Magwaza-Msibi’s legal challenge postponed

2010-11-04 00:00

BELEAGUERED Inkatha Freedom Party national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi said she was forced to take the IFP to court “to protect members of the party against continued threats of expulsion and to fight against injustices taking place within the party”.

Magwaza-Msibi was speaking outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday after Acting Judge Philip Nkosi postponed her application to force the IFP to refrain from hauling her before a disciplinary hearing that might lead to her expulsion.

Nkosi ruled that Magwaza-Msibi’s application will be heard before the high court on November 12, together with that of three IFP members who are challenging their expulsion from the party and the legitimacy of the current IFP leadership.

The three expelled members, Wiseman Mcoyi, Nhlanhla Khawula and Thokozani Zulu, are also calling for the party to hold an elective conference because the current leadership’s term of office has long expired.

They were expelled for campaigning for Magwaza-Msibi’s election as party president after current leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s retirement.

Magwaza-Msibi is fighting for the position with former IFP Youth Brigade chairperson Reverend Musa Zondi, who is believed to be Buthelezi’s preferred candidate.

She said, “I have always been a loyal member of the Inkatha for the better part of my life. It has never dawned on me that one day I would be taking my beloved party to court. But I had no alternative. I want members of the party and the IFP constitution to be protected as well as our rights to choose, which is enshrined in the SA Constitution.”

She added that she had previously declined nominations to run for the presidency of the party because she was put under pressure to decline.

“Now I cannot fight democracy and will stand if the people want me to. I will always respect the will of the people. If I did not take this action [court action], I would have been expelled like some of my supporters.”

She denied any knowledge of reported plans to establish a new political party.

Reports circulating last week revealed that Magwaza-Msibi’s supporters and expelled members are planning to establish a “New Freedom Party”.

Hundreds of Magwaza-Msibi’s supporters converged on the high court and police had to bar some from entering the courtyard.

Senior party leaders were conspicuous by their absence at the court.

Angry Magwaza-Msibi’s supporters burnt a T-shirt with the picture of IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi outside the court.

Among the top former IFP leaders present at the hearing were Mcoyi, uMtshezi Mayor Maliyakhe Shelembe, former IFP deputy secretary for KwaZulu-Natal Mziwamandla Mzobe and Inkosi Zenzo Zungu of Empangeni.

Magwaza-Msibi entered the court accompanied by her husband, Mandla Msibi, and a horde of bodyguards. She was dressed in a khaki two-piece outfit with a matching hat while her husband wore a striped fawn designer suit with a striped orange tie.

A large contingent of police was deployed to control the crowd and traffic police were on hand. Part of Church Street between Boshoff Street and Chief Albert Luthuli Road was closed for some time.

The IFP national organiser, Albert Mncwango, reportedly threatened that IFP members who go to court will face disciplinary action.

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