Estcourt IFP feud gets ugly

2010-03-25 00:00

ONGOING infighting within the Inkatha Freedom Party is expected to take another turn this weekend as the party’s supporters in the Estcourt constituency organise a march against nepotism and the lack of service delivery against the IFP-led uMtshezi Municipality.

According to the party’s uMtshezi constituency secretary, Mthembeni Majola, who is also the chief organiser of the march, the protest is against alleged corruption and nepotism practices by uMtshezi Municipality’s top political office bearers who are also IFP leaders.

“Our top three municipality office bearers have their close relatives working for the municipality and we believe that necessary procedures like post advertising and interviews were not observed when they were employed.

“We want our leaders to account for the promises they made to our people when they were campaigning for election.

“Widows in our communities were promised a goat husbandry programme to alleviate poverty in the area, but up to now nothing has happened.

“We believe that money for that programme was secured, but up to this day the programme is non-existent. Someone must account for that,” Majola said.

He pointed out that relatives of the political leaders are employed as bodyguards, traffic officers, and sport officers, as well as in other departments.

Majola said the organisers submitted an application to the municipality to hold the march, and they are planning to hold it in Estcourt town tomorrow.

uMtshezi municipal manager Nonhlanhla Njoko confirmed they have received the application for a protest march from Majola.

Njoko declined to comment further on this issue and said the municipality is still considering the application.

The uMtshezi area, like most IFP constituencies at the moment, is believed to be divided into two factions — one supporting IFP national chairwoman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi to take over the party’s leadership after Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s retirement and another supporting IFP general-secretary, the Reverend Musa Zondi.

The infighting took an ugly turn last weekend when a house belonging to the party’s eMngwenya branch chairman, Mageba “Ngagara” Zulu, who is believed to be supporting the Zondi faction, was petrol-bombed.

Zulu told The Witness yesterday that prior to the attack, there was a confrontation between him and his “comrade” who supports the Magwaza-Msibi faction.

“We were using a loudhailer to announce a meeting that was going to be addressed by the IFP president at Loskop last weekend when … [name withheld] confronted us and threatened ‘to sort me out later’.

“At 1 am on Saturday, while I was asleep at my house, I heard gunshots outside. Two petrol bombs were later thrown into my house through the window. I did not see the assailants as I dived for cover when the attack happened,” Zulu said.

No one was injured, but Zulu said his clothes, curtains and about R3 000 cash were burnt.

Police confirmed that a case was opened and they are investigating a case of arson.

The IFP chairman in the uMtshezi constituency, Bhekithemba Dlamini, who is also the speaker of the local municipality, said the march being organised by Majola and reported factionalism within the IFP are just sour grapes on Majola’s part following the termination of his contract with the municipality.

“When Majola was still working for the council, he saw no reason to march against it, but now he is accusing us of all kinds of things and he is sowing the seeds of factionalism within the party. We have heard rumours that he is calling meetings, saying he wants to be the mayor.

“After hearing these rumours I called him to a meeting and told him it was divisive within the party. He was remorseful, but now he is back to his factionalist bickering again,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini insisted that the IFP in the uMtshezi constituency is united, despite attempts by Majola and his group to divide it.

“… we will never allow that to succeed,” said Dlamini.

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