IFP chair ‘not for president’

2010-03-02 00:00

IT IS OFFICIAL. IFP national chairwoman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi will definitely not contest the presidency of the IFP and is threatening to take legal action against her lobbyist group “the Friends of VZ kaMagwaza-Msibi” should they continue to use her name in their campaigns.

Magwaza-Msibi emphasised her unavailability for the post at a press conference held at the IFP head office in Durban yesterday.

Flanked by IFP bigwigs, among them national treasurer Narend Singh, deputy national chairman Velaphi Ndlovu and IFP Women’s Brigade national chairwoman Thembi Nzuza, Msibi distanced herself from the Friends of VZ Magwaza-Msibi and vilified them for disrupting party officials from performing their duties.

Magwaza-Msibi said she never gave permission for the formation of this group and is not a member.

“I am very concerned to hear reports and allegations that some of the people belonging to this group have prevented senior elected officials of the IFP from performing their duties. The whole concept of organising ‘prayer’ meetings and ‘marches’ on the pretext that I am being persecuted, supposedly to provide support to me must [cease] forthwith.

“These meetings have already created unnecessary tension and violent conflict amongst members of our party. This will not be tolerated.

“I therefore unequivocally call for the immediate disbandment of this group and will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who uses my name in vain and without my permission,” Magwaza-Msibi said.

She also deplored the printing of party t-shirts bearing her face, purporting to support her “100%”.

“It is totally unacceptable and goes contrary to every culture and tradition of the IFP. Even more disturbing are reports where people tore down t-shirts bearing the face of our president. How dare anyone use my name to insult the president of my IFP and then still claim to be a friend of mine? I simply cannot believe that anyone who claims to be my friend will treat our president in such a manner.”

Spokeswoman Thokozani Zulu said the formation of the Friends of VZ was not Magwaza-Msibi’s idea or that of any IFP leader. “We organised the group as concerned ordinary members of the party after observing the harassment of our leader. We are prepared to establish a similar group should any of our democratically elected leaders get harassed,” Zulu said.

Zulu said they will not bow down to pressure and disband as demanded by Magwaza-Msibi and the IFP leadership, because they believe Magwaza-Msibi was pressured into issuing the statement.

Earlier this year, a group of IFP supporters, presumably supporters of the Friends of VZ KaMagwaza-Msibi, disrupted a meeting organised by the IFP’s provincial and national members of parliament to update the membership on national and provincial issues. The MPs were prevented from addressing the meeting because amongst them was IFP general-secretary Reverend Musa Zondi.

Zondi was an IFP national council candidate for party presidency while Magwaza-Msibi was nominated by the youth and the general membership. Both were barred by the party.

At yesterday’s press conference, Magwaza-Msibi reiterated what she said in October last year, that she was not going to avail herself for the position of president of the party at the forthcoming IFP AGM.

“I could consider availing myself for the position of National Chairperson should the conference so decide.”

TEXT BOX

The in-fighting over who will take over leadership of the IFP when current president Mangosuthu Buthelezi steps down, has divided the IFP into two groups, one supporting Zondi while another goes with Magwaza-Msibi.

In an attempt to close ranks within the party membership, the national council decided to approach Buthelezi and asked him to reconsider his decision to step down.

During the 2005 national conference, Buthelezi said he was serving his last term and would not avail himself for re-election as the party president.

After being approached by the national council, he has since asked for some time to consult his family on whether to avail himself to retain the party leadership.

Other IFP structures like its student wing, the South African Democratic Students’ Movement (Sadesmo) and the IFP-WB, are also supporting the retention of Buthelezi as the leader, inorder to keep unity within the party.

 

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