The party’s parliamentary caucus had a two-day session to prepare for the year ahead this week in Milnerton, Cape Town, and briefed the media on its plans on Friday.
President emeritus of the IFP and caucus leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said this was done to ensure the IFP does everything it could to “serve our country in a time of crisis”.
He added the party had always presented a strong voice in Parliament and it intended to continue in this vein.
“The IFP will be a force to be reckoned with this parliamentary year, and I’m tempted to say, ‘watch this space’,” he said with a chuckle in reference to the refrain from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first State of the Nation Address last year.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh said the caucus felt it “must become aggressive” to ensure there were arrests for corruption.
‘Country needs this’
He added it would be mooting the establishment of a Chapter 9 institution to be called the integrity commission.
“I think the country needs this.”
Singh said the biggest threat to South Africa was joblessness and to this end, the IFP would introduce a private member’s bill that would place a quota on the number of foreign nationals who could be employed in South Africa, reserving the largest portion for South Africans.
Asked if this was not xenophobic, nationalistic and populist, IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said it was not a xenophobic bill and “it will actually solve xenophobia” as many people have complained that foreign nationals were taking their jobs.
“It will eliminate xenophobic attacks.”
She said it was in line with international best practice, adding similar measures were in place in Nigeria, Ghana and Angola.
IFP MP and national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa added: “It’s not nationalistic, it’s not xenophobic, it’s patriotic.”
Parliament is expected to soon deal with an inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office and Singh said the IFP would “jealously guard” the Office of the Public Protector and participate in the inquiry.
“We will not undermine the Office of the Public Protector,” he added.
Hlengwa said nobody was above accountability and oversight.
“It is in the Public Protector’s interest to come and explain herself,” he added.
The party will also continue its opposition to amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.
While the IFP supports universal health care, it has concerns about some of the mechanisms the National Health Insurance Bill provides for, and it will try and persuade Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to give thought to some of its proposals.