KZN provincial secretary Super Zuma and provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli briefing the media on the latest developments in the NFP. (News24)
Durban - The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday said, while it sympathised with the National Freedom Party after its disqualification from the upcoming local government elections, its primary focus was winning at the polls.
"This is war, we are going to an election," said provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli.
The ANC was briefing the media on its elections campaign, the political killings in the province, and its position on the latest developments in the NFP.
The NFP had challenged the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) decision to disqualify it, but lost its case in the Electoral Court on Saturday.
The party, which was disqualified from the 2016 local government elections after it failed to pay the registration fee by the June 2 deadline, intends approaching the Constitutional Court to appeal the decision.
ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma said it was regrettable that the NFP had been excluded from the elections because the ANC believed in inclusion.
"The ANC is a party that believes in political plurality and the absence of the NFP from the upcoming elections will make the province poorer in terms of electoral choices presented to the voters."
When asked if the ANC would take full advantage of the NFP’s blunder, he said the NFP voters were more than welcome to vote for the ANC.
The NFP reportedly currently governs in Nongoma, Pongola and Dumbe and co-governs with the ANC in 14 hung municipalities in the province.
'Voters should be given a choice'
In the upcoming elections, it had intentions to reportedly contest 872 wards countrywide.
Zuma said: "We believe in democracy and that voters should be given a choice to exercise their right. If NFP, IFP or DA members decide to vote ANC, we will welcome them, but we cannot have a programme that says now that there is a problem with the NFP, this is what should be done.
"We are saying let the NFP be given a chance to exhaust all legal avenues and... we will engage afterward."
He said the ANC had been in consultation with the NFP in the last five years because it co-governed certain municipalities in the province, but was not prepared to divulge what the discussions were about.
"It is not new that we are in discussions and we want to give them space to deal with their internal issues, including the legal process and once that has been finalised we will engage in a formal way, if there is a need."
He said the ANC would not get involved or interfere in the NFP consultation process, of informing its members about the disqualification, because it did not want other parties to involve themselves in ANC internal processes.
"We respect their processes."
'Campaigning to win elections'
He said the ANC would make pronouncements if it did engage with party in the future.
"It would be difficult and irresponsible of us to predict what will happen after the Constitutional Court ruling.
"We are campaigning and mobilising all voters to vote for the ANC, including NFP, IFP and the DA. We want to win that municipality [Zululand] and we will win those municipalities as the ANC.
“We are on the ground. NFP voters can’t be immune to this process."
He would not entertain the notion that the party was trying to woo or enter into an arrangement with the NFP that would benefit the ANC.
"We were discussing the current arrangement in terms of the coalitions we had. The chairperson was correct to say that we are not campaigning to say we want to co-govern with a certain political party; that is out of our vocabulary at this time. We are campaigning to win all municipalities…
"We are campaigning to win elections," said Zuma.
The ANC recently announced that it was divorcing the NFP and that it would win all the municipalities in the province without going into coalition with any other party.
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