NFP ‘redeployment’ crisis
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Durban - The National Freedom Party has been plunged into yet another crisis after councillors aligned to a faction within the party were removed from their positions in at least 21 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.
This was after a decision by the provincial leaders to “redeploy” under-performing councillors, and letters being sent to municipalities and the Independent Electoral Commission to facilitate their removal.
“This serves to advise and inform you that the NFP-KZN PEC (provincial executive committee) has taken the resolution to expel the abovementioned NFP public representatives with immediate effect,” reads one of letters signed by provincial leader Vikizitha Mlotshwa.
Now, emotions are running high among the affected councillors and a faction calling itself the national working committee (NWC), whose members were also “redeployed or “expelled”. Some “NWC” members were recently at loggerheads with another faction of party leaders, who they expelled and were saved by court relief.
On Sunday, the “NWC” convened an urgent meeting to discuss the plight of the “redeployed” or “expelled” councillors in Durban, saying no party processes were followed in the matter.
This group called for a vote of no confidence against Mlotshwa, who defended the party’s decision.
“It is the duty of the party that they must raise a vote of no confidence and please take him home and let him stay at home,” one of the leaders, Wiseman Mcoyi, said.
He said Mlotshwa was bent on destroying the party, and was undermining party leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi by referring to her as “Mrs” and himself as “honourable” in the party’s calendars.
“This shows that he has no interests of the organisation at heart, but wants to destroy it,” Mcoyi said.
Mzwamandla Mzobe, another leader, said the removal of a councillor normally followed processes involving the national leadership.
“Nobody, even the president herself, can summarily remove anybody, whether a councillor or a member of the party, unless one goes through the constitutional imperatives,” Mzobe said.
“The NFP does not know this. Only Mlotshwa and his cohorts do this with the intention to destroy the party,” he charged.
Another leader, Mzonjani Zulu, said the expulsions were a ploy by Mlotshwa to purge his opponents, who were perceived to be still loyal to Magwaza-Msibi, ahead of the December provincial conference.
“What he is doing, that is not in line with the constitution. He is isolating these councillors,” Zulu said.
He asked why the national leadership had kept quiet on the matter. “It tells us that they are together in this,” Zulu said.
In response, Mlotshwa said Mcoyi and his group had no authority to speak to the media on behalf of the party.
“They are in violation of the constitution,” he said.
Mlotshwa said none of the councillors were “expelled” from the NFP, but were “redeployed” to be branch co-ordinators for next year’s elections.
“The national deployment committee endorsed the redeployment and the national executive committee, which sits next week, will ratify this, followed by the NWC.”
He insisted that there was no crisis in the NFP, and that there was no purging because of any conference.
Mlotshwa said the party would have a consultative conference to prepare the party for elections, and that the elective conference would only be in 2017.
The NFP’s national chairman, Maliyakhe Shelembe, would not comment, saying the matter was still in the hands of the provincial leadership.