DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal Zwakele Mncwango has accused the IFP of being traitorous by voting with the ANC in the City of Johannesburg. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal Zwakele Mncwango has accused the IFP of being traitorous by voting with the ANC in the City of Johannesburg. 

However, the IFP has backed it councillors’ decision to vote for ANC’s Geoff Makhubo as the new mayor of the country’s economic hub. 

Spitting fire on Monday, Mncwango said the IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa and its national chairperson Blessed Gwala had personally given him an assurance that they would never vote with the ANC for former mayor Herman Mashaba’s replacement. Mncwango expressed his disappointment with the IFP saying they had been dishonest in their engagement. 

“The IFP approached us (KwaZulu-Natal DA), and gave us many reasons why they could not work with the ANC.

“We then opted in the interest of KwaZulu-Natal to support them (IFP) and we did not take any position as a mayor, deputy mayor or speaker to show that it was not about us but it was about people,” he said. 

He said the DA, because of its understanding with the IFP, handed the IFP the hung municipalities of Abaqulusi, Zululand District, Mtubatuba and Jozini municipalities in exchange for the City of Johannesburg. 

Mncwango said the IFP decided to “marry the ANC without divorcing the DA”. 

He said Hlabisa had approached him to tell him that the IFP would always vote with the DA to defuse a rumour that the IFP was planning to vote with the ANC in Johannesburg. 

“He asked for me privately, and we went outside the legislature and we spoke and he said to me ‘I see in the media a story that says we (IFP) have talks with the ANC about Johannesburg'".

“He said there was not such thing and he said ‘Zwakele trust me, we are leaders and I will be the first to come and tell you if there is such a decision',” said Mncwango.

He said Gwala, whom he had been engaging with about a coalition government in KwaZulu-Natal, also gave him the same assurance about Johannesburg. 

He also alleged that DA’s head of governance unit also received similar assurances from IFP national treasurer Narend Singh. 

“We went there (Johannesburg voting) knowing very well that the IFP would support us, but they betrayed us,” said Mncwango.

However, in a statement IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa justified IFP councillors voting with the ANC. He said IFP councillors had felt undermined and isolated under the DA administration. 

“At times in the City of Johannesburg we have been undermined, overlooked and isolated; contrary to the dictates of the Cooperation Agreement; but despite these challenges we have pressed on,” said Hlengwa.

He said the cold relationship between DA and IFP started when a certain IFP MME was removed from former mayor Herman Mashaba’s mayoral committee without consultation.

 “Our remaining MMC, subsequently, did not enjoy the latitude of her office with an overshadowing mayor.

“Therefore, the decision to vote with the ANC was done in the collective interests of service delivery and to restore stability,” read Hlengwa’s statement.

Political Bureau