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IFP manifesto — free primary education and a debate on the death penalty

IFP manifesto — free primary education and a debate on the death penalty
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa at the party's manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 10 March 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

The IFP’s manifesto promises more power for traditional leaders, free education for primary school pupils and a national debate on reinstating the death penalty.

All about…

The IFP manifesto is well crafted for its target support base. It is the most rural-focused of the manifestos we have seen so far; the party would give more power to traditional leaders if it were to come to power. It uses the late leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s popularity as its leitmotif, with the hashtag #DoItForShenge.

Basic income, grants and social policy

  • An unemployed graduate grant of R3,000;
  • Review grants and increase if necessary – link all grants to opportunities and training;
  • One community, one social worker;
  • Legalise baby savers (baby boxes at NGOs for abandoned babies).

Crime and corruption

  • More powers to traditional courts;
  • Open a national debate on reinstating the death penalty;
  • Prompt dismissal and prosecution of corrupt officials, irrespective of rank or political affiliation;
  • Use the force of the South African National Defence Force in areas where gangsterism is rife;
  • Support and implement the principles of restorative justice.


  • Curb data costs by 50% through state intervention;
  • Grow the cannabis and hemp sectors;
  • Revitalise Ithala Bank (Perennially corrupt – Editor).


  • Raise the pass mark to 50%;
  • Redirect Seta billions to give internships to unemployed graduates in municipal, provincial and national government departments;
  • Free primary education and a focus on fixing NSFAS, the financial aid scheme for disadvantaged students;
  • Focus on early childhood education as a priority;
  • Teacher accommodation for rural-based teachers.


  • A South African Social Security Agency food relief voucher system.

Global policy

  • It’s a nationally focused manifesto.


  • Elevate the role of traditional leaders in governance.


  • Devolve autonomy from national to provincial and local levels;
  • One regional hospital in each of 52 health districts; expand clinic network;
  • Reduce the high cost of medicine.


  • A strict 80:20 South Africans to foreigners rule across all businesses;
  • Job reservation for entry-level and low-skill sectors.

Land and housing

  • Increase the qualifying income for fully subsidised housing from R3,500 to R5,500 monthly;
  • Introduce a housing benefit scheme for those who earn above the subsidy threshold;
  • Subsidise first-time homeowners;
  • Integrate hostels into communities;
  • A full-scale land audit (This has been done many times – Editor);
  • State support for new farmers and viable cooperatives;
  • Make sure communal land stays in the hands of traditional leaders;
  • Provincial governments must support this land to the standard of commercial farms;
  • Supports land expropriation with reasonable compensation;
  • Reactivate local agricultural support centres – promote public-private partnerships in agricultural development.


  • Deploy the SANDF to ports of entry and borders to fortify them;
  • Invest in a National Immigration Inspectorate;
  • An all-of-government plan to deport illegal migrants;
  • A six-month permit review process for all foreigners;
  • Ensure critical skills visas are issued in four weeks;
  • Invoice countries whose citizens are in South Africa illegally and who use healthcare services.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

  • Supports universal health coverage;
  • Redress the funding model of the NHI Bill, while defining the roles of public and private healthcare services more clearly.

Power cuts

  • Manage Eskom as a public-private partnership.;
  • Cut unnecessary fuel levies;
  • Maintain coal as a primary energy source while promoting renewables;
  • Support the green hydrogen economy.

Traditional leaders

  • Protect and sustain traditional leadership through respect, compensation and capacitation;
  • Amend chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution to improve traditional leaders’ roles, powers and functions;
  • Extend the Ingonyama Trust land model to other provinces. Before 1994, the apartheid government transferred traditional leadership land in KwaZulu-Natal to the Ingonyama Trust. (It’s not the most democratic system, is open to abuse and places women landholders at a disadvantage – Editor).

Reality check

  • It’s an expensive manifesto that would substantially increase the social wage, with hikes in grants and housing subsidies, yet it doesn’t grapple with the necessary trade-offs;
  • The powers it envisages investing in traditional leaders raise questions of how much South Africa can afford to spend here;
  • The migration policy is Trumpian;
  • In Johannesburg, a portfolio run by the IFP in an administration where it was part of a governing coalition was notoriously corrupt.

What’s good

The IFP manifesto is well written and based on the principle of trust. For example, each section starts with a line like “Trust us to get you working” or “Trust us for safe and dignified homes”. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mike Lawrie says:

    While I think that many things are crazy in this manifesto, I am very taken with the death penalty idea. It’s long overdue to have this reinstated, there is no other way to bring crime back under control.

    • William Dryden says:

      I totally agree with your comments on the death penalty Mike, it should not be seen as a deterrent for murder/killings but as a sentence one will get unless there is extenuating circumstances.

  • ST ST says:

    Pains me to say I now agree SA needs to discuss death penalty amongst other very harsh crime deterrents. We are a country with one of the highest violent crime rates and weakest laws. The fact that so many people can now be easily paid a few thousand to take another life and not even bat an eye is terrifying Even entertaining bail for serious crimes is a joke. The bail amounts of few thousand rands are a joke.

    Yes there is a matter of human rights. But the minute you take someone else’s life and rights, is the minute you give up yours. Exemption to that rule must be supported either through medical or self defence grounds. Enough!

  • Gerrie Pretorius says:

    As long as these jokers fund their traditional leaders from their traditional subjects, and not my tax money, I don’t care a hoot. And as long as their traditional leaders only rule over their traditional subjects and leave the rest of us to live peacefully, I don’t care a hoot.

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