Party coalition may survive

2012-09-25 00:00

THE tenuous coalition at local government level between the ANC and the National Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal might not be at risk of imminent collapse.

But both parties agree there are serious pockets of discontent.

This comes off the back of Friday’s court order granted in the high court in Pietermaritzburg, restoring Nkandla ANC mayor Zandile Mcadi-Mpanza and her speaker and deputy mayor to their positions.

As reported in The Witness, the three were ousted on September 12 in a vote of no confidence passed by NFP and Inkatha Freedom Party councillors.

The IFP and NFP councillors were ordered to pay the costs of the application.

Since the 2011 local government election, NFP councillors have repeatedly sided with the IFP, despite a memorandum of understanding that NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi signed with the ANC provincial leadership.

The agreement saw the two parties dividing control of the Zululand region, with the NFP being handed the Zululand District Municipality and the ANC getting control of the uThungulu and uMkhanyakude.

All these areas were former IFP strongholds.

Nineteen councils in KZN are bound by the coalition.

However, the first council to buck the agreement was uMlalazi (Eshowe) just weeks after the elections. This was followed by Nkandla, Mbabazane and uMtshezi, with the ANC leadership being removed in all cases.

And while the ANC has been restored to power in these councils, an IFP source told The Witness it was likely that the NFP members would side yet again with the IFP to change the leadership at uMlalazi for a second time. This would likely be the case at the Ntambanana local municipality as well.

ANC regional secretary Sihle Zikalala said the ANC “cannot underestimate” the instability such actions have on governance, citing “contestation for positions” and “individual relationships” as reasons for the “coups d’etat” at local level.

“We have been quick to intervene, but we must try to be more proactive. We are firm that the coalition agreement between us and the NFP will stand until the next local election,” said Zikhalala.

NFP secretary-general Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa said the party had met the ANC to discuss the matter. He said occasions where the NFP sided with the IFP at local level were the exception rather than the norm.

He insisted the partnership was not under strain and that it was supported at the “grassroots level” of the party.

He said there “is no prospect” of the NFP reneging on the agreement, but he could not give assurances whether individual municipalities would differ.

IFP MP Albert Mncwango said the coalition had revealed that there are “no permanent friends or enemies” in politics.

He said the IFP had taken no national decision to assist the NFP in changing the leadership at municipalities.

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