Durban - The battle for the heart and soul of the National Freedom Party is on as the national executive committee (NEC) claimed on Monday that it was the legitimate structure and not its national working committee (NWC).
Divisions have deepened in the party after it lost its case in the Electoral Court on Saturday and was informed that it would not be allowed to contest the 2016 local government elections.
The party had challenged the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) decision to disqualify it after it failed to pay its registration fee by the June 2 deadline.
In a press briefing called by the NFP Youth Movement on Monday, the party's secretary general Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa and chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe, who resigned from the party on Saturday after a National Working Committee meeting at the weekend, withdrew their resignations.
President of the youth movement Sibusiso Mncwabe said they were disturbed to hear that there had been a national working committee meeting on Saturday called on behalf of the president, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi.
"In that meeting we are told that the treasurer general Xolani Ndlovu, the secretary general Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa, chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe and the deputy national chairperson Scelo Mabika were suspended following what happened with the IEC."
Mncwabe said the youth movement learnt on Sunday that the secretary general and the chairperson had resigned.
"We worked very hard on Sunday to convince them to withdraw their letters and the secretary general and the chairperson have done that and we are proud of that."
He said people should not be suspended or resign from the party while the party was facing a predicament.
"The party is in a serious challenge and we want reasons why this is happening especially since the national conference is in December. This decision [to have the meeting] was taken without the consultation of autonomous structures."
Mncwabe said as the president of the youth, he was not informed about the meeting.
"We sat with these comrades [Khubisa and Shelembe] and told them that the party needed them."
Despite the Electoral Court's decision, the youth movement said it did not accept that the party was not contesting the elections.
"Whoever is responsible for that must be dealt with but in a manner that does not collapse the party, that is Constitutional; that brings hope and dignity in the party.
"What has happened in recent days is a total collapse of the party which is not acceptable and we do not accept it as the youth."
He said proper procedures should be followed.
"These comrades [Khubisa and Shelembe] who started the court process must finalise the matter because we are still coming back after the elections and the court challenge, to see where things went wrong and who should be dealt with accordingly.
"We cannot, in the midst of a war, start attacking each other."
He said the youth movement would be meeting kaMagwaza-Msibi soon to discuss the latest developments.
"It has come to our attention that what happened on Saturday was not her will. We do not want to say that the president has done this and the president has done that. We are the legitimate structure and we are going to meet the president… but for now we will not allow anyone to be suspended, we don't want anyone to resign or jump ship. Let us cross over, whether it is dark or blue."
Mncwabe said the party was challenging the IEC's legal system.
NFP youth movement spokesperson Sibusiso Ngema said: "What has surprised us about the so-called NWC that has suspended our leaders is that procedurally, according to the constitution of the party, it is only the chairperson of the party that has powers to call a NWC meeting in consultation with the president of the party."
He said the NEC was not informed about Saturday's NWC meeting and was not part of it.
However, kaMagwaza-Msibi's spokesperson has since confirmed that she had in fact called the meeting.
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