NFP leader Zanele Magwaza Msibi Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/AfricanNewsAgency (ANA)

Pretoria - The embattled National Freedom Party (NFP) said on Thursday that it was very humbled by the number of votes it was receiving despite dwindling support at the polls. 

The party had received only 27,678 votes after 64 percent of the valid votes counted on Thursday night, a huge decline from the 288,742 or 1.57 percent which secured it six seats in Parliament in 2014. 

Mzwakhe Sibisi, acting secretary of NFP, said that they understand why their numbers are dwindling, but the party was working on a plan to revive its support. 

"We have to agree that our campaign had hiccups but we are trying to rectify those mistakes. So we appreciate the support we are getting considering the situation we are coming from," Sibisi said. 

"Our president's illness has hit us badly, failing to participate in the 2016 local government elections also had a negative impact because we were dependent on the money received by our councillors. So immediately when there is no income, as political parties rely a lot on funding, we can't run a political party dependent on membership fees only." 

Party leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi has been not been able to address party rallies or perform her daily duties since she suffered a major stroke that left her in a coma for a number of days in November 2014. 

Sibisi also said that the departure of some leaders had destabilised the party and left it reeling, but the interim national executive committee was trying to steer the ship on the right path again.

Last week, former secretary general of the NFP, Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa, joined the ruling African National Congress (ANC), together with Njabulo Mlaba, the NFP's deputy chair in KwaZulu Natal and party spokesperson Sabelo Sigudu.

Sibisi said these leaders were "opportunists" who had no constituency amongst voters. 

"We wish them well wherever they are going. The ANC must not think it got big fishes. Khubisa and his people had no branches, they had no followers. They just wanted to serve their own interests. He was number 20 on our parliamentary list," Sibisi said.

"He was just an opportunist thinking we will list him in the top five, that is why he left."

Sibisi also reiterated that they will be joining other so-called smaller parties who are challenging alleged irregularities in this election.

African News Agency (ANA)