Writing on wall for NFP - analyst
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Durban - The National Freedom Party was unlikely to recover from the divisions that had engulfed it in the build-up to the 2016 municipal elections, said independent political analyst Thabani Khumalo.
“I don’t expect it to come back and defend what it got in the last elections. I expect members to split by going either to the ANC or the IFP,” Khumalo said on Monday.
He made the comments after the Daily News reported that some councillors aligned to one faction were removed from their positions in 21 municipalities.
This came after the provincial leadership decided to “redeploy” the under-performing councillors, making them branch co-ordinators as part of preparations for municipal elections.
The party has already sent letters to the Independent Electoral Commission and affected municipalities notifying them of the “expulsion” of the 27 councillors.
The move has sparked tension, and some members of the national working committee have been claiming that no internal party processes were followed.
They also accused provincial leader, Vikizitsha Mlotshwa, of causing the divisions, which he has denied.
The drama comes months after some leaders sought reprieve from court after they were expelled by others.
In a statement, Mlotshwa remained defiant. He said the NFP was not naive and would not expel members before municipal elections.
“How can we do that, knowing very well that politics is about numbers?” he asked, despite signing off letters to the IEC saying that the councillors were expelled.
“Having said that, we want to put it on record today that our public representatives were not expelled from the NFP; they are still our members and they will be deployed to do party work in line with our 2016 elections strategy.”
Mlotshwa said the NFP was at the crossroads.
“We are faced with resilience and important decisions to take that might affect our voters, supporters and members, but, nevertheless, I can safely say the future of the NFP is bright, and the party is growing day by day,” he said.
But Khumalo said the troubles of the NFP were not surprising and could be traced to when it entered into a coalition with the ANC.
“You recall there have been problems in many municipalities whenever NFP councillors voted alongside the IFP, against their coalition partner.”
He said when party president, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, took up the deputy ministerial position, there were also differences in its ranks.
“The final nail has been her illness. It is an open secret that the NFP is divided in the middle with those who want to take over, and others who claim to defend the party using the name of the president.”
Khumalo doubted if there was a solution to the troubles of NFP, which split from the IFP in 2011.
“I don’t see any miracle of unity before the elections. The writing is on the wall,” he said.