Crunch week for IFP rebels

2011-01-22 17:24

IFP rebel Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and her supporters have eight weeks to register their fledgling political party – which will be made public on Tuesday – if they are to make the cut to contest the coming local government elections.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission, if they fail to do so they will be forced to contest the elections as independent candidates, losing out on potential proportional representation seats at council level.

The party will sorely need these seats if it is to make any impact on the political landscape.

With the door to any reconciliation with IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi slammed firmly shut this week from both sides, she ­faces expulsion at a party disciplinary hearing next weekend.

The coming weeks are critical for Magwaza-Msibi and her backers.

On Friday Buthelezi used his online presidential letter to again slam his former protégé, saying his lieutenants had attempted reconciliation with her and failed.

Buthelezi said she and her supporters had not “betrayed the ­party’’ for ideological reasons but for personal gain and “ambition’’.

Magwaza-Msibi told City Press she would not appeal against last Tuesday’s High Court judgment which set aside her application to force the IFP to hold its elective conference – postponed six times – and prevent it from conducting a disciplinary hearing against her.

“Perhaps it was good that the judgment was in favour of the IFP.

I don’t know what would have happened had the court ruled in my ­favour,” she said.

“After the judgment they were carrying a coffin and saying they had put me to rest as national chairperson.

With everything that has happened I am not going to a disciplinary hearing to be humiliated. The party has already carried out what amounts to a constructive dismissal against me.”

Magwaza-Msibi and other leaders axed from the IFP for backing her have spent the past week consulting their structures and supporters on the way forward.

They’ve also held talks with traditional leaders in the province to seek backing for a new party.

Magwaza-Msibi, who remains an IFP member of the provincial legislature in KwaZulu-Natal after being “redeployed’’ from her highly influential position as mayor of the Zululand district municipality, said she would not join the ANC or any other party.

“I have been accused of trying to take the IFP to the ANC on a platter, of being paid by the ANC.

This is not true.

I will not join the ANC.

I will not join any other existing party.

I believe that we need a viable, effective opposition to keep the ANC on its toes,’’ she said.

She refused to be drawn on what areas the new party would target in local government elections, but indications are they will go all-out to take a slice of the vote in the Zululand, Uthungulu, Mkhanyakude and Mzinyathi district municipalities and put up candidates in smaller numbers in the eThekwini metro and in other provinces outside KwaZulu-Natal.

Councillors and other leaders loyal to her have been holding meetings in all four districts this week, while she will lead a team to hold talks with IFP members in Eastern Cape in the coming week.

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