NFP SG Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa and national chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe (Amanda Khoza, News24)
Durban – Two National Freedom Party leaders who resigned
from the party after it lost its case in the Electoral Court have explained
their reasons behind their surprise move to withdraw their resignations.
Secretary general Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa, national
chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe, treasurer Xolani Ndlovu and deputy national
chairperson Sicelo Mabika, were suspended at the weekend after they allegedly
failed to pay the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC)
registration fee by the June 2 deadline.
Ndlovu apparently sent the IEC a cheque, which bounced. He
allegedly paid the money after the deadline. The party 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.
Withdrew his resignation
The party had challenged the IEC's decision to disqualify it
after it failed to pay its registration fee by the deadline.
Khubisa and Shelembe resigned voluntarily at the weekend
after the party held a special national working committee (NWC) meeting on
Saturday. Both leaders have changed their minds and have submitted letters
withdrawing their resignations.
Khubisa, who resigned on Saturday and then withdrew his
resignation, said he was flabbergasted when he heard about a NWC meeting on
He said the meeting had been unconstitutional because to
convene a NWC or a NEC meeting, the president or the deputy president needed to
consult the chairperson.
"I was surprised and flabbergasted that a meeting was
convened in that manner...we were informed through hearsay that there was a
meeting and someone called me to inform me that there wasn't a quorum [minimum
number of members present at a meeting to make it valid]."
He said at the time he thought about the challenges faced by
"This was the time when we needed the party to
gel. We had the Electoral Court process
and we have the Constitutional Court coming, I looked at all these things and
thought to myself, would it not be proper to go to the grass root level and try
to mobilise the structures so that the party will be intact as it moved
- Elections Map: Previous NFP results
He received phone calls advising him against the decision.
"I got calls from Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi saying rethink
because I was needed in the party, especially at this time and I said to myself
that it was proper and prudent that I listen to the comrades and I withdrew my
He said in hindsight he questioned whether things were done
"What is of paramount important to me is to ensure that
as a party we gel, consolidate and move forward. There is still a process under
way. We said that if the Electoral Court does not favour us, we will take the
matter further to the Constitutional Court."
Khubisa said the party would approach the Constitutional Court
on Monday afternoon.
Shelembe, who resigned as the national chairperson on
Saturday, said his heart ached over what was happening because he loved the NFP
and had contributed a lot to the party since its formation.
He said he could not even tell his wife that he had resigned
and that she only heard after he had sent his letter of resignation. "She
was scared and disappointed."
He said while in the IFP, back in 2010, he was the one who
told the leadership that the lies fabricated against the then chairperson,
Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, were not good.
"All the lies that were fabricated against her, I had
to stand up and say I will die for the president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi. In
2014, people started fabricating lies about me after I took up the national
He said some members were celebrating that he had resigned.
"I was disturbed to hear that the meeting was called by
the NWC. I felt irritated that people can just regroup and claim that they are
forming a legitimate meeting."
Shelembe said he was told that the meeting was called
because kaMagwaza-Msibi intended to suspend him and other colleagues who were
involved in the IEC blunder.
He said people who were regrouping themselves and leading
the campaign, which was now starting to destroy the party, did not realise that
the NEC and NWC must respect the party’s constitution.
"It is clear that there are those people who are now
the agents of the president in the organisation, they will come out and say the
president said this and said that.
"What is important in the organisation is to sustain
what you have and gain more support. The more you enjoy taking hasty decisions
that are based on emotions, the more it affects the organisation."
He said the party was experiencing challenges.
"It is not good at this time to fight over a shaky
bridge, it is better to cross the bridge and then start our fight internally
Shelembe said the party could grow if there were no
boundaries between the NEC and the president.
"The wrong things that have been done, let's correct
them, we need to put our differences aside and unite and promote peace and
stability in the party."
One of the NWC members that convinced the pair to return to
the party said the NFP was not a tuck shop.
Layidliva Mbuthuma said, "If it was a tuck shop then
you can appoint your own cashier and manager. But this is an organisation.
There must be a conference where we can elect people we want, at this stage we
still have these leaders and we are happy."
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