Barbs traded as NFP, IFP elect leaders
Skhumbuzo Miya and Thamsanqa Magubane, The Witness
Durban - While National freedom Party (NFP) founder Zanele Magwaza-Msibi was elected unopposed as the first president of the 10-month-old party, her former leader, IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, will likely get a deputy for the first time in 35 years.
Both parties held conferences at the weekend.
The NFP gathered for its inaugural conference at the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the IFP held its KZN provincial conference at Edgewood campus.
Among the resolutions taken by the IFP’s biggest province, was to establish a deputy president position, while reiterating a request to Buthelezi to continue leading the party beyond the national elective conference scheduled to take place early next year.
In his keynote address, Buthelezi accused the breakaway NFP of introducing corruption through “bribes and vote buying” within the IFP.
“Unfortunately this kind of corruption also entered the IFP with the antics of the ‘Friends of VZ’ [Magwaza- Msibi ]. We witnessed the setting up of bogus branches, bribery of members and leaders, the enrichment of tenderpreneurs and the buying of votes … For all practical purposes, the ‘Friends of VZ’ have left the IFP, but the remnants of the culture of corruption are lingering …”
Responding to Buthelezi’s attack on Sunday, Magwaza-Msibi appealed to him to leave her party alone “and concentrate on rebuilding his dying party”.
Former uMzinyathi mayor Mbangiseni Yengwa was elected unopposed as IFP provincial chairperson after the withdrawal from the race of Blessed Gwala, while former IFPYB leader Simo Mfayela was elected deputy.
Although there were two opposing camps with different leadership lists, most senior positions were elected unopposed after it was clear that the Yengwa faction had canvassed more support from party structures.
At the NFP conference, attended by over 2 000 delegates from eight provinces, Magwaza-Msibi challenged ill-disciplined members and those still sympathetic to the IFP, saying they are welcome to leave the party.
“We had incidents where some councillors decided to disobey the instructions of the national leadership. I want to stress that there are no free agents in this party, the members of this party are bound by its constitution and the members who failed to abide by this will have a problem.”
Political unknown Alex Kekana from the North West was elected as Magwaza-Msibi’s deputy, while uThukela District Deputy Mayor Maliyakhe Shelembe beat Zululand Speaker Mpiyakhe Hlatshwayo to become the national chairperson.
Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa became the secretary-general, beating Dr Cedric Xulu, and Phumlani Zwane of Gauteng took the deputy national chairperson. Scelo Mabika of Mkhanyakude (Jozini) became deputy secretary-general.