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South Africa Opposition Party Dismisses Zuma’s Proposed Merger

In South Africa, the opposition Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has rejected as improper President Jacob Zuma's proposed merger with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The IFP said 'outstanding' issues needs to be resolved before any talks of a merger.

In calling for the merger between the ANC and the IFP, President Zuma said the ruling ANC had a duty to unite all South Africans. But the opposition IFP described the president's comments as irresponsible.

"We felt that it was improper and very much irresponsible for a senior person like him as the president of the country to go public and talk about things that we have never been engaged in as leaders, both leaders of different parties," said Zanele Kamagwaza, national chairperson of the Inkatha Freedom party.

She said the IFP believes in multi-party democracy in South Africa.

"We do believe in the multi-party democracy, and we don't believe that South Africa should become a one-party state bcause the ANC as a party wants to swallow all the political opposition parties in South Africa and I don't think that is okay for democracy in South Africa," she said.

Kamagwaza said ordinary South Africans should be allowed to choose which party they would like to affiliate with.

"We want to provide the people of South Africa with a choice. And I don't think that a democracy means that there should be a one big ruling party in the country, because if we do this, we would be disadvantaging the people of South Africa…we need a very strong opposition," Kamagwaza said.

She said the opposition party will work with any party to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.

"As IFP, we will work with anyone trying to resolve problems that are there for our people. But that does not mean that we should merge with the ANC," she said.

Kamagwana said despite similarities with the ANC, there would not be any merger.

"There are so many things we share in common like for instance the support base. But that does not mean necessarily that we need to merge with the ANC… we have our own constitution, we have our own policies, we have our own principles that are far different from the ANC," Kamagwaza said.

She also ruled out future merger with the ruling ANC.

"Merging, we are meaning the IFP should leave its own identity and become the ANC and be swallowed by the ANC. I don't think that in the near future it is possible with us," she said.

Political observers say this is not the first time that Inkatha Freedom Party leader Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi has rejected a call for unity.

Meanwhile, strong relations between the ANC and IFP became strained after the IFP was accused of working with the former apartheid government to oppress black South Africans.