Guest Column

Super fights Cyril as IFP steals Nquthu

2017-05-28 05:58
Paddy Harper

Paddy Harper

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Paddy Harper

Thursday. KwaZulu-Natal’s Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) boss, Blessed Gwala, is all grin and glasses. Mpephethwa, as he’s known in the kingdom, has every reason to look pleased. The voters of Nquthu have just given the ANC a 14-3 clap on behalf of Gwala and the IFP’s ancient leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Me and Mpephethwa go way back. As far back as the 1990s. My first wife was his homegirl and her mother, MaBiyela, was related to him, which may or may not have had something to do with him calling off the amabutho on an overcast day in Dukuduku just as they were about to slaughter me, then ANC peace negotiator Sipho Gcabashe, his bodyguard Musa Madlala and the group of about 50 teenaged comrades from Mtubatuba who we had been sent to “rescue”.

Back to Nquthu. The ANC’s back-room operators who came up with the strategy of taking Nquthu and the Mzinyathi region through the back door by calling for the by-election must be in deep trouble. The 14-3 win at ward level translates into 19 of 33 council seats for the IFP, which will now run Nquthu alone. I would have settled for the hung council and tried to win over the voters by making sure my council deployees delivered.

It’s easy to understand how the ANC could have thought its plan would work. It threw everything it had at Nquthu – all the big lahnees; all the motorcades of R500 000 cars blocking the town’s narrow main street and pissing off potential voters. It gave out thousands of T-shirts; hundreds of food parcels. Every ANC-run government department you can imagine opened up some facility in Nquthu in the run-up to the vote on Wednesday.

It was never going to win Nquthu, though. The divisions in the ANC region that led to the murder of Nquthu council speaker Vusi Ntombela in June 2015 are too deep. So are those in the party nationally. Provincial secretary Super Zuma spent more time criticising Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa than the IFP when CR17 came down to campaign for the ANC. Not exactly unity in action.

The IFP cats in Nquthu must be grinning even more than Gwala is. They stole a move from the ANC’s 1994 playbook, when the IFP was using state resources to campaign.

They kept quiet, took the food parcels, the new toilets, the new roads, the water that suddenly started flowing last month and the yellow T-shirts, then voted for the IFP. Gangster, if you ask me.

Follow me on Twitter @PaddyHarper1

Read more on:    anc  |  ifp
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