2014/04/14 durban. New NFP member Andrew Lotter and NFP president Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi. PICTURE: SIYANDA MAYEZA

Durban - After being on sick leave for almost a year, National Freedom Party leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi has, for the first time, voiced her disgust about the infighting threatening to tear her party apart.

KaMagwaza-Msibi, who is also deputy minister of science and technology, has been out of political life since she fell ill in November last year. Since then she has said little about her party or the current leadership problems.

KaMagwaza-Msibi has called for a meeting of the party’s national working committee to iron out the differences.

“I am willing to attend that meeting,” she said on Tuesday through a statement issued by her spokesman Canaan Mdletshe.

She was reacting to a decision by the party’s KwaZulu-Natal chairman, Vikizitha Mlotshwa, to expel 30 councillors from 21 municipalities. She said she had been embarrassed by the “dangerous and suicidal” squabble rocking the party.

“Week in and week out, our organisation is making the news for all the wrong reasons. I am even reluctant to watch the news or read newspapers,” she said.

She stopped short of mentioning Mlotshwa by name when she was criticising people who “have elevated themselves into superior leaders whose views are final”.

During a recent press conference in Durban, Mlotshwa said there was no need to tell KaMagwaza-Msibi about the expulsion of councillors as she was on sick leave.

“When I first heard of the decision by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee to expel and redeploy councillors in the province I asked for senior leaders to convene a national working committee meeting to deal with this issue and others that confront the party. But this never happened. One wonders why,” she said.

Among councillors Mlotshwa expelled from the municipalities were Mzonjani Zulu and Wiseman Mcoyi, who are both members of the national working committee. Zulu consulted his lawyers this week to approach the court to claim the ownership of the party if his membership was revoked.

KaMagwaza-Msibi said the divisions were clear.

“They seem to have taken a particular direction and have probably found themselves an alternative political home.”

Mcoyi and Zulu suspended members of the national executive committee earlier this year, but the suspensions were later overturned by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

KaMagwaza-Msibi said in the circumstances the party would not be able campaign or win the local government elections.

“I urge our leaders to do the right thing and stop expelling and suspending those that have a different view from theirs.”

Mlotshwa said he would not entertain a statement issued through Mdletshe since he had been employed by the Department of Science and Technology as KaMagwaza-Msibi’s spokesman.

“Mdletshe has been sent by the ANC to divide the NFP,” said Mlotshwa.

The Mercury