War of words between IFP and NFP on the brink of real bloodshedding

IFP President Mangosuthu Buthelezi (m) and Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane during the launch of 2016 Municipal Elections in January. (Antonio Muchave/Sowetan/Gallo)

IFP President Mangosuthu Buthelezi (m) and Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane during the launch of 2016 Municipal Elections in January. (Antonio Muchave/Sowetan/Gallo)

Inkatha Freedom Party president Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Wednesday said his party would report to the police and the Independent Electoral Commission threats allegedly made against his supporters by members of the National Freedom Party.

The alleged threats come after claims reportedly made by NFP members that the IFP had paid some NFP members to sabotage the NFP and ultimately get it disqualified from the upcoming local government elections. The IFP has denied the allegation.

In a press briefing held at the party’s headquarters in Durban, Buthelezi said there were reported cases of assault in Mtshezi against IFP members.

Buthelezi referred to a letter he received from the party’s deputy national spokesperson Albert Mncwango on Wednesday which read: “It is very serious, in my view, considering the reports of what has subsequently happened in Nongoma, Bergville and Mtshezi where there are reported cases of assault of our members.

“I have reported the matter to [IEC chairperson in KZN] Mr Mawethu Mosery, particularly because the police in Nongoma are reported to be very lacklustre in their processes in their response.
I have also decided to go to Nongoma tonight to monitor the situation and restrain our members from retaliating.”

Mncwango was referring to an incident where NFP members allegedly vandalised a store belonging to a well-known IFP member.

Buthelezi read an attachment sent to him by Mncwango which was a Facebook conversation allegedly between NFP members Themba Dladla, Siyabonga Nkosi, Sibusiso Mathebela, Thanduxolo Ngcobo and Ivan Barnes.

Dladla posted a message asking why the IFP’s lawyers were present during the Electoral Court’s case between the NFP and the IEC on Friday. “What is the IFP lawyers doing in court, the matter is between the NFP and the IEC, not iNkatha … now this will cause the delay of the court ruling #pissed,”  [sic] read Dladla’s post.

Mathebela later asked if the IFP did not apply as friends of the court and added that he thought that the case was based on the case between the IFP and the IEC in a 2011 Mzumbe court case which led to the IFP being disqualified after it failed to submit its candidate lists to the IEC. Barnes then said that the IFP’s presence was not called for.

Ngcobo posted a message that suggested that the IFP stood to benefit more from the NFP’s election blunder than other parties. But it was Dladla’s comments responding to Ngcobo that seemed to concern Buthelezi. “If so Thanduxolo … we shall have by-elections soon … because people will die.” Ngcobo responded by saying there was an opportunity to start a funeral parlour.

Buthelezi also read a story published on Wednesday’s edition of the Isolezwe newspaper where members of the NFP had placed the blame of the party’s demise on the IFP.

IFP lawyer advocate Anthony Mitchell said the party attended the case strictly as an interested party. “We filed [the court] papers and the court said the IFP had something to contribute, which was upholding of the rule of law, that is what we did.”

Buthelezi said he was very concerned about the threats. “When people’s loved ones are killed they do not need orders from myself or the IFP to retaliate. This is something that no one will be able to stop.

“I call this the Samson option, in the Bible there was the story of Samson, there were Philistines who hated him because he was very powerful and when they removed his eyes, he decided to smash the building so that he should die with the people.

“I think that the NFP, just because it has no opportunity, it wants to spoil the entire elections and now wants to use our name as a pretext for what they were doing because when our lawyers decided to go to court, they did so to make sure that the rule of law was applied.” Buthelezi said the IFP had nothing against the NFP.

The NFP had challenged the Independent Electoral Commission’s decision to disqualify it, but lost its case in the Electoral Court on Saturday.

On Tuesday, 28 NFP members were arrested after they blockaded a busy road on the turn-off to Ulundi near Melmoth in KwaZulu-Natal. They were protesting against the party being disqualified after it failed to pay a registration fee by the June 2 deadline. The party on Wednesday said it was finalising papers to appeal the Electoral Court’s decision at the Constitutional Court.

NFP president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, who suffered a stroke in 2014, formed the party after breaking away from the IFP in 2011. – News24

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