Fear for delegates’ safety

2010-07-19 00:00

WITH a few days left before the Inkatha Freedom Party holds its elective conference this coming weekend, fears have been raised regarding the safety of thousands of delegates expected to converge on Ulundi to elect new leadership for the party.

On Saturday, during a march organised by rebellious IFP suppor­ters in Durban, eThekwini district IFP leader Mzonjani Zacharia Zulu appealed to national police commissioner General Bheki Cele to provide security for delegates at the coming conference.

“We do not trust that security provided by the present IFP security personnel will be able to provide unbiased security for all delegates.

“During the extended national council meeting last weekend, we were harassed by amabutho [warriors] armed with guns and spears, whilst we were searched before entering the meeting venue,” Zulu said.

Tensions are high between the supporters of IFP national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and those supporting general-secretary Reverend Musa Zondi. Last week Magwaza-Msibi supporters lost a Durban High court case whereby, among other things, they were applying for an interdict to force elections at the conference to be conducted and observed by independent institutions.

After the failure of the court action, thousands of IFP supporters in the eThekwini metro organised a protest march on the streets of Durban on Saturday. A memorandum was directed to the IFP leadership.

An impromptu rally was held at the steps of the city hall and speakers from different wings of the organisation addressed the crowd, most of it comprised of amabutho armed with traditional weapons.

Zulu said the march was the beginning of a rolling mass action for change within the IFP leadership “and will be taken to all the districts of the organisation if the call for change is not heeded by the leadership”.

Independent political analyst Nathi Mazibuko said the IFP’s problems have occurred as a result of its supporters’ thirst for democracy and change in the party after its 35 years of its existence.

“The situation within the IFP is explosive and can only be solved politically, not by intervention of security personnel,” she said.

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