IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi is planning to retire from politics after the 2019 general elections, according sources within his party.

Buthelezi turned 90 on Monday and festivities were held at the Ulundi sports stadium in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

"He has told the IFP national council meetings that he wants to leave politics for good so that he can write his memoirs and focus on his family. He recently told us that his wife princess Irene has been gravely ill and he cannot even concentrate on her because of his busy schedule.

"But some leaders prevailed on him to please help the party ahead of the 2019 general elections. He agreed to be the face of the party on condition that he leaves soon after those elections," said an IFP leader who declined to be named.

In 2017 Buthelezi nominated Velenkosini Hlabisa, the little-known mayor of the Hlabisa local municipality, as his successor. However, some party leaders were unhappy with his choice. This resulted in the IFP’s elective conference being postponed indefinitely.