‘Payment for treachery’

2014-06-06 00:00

NATIONAL Freedom Party (NFP) leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi’s decision to accept the post of deputy minister of Science and Technology has been panned by opposition parties as payment by the ANC for her support.

Magwaza-Msibi, former mayor of the Zululand District Municipality, will be sworn in this afternoon following President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of her appointment yesterday.

IFP secretary-general Sibongile Nkomo said the party was not surprised by the development.

“This appointment is simply ‘payment’ by the ruling party to Magwaza-Msibi for her treachery.

“When she launched the NFP just before the 2011 local government elections, IFP president Prince [Mangosuthu] Buthelezi gave chapter and verse in Parliament on how she was being used by the ANC in an effort to destroy our party. The evidence was all there. President Zuma himself didn’t dispute it,” she said.

Nkomo said immediately after the 2011 elections, Magwaza-Msibi took all the votes received by the NFP straight into a coalition with the ANC, to take control of 19 hung municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

“She delivered IFP municipalities straight into the hands of the ANC. Again, the writing was on the wall,” said Nkomo.

DA KZN leader Sizwe Mchunu said his party was disappointed that Magwaza-Msibi had joined Zuma’s cabinet.

“She is yet another opposition leader that has been co-opted by the ANC with an offer of a high-paying government position,” he said, adding that Magwazi-Msibi had “effectively sold out her supporters”.

He said people had voted for her party because they wanted an alternative to the ANC. “If people wanted to support the ANC, they could just have voted for the ANC,” said Mchunu.

“After today, a vote for the NFP has become a vote for the ANC,” he said.

The ANC in KZN welcomed the appointment.

Spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said it indicated that Zuma always put the interests of the country before those of the party when constituting the national executive.

Magwaza-Msibi held a meeting at the party’s Durban head office yesterday to brief party members on her decision to accept the offer.

Speaking to The Witness, she said, “Those who are criticising my decision to serve in the national executive are spiteful and spreading cheap political propaganda.” She said both the DA and IFP had leaders who had served in ANC governments. “Those people just see the NFP as a threat because they realise that it is a growing party,” she said.

Magwaza-Msibi had consulted and received the NFP national working committee’s blessing before accepting the offer.

She said she would use the position to serve the country and to grow the NFP membership now that it had a national footprint.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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