IFP rebels in secret talks

2010-12-08 00:00

THE Witness can reveal that Inkatha Freedom Party mayors, councillors and constituency leaders who embrace change within the party, including those who had been recently expelled from the party, are going to hold a hush-hush conference in Pietermaritzburg today.

The expelled IFP mayor of the Okhahlamba municipality, Vikizitha Mlotshwa, confirmed in an interview with The Witness last night that the decision to organise this “secret conference” was taken at a meeting attended by uThukela IFP councillors and constituency leaders, which was held at Bergville yesterday.

“I can confirm that [the] meeting will be attended by IFP councillors and leaders from all over the country. Because of fears that it might be attacked like the eNseleni event at the weekend, we are not going to disclose the venue of the meeting, but it’s definitely going to take place in Pietermaritzburg,” Mlotshwa said.

He said yesterday’s meeting was attended by most councillors from all municipalities under the uThukela district except for Indaka, which was having a full council meeting yesterday. Recently expelled uMtshezi mayor Maliyakhe Shelembe was also present, Mlotshwa confirmed.

Prior to yesterday’s meeting, The Witness had been reliably informed that the reason behind the convening of the meeting is to effect an en masse resignation of all IFP councillors in solidarity with the recent spate of expulsions of IFP councillors and leaders who are suspected of being supporters of the IFP national chairperson, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi.

Mlotshwa said the meeting decided that those who embrace change will now do so openly, despite threats of expulsion “as only few months are left before the expiry of our terms of office”.

At today’s meeting, Mlotshwa said, the formulation of next year’s election manifesto and choosing election co-ordinators for each IFP constituency will be among the issues to be discussed .

He also confirmed that several councillors received letters yesterday informing them of their expulsion from the IFP, but said they have briefed their lawyers and are going to launch a high court application to nullify the expulsion.

IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango said he is not aware of the planned conference, but warned that strong action will be taken against all those who participate “as that conference is not sanctioned by the leadership”.

Regarding yesterday’s uThukela meeting, Mncwango said they were aware that the plan is for IFP councillors in uThukela to resign en masse, “but we are still communicating with our intelligence sources to get information on what transpired at that meeting”.

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