Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi stirs crowds during her visit to Zululand on Wednesday during her new political partys campaign. Photo: Doctor Ngcobo
Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi stirs crowds during her visit to Zululand on Wednesday during her new political partys campaign. Photo: Doctor Ngcobo

IFP councillors joins VZ

By Sipho Khumalo and Political Staff Time of article published Jan 27, 2011

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Just a day after announcing the formation of her new party, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, swept into the IFP’s political heartland in Zululand yesterday, where she landed a bloody blow on the IFP by apparently taking over several councillors and wards in Ulundi, Nongoma and eDumbe.

On her first day as the leader of the National Freedom Party, KaMagwaza-Msibi addressed packed meetings in Nongoma and Ulundi, where she wooed hundreds of people at taxi ranks during whistle-stop visits.

The small town of Nongoma came to a stand-still for at least an hour, when KaMagwaza-Msibi’s road show hit the town.

At her first meeting at Holinyoka hall, outside Nongoma, KaMagwaza-Msibi claimed that out of 35 IFP councillors in the Nongoma council, 25 had thrown their lot in with the NFP, including all the IFP ward chairmen.

In Ulundi 15 councillors, including one from the South African Democratic Convention, had defected to the NFP, she said.

The NFP also announced that of the 18 wards in Ulundi, 15 IFP ward branches, including that of Ward 9 in Nkonjeni - the home village of IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi - had decided to join forces with the new party.

But IFP spokesman Thulasizwe Buthelezi said his party was not aware of any IFP councillors having deserted them.

Yet, according to Moses Qwabe, the chairman of the Ward 9 IFP branch, branch members took a decision a long time ago to join with KaMagwaza-Msibi.

In eDumbe, the former mayor, Mpiyakhe Hlatshwayo, said out of nine IFP councillors, seven had joined the new party and that all 24 IFP branches had switched allegiance.

The defection of councillors to the NFP could lead to administrative paralysis in three councils - Ulundi, Nongoma and eDumbe - as no new ward councillors could now be elected.

While the IFP could fire and replace proportional representative councillors, ward councillors could no longer be replaced as no by-elections can be held until the local government elections, which are expected to take place in May.

However, Independent Electoral Commission spokesman Thabani Ngwiri said that a decision could be made for a by-election by the Local Government MEC.

“It is the MEC’s prerogative to call for a by-election, according to whether or not there would be an administrative imbalance,” Ngwiri said.

Members of the public appeared to be generally receptive to KaMagwaza-Msibi during her campaign yesterday, shouting “Njinji, Njinji”, her traditional praise name.

“At last we have a party that belongs to members and not an individual”, commented a man at the Ulundi taxi rank.

I want you to know that this is not my party. It is your party. My failure will be your failure. My success will be your success,” kaMagwaza-Msibi said.

However near the Nongoma municipal offices, people clad in IFP colours stood next to the road where KaMagwaza-Msibi’s vehicles were passing. There were no incidents as the proceedings were under the watchful eye of police.

This weekend, KaMagwaza-Msibi will visit Eastern Cape and later travel to Limpopo.

Meanwhile, writing in an online letter yesterday, Buthelezi repeated his claims that the ANC was fomenting the IFP’s ructions and bank-rolling the activities of the “Friends of VZ”.

“But this is not idle finger-pointing, nor is it a ploy to detract attention from our problems. We have concrete evidence, which I took to the president of the ANC in July last year, and then to the deputy president in August.

“I am informed that Durban City Hall, the venue for the NFP’s launch, was booked by Nigel Gumede, an ANC Councillor. This is but the latest in a long string of evidence that casts the ANC as the puppet master. Yesterday a copy of a report was anonymously faxed to my office which indicates that the ANC Youth League was backing Magwaza-Msibi ‘through propaganda mechanisms’, while the ANC’s ‘NEC has taken a resolution to give her the support’.

“The ANC has, of course, vehemently dismissed this report as a hoax, saying that it should do its ‘utmost best’ to unmask the originators.

“It should do its utmost best, I agree. But whether it will is another story. I am still waiting for the president to act on the information I gave him six months ago.” - The Mercury

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