IFP will turn KZN around if it wins poll, says Ntuli

Mayor of the King Cetshwayo District Municipality Thami Ntuli hopes that Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s legacy will give him the power to govern KwaZulu-Natal. | File

Mayor of the King Cetshwayo District Municipality Thami Ntuli hopes that Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s legacy will give him the power to govern KwaZulu-Natal. | File

Published Apr 7, 2024


Durban — The IFP is going into the May 29 general elections confident that the legacy of its founder, the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, will continue to draw voters to it.

In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, Thami Ntuli, the IFP KZN chairperson, vowed to restore the province to its former glory if it won the elections, and promised there would be massive township and rural development.

Ntuli, the King Cetshwayo District Municipality mayor and provincial chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (Salga), features as number one on the IFP’s provincial elections candidates list.

This means that if the IFP wins the provincial elections, Ntuli would replace the ANC’s Nomusa Dube-Ncube as KZN premier.

Ntuli said voters believed in the IFP because of the “strong legacy” of its founder.

“You can speak of industrial investment. More than 6 000 colleges of education have now been converted into civil colleges and universities, such as Ungoye (University Zululand) and Mangosuthu University of Technology,” he said.

Ntuli is looking forward to becoming the fourth IFP head of the provincial government after Lionel Mtshali, Ben Ngubane and Frank Mdlalose.

He said under Buthelezi’s watch, the IFP built many clinics and hospitals “for black marginalised people”.

“So people are entrusting us with their vote because of that kind of legacy,” said Ntuli.

He said his administration would revitalise and expand the industrialisation of townships and rural areas such as Mandeni and Madadeni where there were industrial zones built by the IFP government, “of which now some have since gone down because of non-availability of a conducive environment for that kind of investment”.

Ntuli is confident that the province’s official opposition stands a good chance of governing KZN’s 12.4 million population, the majority of whom still live in poverty.

Ntuli said he was not intimidated by the newly formed, Jacob Zuma-supported uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) because it had not defeated the IFP in any by-election.

When asked about his plans for the province, Ntuli said a lot would be revealed during the provincial manifesto launch in Ulundi on Sunday (today).

He said the IFP had a record of governing the province better than the current administration under which crime had spiralled and infrastructure had become dilapidated.

“The city of Durban, which is our pride and economic hub, is collapsing. We are the ones who invested in the infrastructure, which created basic living for KZN. Unfortunately, when the ANC came to power, all seemed to collapse,” he said.

Ntuli was also proud of the IFP’s performance in the Nkandla Municipality where he was a mayor for 10 years before going to King Cetshwayo. He said under his helm, Zuma’s hometown “was the cleanest town”.

“Although it (Nkandla) is a rural area and is behind in terms of development, what we introduced when I was mayor there made the people of Nkandla vote for the IFP. Even though we had the state and ANC president, Jacob Zuma, the people of Nkandla were not voting for the ANC. This showed that they had confidence in the IFP.

Ntuli, who was born and bred in Nkandla where he spent most of his youth herding his family’s livestock, has been a teacher, a school principal, and a unionist under the banner of the National Teachers Union.

He obtained his various qualifications in education from the Rand Afrikaans University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the University of Pretoria. Before Ntuli studied education he worked as a shopkeeper and security guard.

Sunday Tribune