Hlabisa tipped to replace Buthelezi

WEB_PHOTO_Mangosuthu_Buthelezi_260414

A South African woman walks past an election campaign poster for the opposition party Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the image of its president Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Cape Town, South Africa 28 March 2014.

A South African woman walks past an election campaign poster for the opposition party Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the image of its president Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Cape Town, South Africa 28 March 2014.

WEB_PHOTO_Mangosuthu_Buthelezi_260414

A South African woman walks past an election campaign poster for the opposition party Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the image of its president Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Cape Town, South Africa 28 March 2014.

A South African woman walks past an election campaign poster for the opposition party Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the image of its president Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Cape Town, South Africa 28 March 2014.

JOHANNESBURG – Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) chief whip Narend Singh says the party is prepared for Mangosuthu Buthelezi&39;s departure.

He said on Sunday that it had been agreed that Velenkosini Hlabisa, the mayor of Hlabisa and the IFP secretary in KwaZulu-Natal, was in line to succeed Buthelezi.

READ: Buthelezi to quit IFP

"Buthelezi did indicate at the 2012 conference that he wanted to step down but he stayed on until we could elect a president," said Singh. "Of late, he’s been saying he is serious about wanting to step down and take it easy and act as a family man.

"Today [Sunday] we had an extended national council with delegates. We discussed the issue of leadership that will arise at the next elective conference and we offered the delegates to stand. The NEC had discussed the matter before and we proposed that Velinkosini Hlabisa should be the nominee and that was unanimously accepted."

Political analyst Dumisani Hlophe said Buthelezi&39;s departure might be good for the IFP.

"He steps down at a time when the IFP has lost control of KZN. He also steps down at a time when the ANC is not doing very great in KZN. So perhaps this is an opportune moment for younger leadership to exploit the [political] dynamics in the province.

"... Perhaps a new leadership could do much better than what he [Buthelezi] could do if he stayed," Hlophe said.