‘Not rebellion but misunderstanding

'BETRAYED': NFP leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi says councillors rejected her decision to join forces with the ANC. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo.

'BETRAYED': NFP leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi says councillors rejected her decision to join forces with the ANC. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo.

Published Jun 5, 2011


National Freedom Party (NFP) leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi has been left with egg on her face after her councillors in Eshowe and Estcourt defied the party’s hyped coalition with the ANC early this week.

But KaMagwaza-Msibi played down the quiet rebellion yesterday morning, saying there was no defiance, only a misunderstanding from the councillors.

“It’s not that all our councillors are rebelling against us, it’s just three municipalities where we had a problem and these are Umlalazi, Umtshezi and Imbabazane (both Estcourt). We are aware there has been infiltration of our structures and money has changed hands,” she said.

It all started on Wednesday in Umlalazi Municipality, one of the 19 hung municipalities after last month’s local government elections.

In a major turn of events, NFP councillors handed the municipality to the IFP instead of grouping with the ANC. Former uThungulu District mayor Stanley Larkan became the mayor of Umlalazi.

The IFP won both the mayoral and Speaker’s positions when these came up for grabs at the 52-member Umlalazi council’s first sitting.

Voted into the Speaker’s position through a secret ballot, the IFP’s Queen Xulu got 28 votes, while the ANC’s candidate got 24, a clear indication that some NFP councillors had voted with the IFP.

Xulu called for the election of the executive committee members and the IFP submitted three names.

NFP councillors did the same in Umtshezi (Estcourt) on Thursday when they refused to honour their party’s recently concluded coalition with the ANC.

An angry NFP councillor in Estcourt said yesterday that he would never co-govern with the ANC.

“Better the devil you know,” he said.

“NFP councillors will not become friends with the ANC overnight, just because their leader is cosying up to the ruling party.

“We have not betrayed her, but she has betrayed us. This is not democracy. She is committing the worst political blunder, we have lost identity.”

The NFP confirmed the Estcourt incident on Friday. “I can confirm that our councillors in Umtshezi chose to go against the party’s decision to work with the ANC in the hung municipalities,” said spokeswoman Zanele Cele.

As a result, the formation of the new council and the inauguration of the mayor had to be postponed.

Cele said NFP councillors had refused to meet the party’s national working committee (NWC) members deployed in that area to address the situation. Cele said the NWC members had tried to set up a meeting between the councillors and their counterparts in the ANC before the first council meeting.

The ANC has refused to be drawn into the NFP debacle, with provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala saying this week that the party had anticipated this.

Chaos also ensued in Hlabisa and the councillors’ inauguration ceremony was postponed to tomorrow.

The party administrator had been instructed to start disciplinary proceedings against the councillors. - Nathi Olifant

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