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IEC to look at NFP ruling on legitimate structure

The three NFP office-bearers sit at a table in front of party banners.

From left, NFP youth leader Mlungisi Mncube, NFP secretary-general Canaan Mdletshe and NFP national chairperson Bheki Dlamini. Picture: Willem Phungula

Published Nov 21, 2023


Durban — The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) says it will study the Pietermaritzburg High Court judgment that put the 2019 NFP leadership back in power.

IEC spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Thabani Ngwira, was reacting to the NFP leadership call to the IEC to recognise them as the legitimate structure, following Friday’s court judgment.

Ngwira said the IEC has not received any formal communication from the party, but the IEC will “make considerations” after either studying the judgment or hearing the party’s presentation.

“I am not aware of any meeting between us and the NFP, but the IEC will take a decision after either looking at the judgment or hearing NFP presentations,” he said.

At a media briefing on Monday, the NFP 2019 leadership said the Pietermaritzburg High Court’s granting of leave to appeal a 2021 judgment nullifying the National Elective Conference that took place in Ulundi in December 2019 meant they were back in power and the IEC must now recognise them as the legitimate structure.

Canaan Mdletshe, who was elected as secretary-general at the 2019 conference, said the ruling, which effectively set aside the 2019 elective conference, was now being appealed. He added that the judgment simply “closed the chapter” of marathon court battles.

“Chapter 5 of the Constitution under Act No 10 of 2013: Superior Courts Act of 2013 states and I quote ‘Subject to subsections 2 and 3, and unless the court under exceptional circumstances orders otherwise, the operation and execution of a decision which is the subject of an application for leave to appeal or of an appeal itself, is suspended pending the decision of the application or the appeal’.

“This simply means that once the appeal has been lodged or leave to appeal has been granted, the status quo remains until a ruling on the appeal is handed down. It is behind this notion that following Friday’s court judgment, the National Executive Committee elected during the 2019 Ulundi conference, convened a special meeting on Sunday to deliberate and thoroughly discuss the implications of the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling,” said Mdletshe.

He added that the NEC interrogated a number of matters pertaining to the status of the organisation and resolved to postpone any planned internal conferences to focus solely on the preparations for next year’s national and provincial elections.

He also said the recent KwaZulu-Natal conference that elected new leadership was null and void, since it was organised by an illegitimate structure. He extended an olive branch to all leaders and members of the NFP, urging them to unite.

“We have committed ourselves to work around the clock, not only preaching a gospel of unity, but demonstrating through our actions and behaviour that we are on a path of renewing our organisation. We want everybody not to feel at home, but to be at home. We are committing and assuring all the members of the NFP that not a single one of them would be purged.

“We therefore make this call and say comrades, this is where you belong, and we want us to work together so that a dream of our president, Her Excellency Cde President Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi, to have a united NFP – free from factions and forms of division – is realised,” concluded Mdletshe.

He said the NEC has taken a decision to engage the IEC, hopefully on Wednesday this week, adding that the consultation with the IEC was their priority.

The spokesperson from the opposing faction, Teddy Thwala, said Mdletshe was misleading the public if he said the 2019 leadership has been reinstated, saying the order did not reinstate them.

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