The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Friday said it will meet the African National Congress (ANC) in court as the ruling party threatened to interdict its rival from meeting mere metres away from its own rally.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nomfundo Mcetwya said the party would seek an urgent application from the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday to prevent the IFP from holding a meeting in Nseleni, Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The IFP meeting is set down for Sunday as the ANC simultaneously holds a rally about 500m away at the Esseleni Playground.
The ruling party said it expected ”chaos” should the IFP proceed with its meeting, hence its decision to interdict it from doing so.
”It is clear to us that they are trying to disrupt our rally just like they did in Nongoma,” Mcetwya said.
Nseleni is seen as an IFP stronghold, as is Nongoma, where ANC supporters were attacked while going to a rally in January, following a war of words between ANC and IFP leaders.
The IFP has denied the ANC’s claims, maintaining that preparations for its meeting started in December. The party remained adamant about holding its meeting in Nseleni.
”We haven’t received any notification of court action … even that [court action] is very provocative. If they are determined, then we will meet them in court,” said IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango.
He said the IFP had initially obtained permission from local leaders to hold the meeting at the Esseleni Playground, but ”in the interests of peace” opted to let the ruling party use it.
”… Do they want us to hold our meetings in the sea … we were granted permission but police informed us about their [ANC] rally so we said if these bully boys want to use the stadium, fine, let them take it,” he said.
The ANC rally will be attended by ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa, the party’s provincial chairperson, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele.
After the Nongoma incident, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and ANC president Jacob Zuma held talks on their members’ political intolerance, later issuing a statement condemning violence and intimidation ahead of the elections.
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chief electoral officer in KwaZulu-Natal Mawethu Mosery said the electoral code of conduct states that parties should refrain from holding meetings at the same time in the same place.
He said the IEC would prefer it if ”a solution was found without having to go to court”.
”We would be happier if they interacted to resolve this matter,” he said.
The IFP planned to present a dossier to the IEC detailing complaints against the ANC, specifically around the ruling party holding rallies at the same time and in the same place in which it had scheduled meetings, said Mncwango.
”We are sick and tired of this … and we are not the only ones to complain, Cope [Congress of the People] has complained, the DA [Democratic Alliance] has complained, UDM [United Democratic Movement] has complained,” he said.
Mosery said the IEC has received a submission on the Nongoma incident and would be interacting with the parties involved to resolve the matter. — Sapa