground with the EFF in the service of our nation, we will respect each other’s contribution.


Ladies and gentlemen of the media, I should perhaps apologise to you. I am sure you are disappointed that there is no talk of a merger or anything of that nature, for that would surely have sold papers!


But, on the part of the IFP, I can assure you that there will be more than enough news coming out of this campaign as the IFP seeks a partnership with the electorate for the benefit of South Africa. The IFP intends to put the power back where it belongs; in the hands of the people.


I thank you.