NFP unites over poll age issue
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Durban - The leaders of the National Freedom Party have disowned statements attributed to party boss Zanele Magwaza-Msibi by her spokesman, that she wanted a majority of candidate councillors for municipal election to be younger than 40.
Magwaza-Msibi, who is also the deputy minister for science and technology, disappeared from the public eye after she became ill when she suffered a mild stroke in November.
At a press conference in Durban on Monday, nation executive committee (NEC) members said Magwaza-Msibi’s spokesman, Canaan Mdletshe, has overstepped his role in issuing statements that border-ed on changing party policy.
National chairman, Maliyakhe Shelembe, said no decision had been taken by the NFP on the age of candidate councillors.
“The NFP therefore rejects his reports attributed to our party leader as mischief, and an amateurish attempt by the ANC to try and divide the party and its leader.”
Shelembe said the nomination of candidates would be done in line with the NFP policy.
“We will engage with all our structures to facilitate a transparent process to ensure that our candidates represent the will of our members,” he said.
Shelembe said Mdletshe should not be involved in NFP matters and secretary-general, Nhlanhla Khubisa, was their official spokesman.
“Canaan Mdletshe has got nothing to do with NFP matters and has got no responsibility to issue any statement on behalf of the NFP. Canaan Mdletshe is employed by Science and Technology to do the work of the department.”
He said they found it strange that Mdletshe had issued the statement on an NFP matter when other government officials did not engage in such behaviour.
“You will never find any employee of department talk about affairs of a political party. Even if you look in the ANC, you will never find the head of department in a ministry talk about the affairs of the ANC as an organisation.”
But, Mdletshe defended himself, saying Magwaza-Msibi was expressing her wish in that press statement last week.
“They must understand that I was appointed as a spokesman in the ministry which deals with issues pertaining to the minister and her deputy.”
Mdletshe also said he could not have refused to issue the statement when Magwaza-Msibi, as his boss, had wanted to convey a message to NFP members.
But NFP deputy president, Alex Kekana, said they were tired of people making pronouncements on behalf of Magwaza-Msibi.
Kekana asked the media to rely on statements from the NFP, and that statements they did not know should be regarded as lies.
NEC member, Scelo Mabika, said Mdletshe had been used by other people to sow divisions.
Mabika insisted that the statement attributed to Magwaza-Msibi was “like a new policy”, and threatened to turn the NFP into a “banana party”.
Meanwhile, the party was working hard to ensure there was unity as it prepared for the municipal elections.
“As NFP, we believe that our members will put aside their internal differences and unite in our collective effort to win the forthcoming local government elections wherever we contest.”
The party has been fraught by internal division which has seen factions taking their fights to courts.