Two years after her stroke, NFP head is back in the House

2016-11-27 10:32
Zanele Magwaza-Msibi

Zanele Magwaza-Msibi

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A glowing Zanele Magwaza-Msibi used the chaos in the National Assembly during last week’s no-confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma to quietly return to her parliamentary seat and lead her National Freedom Party (NFP) caucus.

She was absent from Parliament for about two years, after suffering an almost debilitating stroke.

“I am doing pretty well, as you may have noticed for yourself during one of the parliamentary sessions I attended recently,” she told City Press this week.

“My health has improved significantly, resulting in my medical team seeing fit to ­allow me to gradually ­return to my duties as an MP as well as the deputy minister of science and technology.”

Magwaza-Msibi added that she returned to her deputy ministerial duties back in February but only went to the office three days a week, on the advice of her medical team “who insist that I take things slowly”.

She suffered a stroke on November 16 2014, just six months after Zuma appointed her to the executive.

This was after the NFP, then three years old, clinched about 290 000 votes in the May 2014 general elections – and, in so doing, became the fifth-best performer at the polls.

It earned the party six seats in the National Assembly.

The NFP was instrumental in helping the ANC increase its reach and take over municipalities which, until then, had been the stronghold of the Inkatha Freedom Party, by agreeing to form coalitions in those municipalities.

She also made a rare public appearance in Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal when the ­party launched its election manifesto in June, but was so weak that she was unable to deliver her keynote address.

She is now able to walk without assistance but is still regaining her speech, which was affected by the stroke.

Part of this interview was done in writing as she could not conduct lengthy ­verbal discussions.

Despite her challenges, Magwaza-Msibi said she had been involved in party matters, providing necessary directives and giving guidance where needed.

She stressed that the NFP was not a “one-person party” as the leaders of the national executive and national working committee were responsible for running party affairs.

“They have done tremendous work thus far,” she said.

She was full of praise for Zuma and his ­entire Cabinet:

“They have constantly checked on my progress and lent all the ­necessary support I needed during the ­entire time, something I am very grateful for.”

Read more on:    nfp  |  jacob zuma  |  zanele magwaza-msibi  |  politics

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