NFP leader suffered stroke - report

Amanda Khoza, The Witness

Durban - National Freedom Party president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi is being closely monitored in an intensive care unit after allegedly suffering a stroke on Sunday.

The Witness understands kaMagwaza-Msibi, 52, who is also the deputy minister of science and technology, collapsed while getting dressed in her bedroom in Ulundi on Sunday morning. She was apparently rushed to the Medi­Clinic hospital in Newcastle in a critical condition.

KaMagwaza-Msibi rose to fame when she broke away from the Inkatha Freedom Party and formed the NFP in 2011. She served as Zululand District mayor for 15 years before she was appointed deputy minister.

Silence

But now a veil of silence has been drawn around the politician.

It was reported on Monday that kaMagwaza-Msibi was transferred to eThekwini Hospital, but the hospital had denied this.

KaMagwaza is reportedly in a critical but stable condition, but several sources in the party, and some close to the leader, told The Witness she was not responsive.

NFP spokesperson Canaan Mdletshe downplayed rumours of a stroke, saying kaMagwaza-Msibi had been hospitalised after her family advised her to rest.

“KaMagwaza-Msibi is being treated for exhaustion. It will be recalled that kaMagwaza-Msibi led the NFP’s election campaign during the 2011 local government elections and this year’s general elections and has never rested.

“After being appointed as the deputy minister, she has worked hard and travelled extensively, campaigning for the party and doing government work, including travelling abroad,” said Mdletshe.

Condition kept under wraps

The Witness understands from reliable sources that kaMagwaza-Msibi has been in ICU since Sunday.

“Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi had a stroke last night [Sunday] but the NFP is keeping it under wraps,” said one source, who asked not to be named.

Another source confirmed kaMagwaza-Msibi was is a serious condition. “It’s not looking good. She has not talked since Sunday. Doctors said she may not be able to walk or talk,” said the source.

Another source said politics had taken its toll on her, and recalled how deflated kaMagwaza-Msibi was when she allegedly got bumped as a speaker at an event.

“The minister took over the programme and she became the main speaker. She [kaMangwaza-Msibi] was stressed because she felt used by the ANC, but instead she became irrelevant,” claimed the source.

On Monday afternoon, the ANC in the province wished kaMagwaza-Msibi a speedy recovery.

ANC’s provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said: “Our prayers are with her and her family during this difficult time, and we wish her a speedy recovery. She is one of the eminent leaders in the society and we work with her organisation in a number of municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.”

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