IFP power battle goes to court

2010-11-03 07:43

The Pietermaritzburg High Court will today hear an application from IFP chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi who wants to stop her party from hauling her into an inquiry which may result in her expulsion.

She also wants the court to order the party to hold its elective conference, which has been postponed six times since July last year.

Intense lobbying for the IFP presidency has divided the party with Magwaza-Msibi supporters claiming she is being elbowed out of the race.

A number of IFP members have been dismissed for “sowing divisions” after they openly campaigned for her through the “Friends of VZ”, the group that supports her.

Scores of IFP supporters were expected to show their support for Magwaza-Msibi by picketing outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court this morning.

Magwaza-Msibi is not the only IFP leader that has taken the party to court.

Three expelled IFP members lodged court papers in the same court in July challenging their dismissals and the legality of the current party leadership.

Wiseman Mcoyi, Nhlanhla Khawula and Thokozani Zulu’s challenges have delayed the party’s elective conference several times.

The three were expelled from the party after they openly campaigned for Magwaza-Msibi. The court was expected to make a ruling later this year. The application by eight IFP district leaders to stop their bosses from taking disciplinary action against people backing Magwaza-Msibi was also dismissed by the Durban High Court earlier this year.

Their application was dismissed with costs.

Judge Dhaya Pillay said there was nothing in the IFP’s constitution giving party members the right to compel it to hold elections.

In the court papers lodged last week, Magwaza-Msibi claimed the party elective conference was postponed so that those who supported her could be removed.

She said she had been seen as a threat after IFP members said they preferred her to replace Mangosuthu Buthelezi on his retirement.

“I was seen as a threat to the established leadership and a popular candidate for the presidency position,” she said.

Her political enemies within the IFP had begun campaigns to prevent her from either standing or being elected, she claimed.?

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