In his first public appearance since the death of his wife, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosutho Buthelezi visited Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal to campaign in a by-election.

Residents of ward 4 in the town, part of the Okhahlamba municipality, are due to go to the polls this week to elect a new councilor after the death of the ANC ward councillor.

Even though most attention is focused on the national election due on May 8, Buthelezi urged residents not to undermine the significance of taking part in Wednesday’s by-election that will be held on Wednesday.

This was the IFP leader’s first appearance since the death of his wife, Princess Irene Thandekile Buthelezi, on March 25.

Buthelezi thanked the public for the support offered on the death of his wife, and called on voters to back the IFP candidate, Mkhuzeni Hlongwane.  If he is elected, control of the municipality will revert to the IFP, Buthelezi said.

According to his prepared speech, “The IFP is ready to take back Okhahlamba, not because we are hungry for power, but because we want more for this community. We want clean governance, honest leadership, transparency and participation.”