Inkatha Freedom Party

Inkatha Freedom Party

Infobox South Africa Political Party
|party_name =Inkatha Freedom Party
leader =Mangosuthu Buthelezi
members =23
foundation =1975
ideology =Populism
international ="None"

colours =Black, Red
headquarters =
website = []

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is a political party in South Africa. As of 2008, it is led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi. It is currently the third largest party in the National Assembly of South Africa.


Gatsha Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a former member of the ANC Youth League, founded the Inkatha National Cultural Liberation Movement (INCLM), which later became the IFP, in 1975. Buthelezi used a structure rooted in Inkatha, a 1920s cultural organization for Zulus established by Zulu King Solomon kaDinuzulu. The party was established in what is now KwaZulu-Natal, after which branches of the party quickly sprang up in the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and the Western Cape.

Because of Buthelezi's former position in the African National Congress, the two organizations were initially very close and each supported the other in the anti-apartheid struggle. However, by the early 1980s the IFP had come to be regarded as a thorn in the side of the ANC, which wielded much more political force through the United Democratic Front (UDF), than the IFP and the Pan Africanist Congress. The UDF killed many opponents of the ANC through necklacing (where a tire would be put around one's neck, poured with petrol and set alight) This was especially the case during the time period in which Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk, and others were attempting to retain their dominance during the violence at the end of the apartheid system. Although the IFP leadership favored non-violence, as opposed to the ANC which had created the Umkhonto we Sizwe, there is clear evidence that during the time negotiations were taking place, Inkatha and ANC members were at war with each other where SPU and SDU's were formed, respectively, as their protection forces.This was explained by the IFP leadership as a response to the concerted and very public ANC calls for and acts of violence against IFP members and leadership. Many of the attacks carried out by the Inkatha militants were passively and at times actively supported by the South African police force, probably as a result of a coincidence of interest in ensuring that the ANC did not gain political dominance at the coming liberation. This odd coincidence of effort between police and the IFP indicates that not only whites, but the IFP were opposed to the creation of the South African state envisaged by the hard negotiations that were taking place at the time. That being said, the IFP militants were decidedly a minority in their own party. On the other side the ANC millitants were actively involved in undercover Cash heists which is believed to have boosted the ANC financially during 1994 polls.

During the phase of establishing a constitution for South Africa and prior to the first free elections in the history of South Africa, bloodshed frequently occurred between the IFP and the ANC. Both the IFP and ANC attempted to campaign in the each party's stronghold of Kwazulu-Natal and were met with resistance, sometimes violent, by members of both parties. The IFP was also initially opposed to parts of the proposed South African constitution regarding the internal politics of KwaZulu, and in particular they campaigned for an autonomous and sovereign Zulu king, (King Goodwill Zwelethini kaBhekuzulu), as head of state. As a result, the IFP abstained from registering its party for the election (a necessity in order to receive votes) in opposition. However, once it became obvious that its efforts were not going to stop the election (the IFP's desired goal), the party was registered. However, due to their opposition to the constitution, concessions were made and KwaZulu/Natal (and thus all the other provinces as well) were granted double ballots for provincial and national legislatures, great provincial powers, the inclusion of 'KwaZulu' in the official name of the province and recognition of specific ethnic and tribal groups within Natal.

On election day, the IFP displayed its political strength by taking the majority of the votes for KwaZulu/Natal.

Post-Apartheid politics

After the dismantling of apartheid system in 1994, the IFP formed an uneasy coalition in KwaZulu/Natal with their traditional political rival, the ANC. This coalition was to last until 2004 when the IFP joined the Democratic Alliance, the major opposition party/coalition to the currently dominant ANC.

The IFP seeks to resolve a number of South African issues, especially the AIDS crisis, in addition to addressing, "unemployment, crime, poverty and corruption and prevent the consolidation of a one-party state" ( [ IFP official website] ). The "prevention of a one-party state" is with regards to the ruling ANC, which is perceived by many as making efforts to undemocratically consolidate power for their own party. The IFP also states that "Our proposals are designed to give people control over their lives: a hand up, not a hand down. Social justice for all. We also have the political will to deal effectively with these problems."

Gavin Woods report

Gavin Woods, one of the party's most respected MPs, drew up a highly critical 11 page internal discussion document [,,2-7-12_1750778,00.html] at the request of the parliamentary caucus after a discussion in October 2004. In it he said that the IFP

:"has no discernable vision, mission or philosophical base, no clear national ambitions or direction, no articulated ideological basis and offers little in the way of current, vibrant original and relevant policies". Woods also warned the party that "it must treat Buthelezi as the leader of a political party and not the political party itself".

Woods pinpointed 1987 as the year when the IFP started losing ground as a political force. Before 1987, Woods contends, the party had a strong, unambiguous national identity.

At the first caucus discussion, Woods read out the 11-page paper in full and caucus members were generally positive about its frank nature. IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi was absent from that meeting but raised it at a meeting of the party's national council, which Woods did not attend.

At a subsequent caucus meeting where both were present, Buthelezi read from a prepared statement attacking Woods. All the numbered copies were ordered to be "shredded" but some survived.


South African general election, 2004 results for IFP:

Percentage of Votes: 7%
Total Votes: 1,088,664 (third highest number in South Africa)
Number of Seats: 28.

South African general election, 1999 for IFP:

Percentage of Votes: 8.9%
Total Votes: 1,141,362 (third)
Number of Seats: 37
(Also, won the majority of votes for KwaZulu-Natal with 1241522 votes, or 41.9%).

South African general election, 1994 for IFP:

Percentage of Votes: 10.5%
Total Votes: 2,058,294 (third)
Number of Seats: 43.

ee also

*Shell House Massacre


*Nelson Mandela; "Long Walk to Freedom": The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela; Little Brown & Co; ISBN 0-316-54818-9 (paperback, 1995)

External links

* [ Flag of the Inkatha Freedom Party]
* [ Inkatha Freedom Party] official site

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