Rift in IFP deepens as Magwaza-Msibi takes party to court

2010-10-28 00:00

EMBATTLED Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi has secured an interim court interdict from the high court in Pietermaritzburg preventing the IFP from expelling her or instituting any disciplinary action against her.

The interdict comes in the wake of reports that Magwaza-Msibi was going to be expelled from the party at its national council meeting scheduled for Saturday.

In an interview with The Witness earlier this week, IFP national spokesperson Musa Zondi confirmed that the inquiry on Magwaza-Msibi’s conduct is part of the agenda for the national council meeting.

In July the IFP instituted an inquiry to investigate the role of Magwaza-Msibi on activities of a group called the “Friends of VZ Magwaza-Msibi” — an internal group within the IFP that advocates for transformation.

Reliable information obtained by The Witness yesterday revealed that, in her endeavour to secure the interdict, Magwaza-Msibi had to retain the services of respected KZN lawyer Advocate Kemp J Kemp who helped President Jacob Zuma when he was facing corruption charges. The charges against Zuma were subsequently withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority before last year’s elections.

Sources within the IFP said the court papers were delivered to the IFP offices on Tuesday afternoon and another batch was delivered yesterday.

The court papers are interdicting the IFP from taking any action against Magwaza-Msibi until this matter goes to court next Wednesday or on November 12, 2010.

“The situation is tense here after the delivery of the court papers. Although the matter is known amongst us, we don’t discuss it with one another because we no longer trust each other. Some people support the national chairperson and others support the general-secretary [Zondi]. The morale at the IFP offices has never been this low,” the source said.

Zondi said he was not aware of the interdict and referred the newspaper to IFP national organizer Albert Mncwango. Mncwango also denied knowing about the court action but said Saturday’s national council meeting is going ahead “whether there are court interdicts or no court interdicts”.

The IFP is facing enormous internal squabbles in its 35-year history which have recently seen the party being divided into two factions — one supporting Zondi and the other Magwaza-Msibi to take over leadership after party leader Mangosuthu Buithelezi’s retirement.

As a result of this conflict the party has failed to hold its elective conference which was scheduled to take place in July this year. The party has since indefinitely postponed the conference.

Magwaza-Msibi is not the first IFP leader to take her party to court. In July this year, IFP members from seven districts unsuccessfully took the party to the high court in Durban in an attempt to force it to hold an elective conference.

There is also another court case involving party veteran Wiseman Simingayesonke Mcoyi who, together with three other expelled IFP leaders, are challenging the legitimacy of the entire IFP leadership following the party’s failure to hold an elective conference for more than a year.

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