The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is committed to helping the people of Matatiele in the Eastern Cape to be re-incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the party said on Sunday.
The IFP welcomed at least 800 new members at Umngeni village in Matatiele to the party’s ranks on Sunday. The new IFP members claim they have joined the IFP after being neglected by the African National Congress (ANC) and the Eastern Cape government.
They were welcomed into the IFP by the party’s national organiser Philani Magcaba and IFP Eastern Cape provincial chairperson Thabo Mandila, accompanied by IFP deputy national spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko, and IFP organiser Sibusiso Mpontshane.
Mandila said the IFP was committed to helping the people of Matatiele to be re-incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal, “which is nearer for them”. Mandila said the decision some years ago to place Matatiele in the Eastern Cape was unjust due to underdevelopment in the province, even in areas close to the provincial capital Bhisho.
“We want to help you to be incorporated into KZN because it’s just 250 kilometres from here to Pietermaritzburg while you travel over 500 kilometres to your capital city of Bhisho,” said Mandila.
The Eastern Cape had a backlog of infrastructure and electricity and it would take longer for the people of Matatiele to get those services. They would also benefit from improved health services because they were closer to KwaZulu-Natal major hospitals than those in Mthatha and East London.
“If a patient is transferred to Frere Hospital in East London for major medical attention, it becomes difficult to visit as it is impossible to make a return [journey] on the same day,” said Mandila.
“People of Matatiele are spending their money in KZN, they do major shopping in Pietermaritzburg not Mthatha, yet they are getting budget allocation from Eastern Cape government,” he said.
Among community members who joined the IFP was Philiswa Maningi, who said: “I believe in the IFP, because it is going to fight for us to get services while it’s dealing with demarcation issues.”
– African News Agency