Durban – The Pietermaritzburg High Court has set aside the expulsion of the former secretary-general of the National Freedom Party (NFP), Nhlanhla Teddy Thwala, and a senior member, Chris Sibisi.
The two were fired last year at the height of the factional fights currently ravaging the party’s structures at all levels.
Thwala is now the party’s political researcher in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature and during his expulsion he served in the interim national executive committee (INEC).
The structure was appointed to oversee the party’s affairs while preparing for an elective conference to elect a formal structure.
However, along the way, Thwala and Sibisi were dragged before a disciplinary committee (DC) and they were later expelled.
At the time, Thwala objected to the DC being chaired by Abel Bhekithemba “AB” Dlamini on the basis that he was not qualified to serve in the INEC.
Thwala said Dlamini had left the NFP to join Al Jama-ah and, according to the party’s constitution, he had thus surrendered his membership.
NEWS: The Pietermaritzburg High Court has set aside the NFP's (National Freedom Party) decision to expel Teddy Thwala and Chris Sibisi. In a ruling sent to parties on Monday, the court also ruled that AB Dlamini is not qualified to be a member of the decision-making INEC. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 24, 2023
In that regard, he said after rejoining the party, the party’s constitution barred him from serving in the INEC.
His objections fell on deaf ears, the DC went ahead and they were both fired. They were told to appeal, but that day never came.
Instead, he was told by Obed Ngcamu, an administrator, to hand over all party equipment and leave the party.
They took the matter to court and won.
Other than scoring the reinstatement victory, they won the battle to remove Dlamini from the INEC on the basis that he was not eligible to serve on it.
“It is declared that the first and second applicants’ suspension from the NFP is unlawful.
“It is declared that the first and second applicants’ expulsion from the NFP is unlawful.
“It is declared that the first respondent (Dlamini) is not permitted to be a member of the INEC of the NFP until such time as he qualifies for election in terms of clause 5.2.7 of the constitution of the NFP.
“The first respondent is interdicted from acting on behalf of the INEC of the NFP until such time as he is lawfully elected or appointed to the INEC.
“There shall be no order as to costs,” the court ruled.
The court noted that Thwala’s disciplinary hearing was not a normal one where a wayward party member was being disciplined, but it was one faction trying to get rid of another one.
The secretary-general of the NFP, Canaan Mdletshe, said they were still studying the judgment.
“The party, through its lawyers, is still studying the judgment and a decision will be taken at a later stage,“ he said.