IFP elections: Magwaza-Msibi fails in high court bid

2011-01-18 00:00

THE Inkatha Freedom Party national executive committee will soon meet to decide what to do about its national chairperson, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, who lost a court application to stop the party from hauling her before a disciplinary hearing and to force it to hold an elective conference.

IFP secretary-general and national spokesperson Musa Zondi made the announcement about the meeting after the high court in Pietermaritzburg dismissed the application of Magwaza-Msibi and three other expelled IFP leaders with costs yesterday.

Shortly after Judge Swain handed down the judgment on behalf of Judge Chiman Patel, Zondi was seen smiling outside court A while speaking to IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi by cellphone, informing him about the court’s decision.

Zondi said the IFP feels vindicated by the court’s decision.

At the time Magwaza-Msibi took the matter to court, she was facing an internal inquiry for her alleged role in divisions within the party allegedly fuelled by her supporters in the Friends of VZ group.

Said Zondi, “We have been vindicated. We never had any doubt that the court would dismiss the applications brought against us by kaMagwaza-Msibi and her associates among the so-called Friends of VZ since the grounds for these applications carried no substance.

“We wish to extend an olive branch to all members of the IFP who have been misled by the argument of the national chairperson and the Friends of VZ that has now formally been dismissed by a court of law.”

He said the IFP will now focus on the renewal of unity in the party and respect for its constitution

“We have recovered lost ground ahead of the 2011 local government elections,” he added.

 

 

Outside the courts, disappointed Magwaza-Msibi supporters said they were “free at last”, while supporters of Buthelezi were jubilant and sang anti-Magwaza-Msibi songs.

After hearing that the applications had been dismissed, there was jubilation and dancing.

The IFP national organiser and member of Parliament, Albert Mncwango, said they would organise a celebratory braai.

Judge Kevin Swain, who announced the judgment on behalf of Judge Chiman Patel, took less than a minute to announce that the applications by Magwaza-Msibi and expelled IFP members Wiseman Mcoyi, Nhlanhla Khawula, Thokozani Zulu and Ntuthuko Gumede had been dismissed with costs.

In a written judgment, Patel said the court should be reluctant to interfere in what are essentially political questions.

He pointed out that there was a struggle between the factions within the IFP “for mastery of the soul and membership of the IFP and hence the pejorative terms used by one to describe the other”.

He said the expelled applicants did not have any problem with the legitimacy of the national council before they had been summoned for disciplinary action.

He also pointed out that the court cannot force the IFP to hold elections since a political party is a voluntary association.

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