Power struggle: New NFP leadership nullified

Teddy Thwala who was elected secretary-general in the botched conference confirmed the newly elected was disbanded. Picture: Willem Phungula

Teddy Thwala who was elected secretary-general in the botched conference confirmed the newly elected was disbanded. Picture: Willem Phungula

Published Feb 5, 2024


Durban — With the elections likely to take place in May, the embattled National Freedom Party (NFP) appeared to have failed to resolve its power struggle.

On Thursday the party suffered another heavy blow when the party’s electoral committee nullified the conference that took place in December. Teddy Thwala who was elected secretary-general in the conference confirmed to the ‘Daily News’ on Sunday the party has no leadership anymore after it was nullified by the electoral committee.

Thwala said the report means that the powers of the party’s administration have now gone back to the Interim National Committee which was the one that had organised the conference. Thwala explained that soon after the results of the conference, an objection was lodged by aggrieved contestants who argued that the conference did not follow the correct procedure.

In the botched conference, Irvin Barnes was elected president while Thwala became the secretary-general. Before going to the conference, the party was divided into a faction led by Canaan Mdletshe who boycotted the conference.

Mdletshe expressed his disappointment at the latest developments, saying that the electoral committee report vindicated his side that the conference had illegally sat since there was an appeal lodged by his faction against holding of the conference. He said with two months left until elections, it will be difficult for the party to prepare, adding that there were people who wanted to see the party dead.

“It is true that the party is likely not to take part in the elections but we are trying by all means to sort this out while we are waiting for our court appeal to sit in April. We are distracted and the party membership is confused. We as leaders are finding it difficult to go and mobilise them to register for voting because they are asking whether we will contest elections or under these circumstances,” said Mdletshe.

Furthermore, Mdletshe said the main problem will be which leadership the IEC will accept as legitimate to register for elections, adding that all the three factions might approach the IEC claiming to be leaders of the party.

“I hear people are blaming the IEC but I do not blame the electoral body. The problem is on us who are failing to unite and speak with one voice,” he said.

In 2016, the NFP failed to contest the local government elections because of internal squabbles. It made a strong comeback in 2021 managing to force coalitions in close to 20 municipalities. The coalition arrangement resulted in the party governing eDumbe and Nongoma Municipalities in the north of province.

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