NFP to make a call on Magwaza-Msibi’s role

2014-05-12 00:00

THE NFP is expected to hold a special national executive committee meeting today to decide if its leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi should serve at the provincial legislature or in Parliament.

The decision is a critical one for the party — if she is based in Cape Town it could compromise the party’s prospects for future elections.

Magwaza-Msibi is currently the mayor of the Zululand district and appears on the candidate lists for both Parliament and the KZN legislature.

She told The Witness that people had voted for the NFP on the basis that she would represent the party in Parliament.

“We are meeting [today] to take a decision on that matter. It is the growth of the party that will be of importance when we take that decision,” Magwaza-Msibi said.

National chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe echoed her sentiments, saying the special meeting today would decide what should happen.

“When we decide on the matter we have to consider how we forsee the future of the party in relation to the results we obtained.

“We also have to consider how we are continually growing the party,” Shelembe said.

Today’s meeting will also have to consider who should occupy the six seats each in Parliament and KZN legislature among the party’s leaders who hold senior positions in councils the NFP controls with the ANC.

These include Magwaza-Msibi, Shelembe, general secretary Nhlanhla Khubeka and provincial leader Vikizitha Mlotshwa, among others.

Should the party decide that its leaders should head for the legislative body, it will need to find replacements.

This could provide a litmus test for the party, especially with municipal elections in two years’ time and the knowledge that the ANC is eyeing control of the Zululand District.

There are fears that the ANC could enter into a working relationship with the NFP and if Magwaza-Msibi was given a role in national government, the party would be in jeopardy as she could be preoccupied with government work rather than party activities.

Last month, ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete said the ruling party could consider a relationship with the NFP after the elections considering how they co-operated in hung councils.

Yesterday, both the NFP and ANC said there have been no talks on any working relations between the two parties.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said: “We do not have plans for her. If she wants to go to Parliament, she must just go.”

He said the ANC’s plan to take control of Zululand would not be determined by whether Magwaza-Msibi stayed at the helm of the council.

Magwaza-Msibi said her party had not been approached by the ANC, but the party wanted to serve the people.

Political analysts said the NFP would have to tread carefully on where to deploy its leader.

University of KZN politics lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said if the NFP leader went to Parliament the IFP’s breakaway party would be weakened.

“She needs to work in the province. It is a fact that the NFP is a regional party. If she goes to Parliament, who will be left to mobilise for the 2016 municipal elections?” Ndlovu asked.

“It would be wise if she remains as a mayor or is at the legislature. If she goes to Parliament it would be a big mistake,” he added.

Mcebisi Ndletyana, of the Mapungubwe Institute of Strategic Reflection, said it would be advisable for Magwaza-Msibi to consider playing a role where she would make the biggest impact.

“Helen Zille knew that the DA was concentrated in the Western Cape. If she [Magwaza-Msibi] goes to Parliament, she will lose this prominence. As a mayor she has a platform. They can tout Zululand as a place where the NFP has governed,” Ndletyana said.

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