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ABC says IFP treated it like ‘political infants’ hence it pulled out coalition pact

Philani Mavundla’s party says the IFP disrespected it. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Philani Mavundla’s party says the IFP disrespected it. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 4, 2023


Durban – The ABC (Abantu Batho Congress) says the reason why it decided to pull out of its coalition pact with the IFP was because they were not treated well.

The party's secretary-general, Phumelele Phahla told IOL on Thursday they were treated like “political infants”.

Her comment comes after Wednesday reports that the pact has ended, leaving four KwaZulu-Natal municipalities vulnerable to a takeover by the ANC-EFF alliance.

This was after a directive dated 26 April 2023 was sent to the party’s councillors to stop voting with the IFP with immediate effect.

The coalition pact was inked in November 2021 after several municipalities were hung.

“Greetings councillors,” the matter bears the above reference.

“The president has issued a directive as follows: ABC will not be voting with the IFP from now onwards unless mandated by the office.

“According to Rule:12.5.13, the founding president has unreserved power to issue an instruction, mandate or directive to any member of the party provided that such is not contra bonos mores (harmful to the moral welfare of society), illegal or contrary to the constitution of the party.

“This matter is not open for discussion,” read part of the letter sent to councillors of ABC and signed by Phahla.

Phahla said they had to act against the IFP.

“The IFP in Umvoti and Umzinyathi has treated us as their step partners and political infants instead of respecting us as their coalition partners.

“It has always been our view that in each municipality be treated on each case in its own merit. However this has proven to be a challenge hence a decision has been taken and a directive issued,” Phahla said.

The national spokesperson of the IFP, Mkhuleko Hlengwa did not comment when asked how many municipalities were affected by the ABC’s decision.

The ABC’s single seat in the Dannhauser Local Municipality, in the north of the province, is helping the IFP to thwart the ANC-EFF bid to take over the municipality.

The ABC has seats in municipalities like Msunduzi Local Municipality (Pietermaritzburg).

It also has two seats in the eThekwini metro where Mavundla worked with the ANC and filled the deputy mayor's position, but was later kicked out after a fallout with mayor Mxolisi Kaunda from the ANC and replaced by Zandile Myeni from the National Freedom Party.

The directive on the coalition comes as Mavundla was recently sworn in as a councillor in Umvoti amid rumours that he would work with the ANC to dethrone the IFP mayor, Gabriel MaMalembe.

In return, his party’s councillors at Alfred Duma will vote for a mayoral candidate from the ANC to dethrone the IFP mayor there, Zama Sibisi.

On Friday, the ANC-EFF alliance will launch a motion of no confidence against the IFP leadership of the Uthukela District Municipality led by Inkosi Ntandoyenkosi Shabalala.

The ABC is expected to side with the ANC-EFF alliance during the special sitting convened by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

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