NFP split avoided: leaders agree to vote with ANC

2011-06-09 00:00

A STRUGGLE that was threatening to tear apart the newly formed National Freedom Party was amicably resolved yesterday when its councillors in Umtshezi and Imbabazane, near Estcourt, agreed to vote with the ANC during the inauguration of the two councils yesterday.

KwaZulu-Natal NFP election manager and former Okhahlamba mayor Vikizitha Mlotshwa confirmed that the election of office bearers of the two municipalities proceeded smoothly, with ANC and NFP councillors voting together for candidates nominated after a joint sitting of the two parties.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-govern 19 hung municipalities last week, but that agreement was put into jeopardy a day after its signing when NFP councillors in Umlalazi in Eshowe voted with the Inkatha Freedom Party to install an IFP mayor, Stan Larkan.

During the sitting of the Umtshezi Municipality, NFP councillors sided with the IFP and elected NFP councillor Bhekithemba Dlamini as mayor, while in Imbabazane the NFP and the IFP had a similar agreement to vote together.

The Imbabazane sitting was postponed at the eleventh hour, allegedly to give the NFP an opportunity to resolve its internal problems.

Mlotshwa said before the start of yesterday’s sitting in Umtshezi that Dlamini had withdrawn his nomination for the mayorship.

He was re-nominated during the sitting yesterday, but withdrew again, which made way for ANC councillor Bongani Derrick Dlamini to become the new mayor. NFP councillor Dlamini was elected unanimously as the deputy mayor.

In Imbabazane the ANC’s Phindile Gladys Strydom and Mondli Mkhize were elected as mayor and speaker respectively, while the NFP’s Mbuzeleni Mkhize was elected deputy mayor.

This means that the co-governance agreement between the ANC and the NFP has now been carried out without any hindrances in all 19 of the hung municipalities.

The NFP’s national working committee (NWC) held a special meeting on Sunday to discuss the matter. Rogue councillors were read the riot act and were allegedly told to co-operate or resign as party councillors.

The NFP’s leaders in Uthukela, Mlotshwa and Maliyakhe Lymon Shelembe, held a meeting with the rogue councillors on Monday, and the they agreed to co-operate with the ANC according to the terms of the MOU.

The Umlalazi councillors have tabled a vote of no confidence against the IFP’s mayor, Stan Larkan.

This is expected to be brought before the council soon.

NFP spokesperson Zanele Cele said the party is relieved and happy that the impasse has been amicably resolved.

“We are looking forward to concentrating on service delivery for our people,” Cele added.


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