IFP: 'They didn’t jump ship, we pushed them'

2011-02-15 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg leadership of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has denied reports that 14 out of its 30 councillors under uMgungundlovu District and its municipalities have defected to the newly-formed National Freedom Party (NFP), saying those who defected as councillors had already been expelled by the party.

Last week an NFP organiser in the uMgungundlovu district told The Witness that 14 IFP councillors from Mooi Mpofana, uMshwathi, Msunduzi , Impendle and from the district municipality itself, had defected to NFP.

At a meeting held at the IFP’s constituency office in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, district organiser Mbongeni Madlala dismissed the NFP statement “as wild and untrue allegations”.

“Some councillors were expelled by the party for unruly behaviour and being involved in activities of the so-called ‘Friends of VZ’, which divided the party and they were expelled before the NFP was launched ... Leaders like Ntokozo Bhengu must stop making fruitless statements to get support for his party. No councillors have defected as no resignation letter has been received by the party and they are trying to destabilise the IFP,” Madlala said.

Madlala produced sworn affidavits from two IFP councillors in the Mooi Mpofana municipality, Ernest Majola and Sphamandla Mchunu, in which they distance themselves from the defection report and commit themselves to the IFP until their term of office expires. He also produced IFP letters expelling three IFP councillors under uMshwathi municipality and promised to provide letters for councillors from other municipalities as well. However, at the time of going to print, the letters had not been provided to The Witness.

Mchunu said he was surprised by the report as the NFP had never even approached him to join it.

“I only know [NFP organiser]Bhengu because we were IFP councillors in uMgungundlovu. They are doing this deliberately because they want our party to expel us and give the ANC advantage over the IFP in our areas. It’s not going to happen as we are committed to the IFP,” Majola said.

Bhengu said some of the councillors who the IFP claims had been expelled are still working as councillors and others only received letters calling them to the disciplinary hearings long after they had publicly announced their defection to the NFP.

“I understand the situation facing some of the councillors who support us, as the level of intimidation is very high and others depend upon salaries as councillors for income,” Bhengu said.

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