Hon. Velenkosini Fiki Hlabisa was born on 4 January 1965 in KwaZulu Natal. He was the first of four sons born to David and Thembani Hlabisa.
While at primary school he benefitted from the Good Citizenship programme incorporated into the school curriculum by the KwaZulu Government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The teachings of self-help and self-reliance, and selfless service to one’s community and country, resonated with him from a young age.
At 13 he joined the national cultural liberation movement Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe where he began to study the leadership and values of its President. His own leadership qualities were immediately recognised and nurtured, leading him to the position of Branch Chairperson, then Constituency Chairperson, Ward Councillor, District Chairperson, Deputy Mayor and National Secretary of the IFP Youth Brigade.
Throughout this time, his work at community level remained consistent. For six years he served as Chairperson of the Community Working Group, working with the South African Medical Research Council on HIV/Aids and Microbicide trials. He has also served for more than a decade as Chairperson of the Hlabisa Hospital Board.
His passion for education saw him pursue a career in teaching, where he rose to Principal of Somfula High School. Continuing his studies, he obtained an SSTD and B. Paed Degree in History from the University of Zululand, and a BA Honours Degree in History from the University of South Africa.
While studying at the University of Zululand, he became a founding member and first Chairperson of the South African Democratic Students’ Movement at the University. Later he became Regional Deputy Chairperson of the National Teachers’ Union.
As a believer in lifelong learning, President Hlabisa still attends countless seminars and workshops on Conflict Management, Executive Leadership and Good Governance.
Having led in all IFP party structures, he was appointed Provincial Secretary for KwaZulu Natal in 2011, thus becoming a Member of the IFP’s National Executive Committee. In 2016 he was elected Mayor of Hlabisa Local Municipality in Umkhanyakude District.
In October 2017, the IFP’s Extended National Council unanimously nominated Hon. Hlabisa to stand for election as President of the Party at the next elective national conference, where he was elected unopposed in August 2019.
He has travelled extensively, not only within South Africa, but also in the United States, as well as visiting the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece and Germany.
He is a member of the Nazareth Baptist Church, is married to Thandeka Nxumalo and has been blessed with three children, Nkosinathi, Nokwanda and Sthembile.
President Hlabisa enjoys maintaining a healthy lifestyle, actively supports our national sports teams, in particular soccer and rugby. He is an avid reader and always starts his day with reading most national and local newspapers. He enjoys spending quality time with his family the most, when his schedule permits.
President Hlabisa’s has outlined his vision and mission for the IFP and has kicked-off various campaigns in building, mobilising and straightening structures of the party across the country.
He is leading the charge in calling on all members of the IFP and the citizens of the country who are frustrated and increasingly have lost their confidence in the government of the day; as millions of South Africans face the harshest daily realities and ongoing indignity due to the current state of injustice and poor delivery by government in maintaining and upholding the Constitutional rights of all South Africans.
President Hlabisa has focussed this charge of the party in ensuring that it continues in building on the strong legacy President Emeritus, His Excellency, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP and in uniting the party and South Africans behind a new season of struggle in the country, 25 years post the dawn of our democracy in fighting for economic and social justice structured on democratic ideals.