Infighting in NFP could spell chaos for elective conference

Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi
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The National Freedom Party(NFP)’s national elective conference next week could plunge into chaos. Two factions in the party are organising parallel conferences in different provinces.

The pro-Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi faction is planning to hold its national conference at Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal while the other faction is organising to have its gathering in the Free State.

The two factions are also operating from difference national offices in Durban.

NFP has, for the past six years, been plunged into squabbles and back-to-back court battles. The bone of contention is control for the soul of the party and infighting over limited seats particularly in KwaZulu-Natal.

The NFP’s squabbles date back to 2016, when the party failed to contest municipal elections. Some party conferences were shelved and others challenged in court due to infighting.

At some point in 2018, both factions tried to reconcile, however those attempts later collapsed.

Now the factions are organising parallel national conferences. Each faction claims it is the legitimate structure entrusted to convene the conference.

The party’s KZN chairperson, Vikizitha Mlotshwa, says they will be attending the conference that will be held in Free State.

“We are attending the conference that is going to be held in Free State. People who are planning are those that are abiding themselves with the court order. So therefore, most of the branches from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KZN and Western Cape nominated PG Mavundla to lead this party. When it comes to the election, then the constitution will be amended.”

Those aligned to party leader KaMagwaza-Msibi on the other hand say the Ulundi conference is the real conference. Acting NFP Secretary General Chris Sbisi says that the Ulundi conference is the one that has been announced by the party leader.

“”Ulundi is the only one conference that has been announced and pronounced by our leader. So concerning the second conference, we cannot address those issues. We have never heard that officially, you cannot just address things that people are discussing in taverns.”

Those organising the Free State conference have nominated former ANC chairperson in the iNkosi Bhambatha Region, Philani Mavundla, as their preferred candidate for the president’s position. Those who will hold their conference at Ulundi want to re-elect kaMagwaza-Msibi, unopposed, as party leader.