The ANC and the NFP hold a press briefing in Durban to announce their joint standing on Tuesday. (Jeff Wicks, News24)
Durban - A proverbial bun fight for portions of the National Freedom Party played out in Durban on Wednesday on the eve of the local government elections, with the Democratic Alliance and the ANC holding simultaneous press conferences with factions of the party.
The NFP was ruled out of the elections after failing to pay a registration fee to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
On Tuesday morning the DA revealed that the sitting NFP Nongoma mayor, Jeremiah Bhekumthetho Mavundla, would support the DA.
The NFP’s Youth League was expected to follow suit with the joint press conference with the DA scheduled for midmorning.
At the same time, the ANC hosted a joint conference with the leadership of the NFP.
ANC Provincial Secretary Super Zuma said that the leadership of the NFP in KwaZulu-Natal had thrown their support behind the ruling party.
Other NFP branches in inland provinces were not included in the agreement.
“We are convening on the eve of the election to make an important announcement that the NFP will vote with the ANC. The ANC and NFP came to the conclusion that our respective parties shared the same values,” he said.
Zuma said that the coalition was a new extension of a long-standing relationship, where the parties formed coalitions to oversee certain provincial municipalities.
“There have been some challenges in municipalities but the two parties have never differed in their shared goals in bringing development to the heart of formerly disadvantaged communities,” he said.
ANC supported NFP's bid to participate
Zuma said that the ANC has also been supportive of the NFP’s bid to pursue all legal avenues to participate in the elections.
“They have a key and dependable ally in the ANC. Although they remain a separate and distinct party, the differences never prevented the NFP and ANC to govern as a team.”
“We want to commend the leadership of the NFP for showing a deep sense of maturity and leadership in how it has pursued the challenge of not being eligible to participate in the elections,” he said.
Party officials from both the NFP and the ANC would accompany each other to voting stations in a symbolic show of allegiance.
NFP Women’s Movement member Happy Khuzwayo said that the decision to endorse the ANC was taken at a high level and would bind all lower echelons.
“The highest body [the national working committee and the provincial leadership] takes a decision which binds all the structures below it…we are in the process of consulting with their branches,” she said.
Speaking on the DA’s announcement that the NFP’s Youth League had joined their ranks, she said.
“We don’t know what youth movement they are talking about. We don’t know about any members who have defected and joined the DA…there will be some shenanigans with people who claim to be youth leaders.”
Khuzwayo said that any "defectors", in reference to NFP leaders who had publicly endorsed the DA, she said that they would be "dealt with internally".
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