NFP off to ConCourt; threatens to make country ungovernable if IEC doesn't allow party on August 3 ballot

Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi, leader of the NFP, in 2010. (Sbonelo Ngcobo)

Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi, leader of the NFP, in 2010. (Sbonelo Ngcobo)

  The National Freedom Party (NFP) has vowed to approach the highest court in the land to challenge the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) judgment that it can’t partake in the upcoming local government elections.

    The IEC’s decision to bar the party from participating in the municipal elections on August 3 came after it failed to pay the commission the required deposit before the June 2 deadline. NFP spokesperson Sabelo Sigubu told the Mail & Guardian on Monday that party leaders were holding an urgent meeting in Durban to discuss options available to them going forward.

“Our supporters want to vote for the NFP, and the IEC is infringing on their right to vote,” said Sigubu. The party won 644 917 votes in 2011, which saw it winning more than 200 councillor seats in municipal councils around the country.

But the IEC is unfazed about the NFP’s threat to go to the Constitutional Court. It made it clear it will go ahead with its plan to print ballot papers on Tuesday that exclude the NFP.

Sigubu said the NFP was not about to throw the towel in the ring just yet and has warned that party members would make the country ungovernable if it was barred from participating in the local government elections.

Sigubu said if the IEC printed ballot papers that exclude the NFP, it would have no choice but to reprint them at a later stage or be forced to postpone the elections.

Senior NFP leaders, including chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe, his deputy Sicelo Mabika and general secretary Nhlanhla Khubisa, were forced to resign over the weekend for failing to ensure that the party paid its deposit on time. Earlier the party had admitted it missed the deadline because of a “leadership crisis”. 

  The party was formed on the eve of the 2011 local government elections. Its leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, who is also deputy minister of science and technology, has been out of politics since she suffered a stroke in November 2014. Since then, the party has been plagued by infighting that has threatened to tear the party apart.

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