IFP body endorses withdrawal

2004-04-25 09:15
Cape Town - The Inkatha Freedom Party's specially convened National Council meeting late on Saturday evening endorsed the withdrawal of two of its officials appointed to KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet by Premier S'bu Ndebele.

"The National Council is satisfied that the ministers did the correct thing by withdrawing," said the national spokesperson, Rev Musa Zondi.

Asked about whether a decision was taken by the council Zondi just said they would have to meet with the African National Congress.

He said it was "not a national issue" and discussions would be held at provincial level. Delegations from the two parties would continue with negotiations at still to be determined date.

Earlier on Saturday night Zondi said Ndebele had appointed Rev Celani Mtetwa and Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane without his party's express approval.

He said the IFP would not allow people outside the party to nominate for them.

"Even Mbeki did not do so, even Mandela did not do so, why should Ndebele do that," asked Zondi.

He said Friday's cabinet announcement was nothing more than a public relations exercise and not a "genuine commitment" to come together.

Zondi said the IFP wanted to participate in the provincial government with dignity and would be willing to forego cabinet positions if these was not respected.

IFP's top leadership was meeting in Durban the meeting to decide on the way forward, following the party's decision to withdraw two nominated MEC's from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet.

IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, national chairperson Lionel Mtshali and Zondi were among the top brass attending the meeting of the party's highest executive body, which party officials confirmed was originally scheduled for Sunday.

"(It is) a problem that needs to be sorted out, one way or the other," said Zondi late on Friday evening of the IFP's decision to withdraw Mtetwa and Ngubane from the provincial cabinet announced earlier that day by the new premier.

"The ANC delegation had agreed to give the IFP three portfolios in the negotiation process," Zondi added.

Meanwhile, speaking from a party perspective, African National Congress provincial spokesperson Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said on Saturday that the ANC was satisfied there was "no crisis and everything is going according to plan.

"It is incumbent on the colleagues of the IFP to sort out their internal problems," he said.

The newly constituted KwaZulu-Natal government, which for the first time was led by an ANC premier, also responded on Saturday, saying premier Ndebele was "firmly in control of governance" in the province.

"There is absolutely no crisis," said Dumisani Makhaye, MEC for Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs, in a statement.

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