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Ailing NFP boss ready to return

Zanele Magwaza-Msibi is "recovering", her husband Mandla Msibi said this week.

Zanele Magwaza-Msibi is "recovering", her husband Mandla Msibi said this week.

Published May 31, 2015


Durban - A daunting task lies ahead for the ailing leader of the National Freedom Party who is expected to resume her duties soon.

Zanele Magwaza-Msibi’s husband, Mandla Msibi, said his wife was making “good progress” and was scheduled to be back in the public eye soon.

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Msibi said they were shielding her from the media to give her space and time to recover.

“We will call a media briefing when she is ready to resume work. But I can say that she is recovering well,” he said.

Magwaza-Msibi has been in and out of hospital since she fell ill in November after she suffered what is believed to have been a stroke.

Her husband would not comment about the cause of her illness, saying, “This is a private matter. My wife will not talk to the media until she has fully recovered.” He added that the factions in the party had had a negative impact on his wife’s health.

Magwaza-Msibi’s spokesman Canaan Mdletshe said: “She is expected to return to work in July or early August. But we are waiting for the doctor’s confirmation.”

Asked how Magwaza-Msibi felt about the factions in the party, Mdletshe said: “She has not expressed her thoughts to me on party issues.”

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Magwaza-Msibi faces an uphill battle to mend her broken party before next year’s local government elections. The party’s national working committee is at loggerheads with the party leadership. The two factions both claim to be “protecting Magwaza-Msibi” and have taken their battle to court.

This comes after the national working committee issued letters two weeks ago, expelling top leaders including party chairman, Maliyakhe Shelembe, and secretary general, Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa, over claims they were bringing the party into disrepute.

Vikizitha Mlotshwa, chairman of the party in KZN; Mandlenkosi Mabika, deputy national chairman; Cindy Maphumulo-Mashinini, women’s league president; Bongokwakhe Nzuza, Joseph Ngema and Roy Bhengu were also served with letters.

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The party’s deputy president, Alex Kekana, escaped the “axe” as he submitted reasons to the committee as to why he should not be suspended.

In what they called a move to “clear the air” the expelled leaders convened a media briefing last week, where Shelembe dismissed the letters, saying: “The letters are null and void because they were written by people who are not serious. We have taken this matter to court.”

In retaliation, the national working committee convened a media briefing at the Beach Hotel on Wednesday, where spokesman for the committee, Wiseman Mcoyi, launched a scathing attack on the top structure, calling them “hitchhikers” who aimed at “hijacking the bus”.

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“We are defending our leader because some people want to take over the driver’s seat. We are not going to allow that to happen.”

Mcoyi said the “hitchhikers” started driving the bus when Magwaza-Msibi fell ill.

Durban High Court Judge Graham Lopes on Wednesday granted an interim order to stay the eight members’ suspensions and interdicted the party from suspending Kekana pending a finalisation of a review application or an appeal.

Despite the court ruling Shelembe said they had no reason to celebrate because they had never taken the working committee seriously.

“They are aggrieved because they were not elected to top positions. We expected the court ruling so it’s business as usual,” he said, adding that powers to suspend individuals were vested in the national executive not the national working committee.

“Their work is to ratify the decisions taken by the national executive committee,” he said.

Sunday Tribune

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