IFP’s woes deepen

2014-05-23 00:00

THE IFP’s post-election woes are far from being over in KwaZulu-Natal.

First it lost its official opposition status in the provincial legislature to the Democratic Alliance. Then the party was dealt a double blow when its number of provincial legislature seats was slashed from 18 to nine.

The party was struck by a similar plight at the national Parliament level where it managed to cling to only 10 of the 18 seats it had won in the previous elections.

This effectively means that the funding the party receives for its public representatives to run constituency offices and manage its caucus in the legislature will be slashed by more than R20 million in the new term.

This will result in the closure of some constituency offices and the retrenchment of some of its staff.

This was confirmed by national chairperson Blessed Gwala, who said yesterday that their poor performance in the elections has had dire consequences for the party’s operations.

Gwala would not say how much they would lose out in party funding and the total number of offices facing closure.

“We have no choice but to close down some of the constituency offices. We don’t have an alternative way to subsidise the staff members,” Gwala said, adding that they would know the figures when the Independent Electoral Commission made the calculations.

This state of affairs has now left party officials worried about their future as job cuts are certain.

While there are no updated figures on the funding the parties receive, a document in the KZN legislature shows that MPLs were allocated R37 576 per month to set up constituency offices in 2009. This excludes funding allocated for parties to perform their duties in the legislature and carry out their constitutional mandates.

If the figures are anything to go by the IFP received R676 368 monthly in constituency funds which translated to R8 116 416 a year and R40 582 080 for the entire last term for its then 18 MPLs.

But, with its reduced numbers the IFP is set to get R338 184 a month, R4 058 208 a year and R20 291 040 over the next five years if the constituency funding remains the same.

Using the same figures the DA will get more than R22 million and the NFP more than R13 million this term in constituency fees alone.

Opposition leader Sizwe Mchunu said the increase in their funding meant they would increase their constituency offices and staff complement.

“After every election we check the total MPLs and MPs we have and then demarcate the province in line with the seats. That process is underway,” Mchunu said.

Minority Front’s Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi said reduction in their number of seats meant the imminent closure of their satellite office in Newcastle.

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