Durban - The NFP on Sunday made an aggressive push for the IFP stronghold of Ulundi, taking one of their biggest rallies to the Nkonjeni village, the home town of IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
“We are here to send a powerful message to people not so far from here. We want to say to them, the NFP is a powerful force and is taking over Ulundi and KwaZulu-Natal,” said NFP president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi in a veiled jibe aimed at Buthelezi.
She was addressing supporters at a rally held some 3km from Buthelezi’s home.
Ulundi remains an IFP stronghold, and was one of the two municipalities where the IFP emerged with a clear majority after the 2011 local government elections.
The NFP, formed in 2011 after a split in the IFP, had initially wanted to hold the rally at a venue just a few metres from Buthelezi’s home.
But NFP leaders said they were denied this opportunity by the traditional authority responsible for the area.
Buthelezi is the inkosi of the Buthelezi clan.
“On Friday, the traditional authority of the Buthelezi clan told us that we could not dictate to them where we wanted to have the event.
“They said they had to be the ones who decided where the event would be heard. Hence we decided to take the event to this area here, which is under the Mbatha traditional authority,” explained local NFP leader Bhekani Khanyile.
This stunt comes as bitter rivals the EFF and the ANC have held various campaigns in Nkandla, near President Jacob Zuma’s home.
Last month EFF leader Julius Malema was pelted with stones by enraged ANC supporters when he visited Nkandla to hand over a house to one of President Zuma’s neighbours.
But KaMagwaza-Msibi on Sunday said the NFP wanted to ensure that there were no more no-go areas in the province.
She told supporters that the emergence of the NFP had ensured that the no-go areas ceased to exist.
Earlier, KaMagwaza-Msibi visited Buthelezi’s eldest son, Themba, who uses a wheelchair and is epileptic. Themba assured KaMagwaza-Msibi he would be voting for the NFP.
In 2012, the NFP built a house for Themba, who had been living in a dilapidated, two-roomed home.
At the time, Buthelezi accused the NFP of targeting his family, saying the act was so politically tainted that it “comes across as an insult”.
KaMagwaza-Msibi visited other families in the area asking them to vote for her, saying she was one of them and had a proven record in service delivery.
She said her party would at least be aiming to unseat the IFP as the official opposition in the province.
“All parties contest elections because they want power, but we are saying that if we fail (to win KZN), we would definitely become number two.”
On coalitions, KaMagwaza-Msibi said these would only be considered after the elections, and only if the need arose.
While saying that her party had been approached by other parties, she declined to reveal which those parties were.
The NFP would launch its manifesto in Durban in two weeks’ time to coincide with its third anniversary.