Durban - Newly elected National Freedom Party (NFP) KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Mbali Shinga says the new leadership is aware of the challenges facing it, including trying to recover lost ground before next year’s general elections.
She was speaking after the party’s provincial elective conference held in Newcastle this past weekend, which has seen the NFP emerging with its first elected structure in a long time.
While some party members walked out of the conference citing questionable credentials, Shinga expressed the willingness to meet with them, but said that they were not afraid of any possible legal challenge against the new leadership and would defend their position.
“The fact is we live in a free country where one is free to do as they please, and so the members opted to walk out without anyone forcing them.
“As the NFP we are a democratic party and respect the choice that each individual member makes,” said Shinga yesterday.
Zandile Myeni, who is also eThekwini’s deputy mayor, admitted to being among the delegates who staged the walkout.
“Indeed it is true that we are part of the Battalion Camp that walked out owing to unhappiness about the process,” she said yesterday, before referring all queries to their spokesperson, Mshangane Ndabandaba.
Ndabandaba said they had walked out after exhausting all possible avenues to address their grievances, and had expected that the conference would not proceed.
“We were quite shocked that after we had raised valid reasons on why the gathering needed to address some matters before continuing, some people had seen it fit and proper to go ahead and elect individuals to leadership positions,” said Ndabandaba.
He added that they would hold meetings with members in districts across the province before determining their position on the new leadership.
“All I can say is that personally I recognise Mbali Shinga as Member of the Provincial Legislature and part of the NFP’s interim structure. Being the chairperson is a matter in which one will be able to pronounce on a week from now,” said Ndabandaba.
He would not be drawn into discussing whether they would mount any legal action against Shinga and her structure, insisting that they would be guided by members during a consultation process that will be held this week.
The NFP has been battling internal strife since the death of its founding leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi, which led to the emergence of different factions.
According to Shinga they want to restore hope to many of their members by ensuring that they are organised to take part in the elections next year.
However, NFP Member of Parliament Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said the conference had been fraudulent and the matter would be taken to court.