Johannesburg - Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) president Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Sunday threatened action against party members who were apparently trying to "sabotage" him.
"We have lost an enormous amount of time and spent far too much energy on fighting fires started by the so-called 'Friends of VZ'. Every meeting is taken up with disciplinary matters and discussing the latest act of sabotage against our party," said Buthelezi in his prepared remarks at the IFP Gauteng provincial conference in Soweto.
The "Friends of VZ" are a faction within the IFP who are against the continued leadership of Buthelezi. They are believed to be supporters of IFP national chair Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and were apparently plotting to depose the president.
Magwaza-Msibi has distanced herself from the group.
"Everywhere (where) IFP members gather, there is talk of split loyalties, suspicion and treachery. The damage done by the Friends of VZ is great," said Buthelezi.
"But we are doing our party a grave disservice by allowing it to consume us."
He said it was obvious that the in-fighting must be addressed to stop the decline in voter support.
"The treachery of the so-called Friends of VZ needs to be arrested and serious damage control needs to take place."
Buthelezi said a recent meeting of the IFP had ended in gunfire where one member was killed and another injured.
"This is not the first incident of guns being drawn at an IFP meeting, and I fear it will not be the last. Somehow our politics has deteriorated into swearing matches, fist fights and chair throwing ... at times I hardly recognise this party I founded 35 years ago," he said.
Buthelezi accused the Friends of VZ of attempting to "snatch away" the leadership of the IFP.
The IFP president said that the divisions has prevented the party from preparing for the 2011 local government election. He said the party had made turnaround plans following the disappointing results of the 2009 election, but that little progress had yet been made.
"Last weekend, we held a National Council meeting which focused on where we are with the campaign, and came face to face with the realisation that the antics of the Friends of VZ are still stealing our time," said Buthelezi.
"I have therefore decided that we, as the leadership, are drawing a line in the sand."
Buthelezi said the IFP leadership have identified six teams that will tackle the Friends of VZ.