IFP rebels to march in Durban

2010-07-17 00:00

AFTER failing to secure a high court interdict forcing the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) to hold an elective conference monitored and conducted by independent institutes, a group of disgruntled leaders within the party are today going to hold a march in Durban to map the way forward.

In the high court in Durban yesterday, Justice Dhaya Pillay dismissed an interdict application by IFP leaders from eight districts which was sought against the IFP, its leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, secretary-general Musa Zondi, national organiser Albert Mangaqa Mncwango and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa and the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa.

The interdict sought an order restraining Buthelezi and the top IFP leaders from postponing the conference, which is due to be held from July 23 to 25, and:

• Directing them to hold the elective conference on those days;

• Directing them to refrain from taking any disciplinary action or perpetrating any threats against any of the applicants until after the elective conference; and

• Directing that the elections be monitored and conducted by the two independent institutes.

It took Pillay less than 10 minutes to dismiss the application on the grounds that even though the IFP constitution does provide for a conference to be held every three years, it does not oblige it to have an elective conference.

The applicants’ counsel, advocate Vikela Ntlokwana, could not provide the court with any provision from the IFP constitution that obliges the party to hold an elective conference, as the IFP counsel, advocate Max du Plessis, had requested.

Afterwards, jubilant IFP lawyer Laurens de Klerk said his party has been vindicated “because from the beginning we pointed out that there was no case and this was just a waste of time’’.

Outside the court, supporters of the applicants were clearly disappointed after the applicants’ legal team had briefed them on the ruling.

An angry IFP supporter said outside the court: “This is definitely not the end. We are still going to come with a new strategy because we do not want the present leadership to continue leading the party into the doldrums.’’

One of the applicants, Mzonjani Zacharia Zulu, held a media briefing and announced a march will be held in Durban today at which IFP supporters on the ground will dictate what the next step should be.

The march is expected to start at the General Louis Botha statue at the start of Berea Road and proceed to the central business district.

Zulu said a permit to hold the march was secured from the eThekwini Municipality and the police.

“We are tired of our leadership and we have exhausted all available internal procedures to deal with the problems within the IFP. Taking the party to court was the last resort,’’ Zulu said.

Meanwhile, the IFP national council is today expected to start an inquiry into the failure of its national chairperson, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, to take action against a group calling itself The Friends of VZ. The IFP has accused the group of sowing division within the party.

If Magwaza-Msibi is found to have put the IFP into disrepute, she is expected to be either suspended or expelled, which will rule her out as a candidate for the presidency of the IFP at its next election.

Weekend Witness has learnt that if Magwaza-Msibi is suspended or expelled, her backers plan to launch an urgent court interdict ordering that the IFP presidency election be postponed until she has exhausted all attempts to clear her name.

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