IFP takes control of Nkandla

2012-12-07 00:00

THE Inkatha Freedom Party yesterday took control of the Nkandla municipality — President Jacob Zuma’s hometown — by snatching a seat formerly held by the ANC in a by-election held on Wednesday.

The IFP’s win gave the party its fourth council in the province.

Prior to 2011, it controlled all districts and the majority of local municipalities north of the Tugela River.

The IFP also won two other by-elections held in KwaZulu-Natal, retaining its seat in Ward 39 at kwaMashu and winning a ward in Hlabisa, previously held by the National Freedom Party.

The ANC retained its seat in Ward 72 in eThekwini in the fourth by-election held in the province on Wednesday.

The Nkandla by-election ended an acrimonious exchange in the town’s council, which saw the mayorship changing three times in the last two months.

After the 2011 election, the ANC and NFP entered into a coalition that saw them jointly run 19 municipalities, including Nkandla, where there was no party with a clear majority.

But the coalition broke down in Nkandla and resulted in the NFP siding with the IFP and then the ANC at various times, resulting in the changes in political leadership.

IFP uThungulu district secretary Thami Ntuli said they now had a clear majority in the Nkandla council and might reconsider their working relationship with the NFP.

Ntuli said the party did not anticipate that the ANC-led government would start withdrawing programmes from Nkandla, including a multibillion-rand upgrade dubbed “Zumaville”.

“We don’t think the development taking place in this area is politically linked,” said Ntuli.

IFP KwaZulu-Natal leader Blessed Gwala said the party was excited by the results.

He dedicated the kwaMashu victory to Themba Xulu, the IFP councillor who was found shot dead in Inanda in October.

Gwala described the Nkandla victory as “a particularly sweet one”, saying it showed that people differentiated between “community” development and service delivery for all, as opposed to “individual development and self-service”.

“We thank the people of Nkandla and we look forward to the broader consequences of this result,” he added.

NFP spokesperson Maliyakhe Shelembe said the kwaMashu by-election was not free and fair because of threats made against their members.

He ascribed the NFP’s loss in Hlabisa to his party being without resources compared to the IFP and ANC.

ANC spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said that the party was unhappy at losing the Nkandla ward.

“We need to go to the drawing board and find out what went wrong and correct it,” he said.

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