After Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi’s departure from the IFP, in 2011, after 30 years, her party, National Freedom Party, will contest their first general elections in 2014.
The party contested its first election on May 18 when it participated in the 2011 Local Government Elections (LGE). In the election, the party managed to win 2.4% of the vote, two councils and 224 council seats. In KwaZulu-Natal, the party entered into formal coalitions with the African National Congress (ANC) in 19 hung councils.
Magwaza-Msibi announced her resignation from her old party on 26 January 2011, and then followed the formation of her own National Freedom Party (NFP).
The IFP also “dismissed” councillors (from several municipalities) accused of having joined kaMagwaza-Msibi’s party. The NFP seized control of the highly influential Zululand District Municipality from the IFP without a single vote being cast, when a majority of IFP councillors announced their move to the NFP.
2014 Elections Manifesto
The NFP launched its 2014 election manifesto on 16 February at Curries Fountain stadium, Durban. This is a summary of the key points:
A central tenet of the National Freedom Party approach to national governance is an emphasis on strengthening the capacity of local and district municipalities. The NFP believes such strengthened capacity will facilitate the process of speedily devolving the implementation of several national government initiatives to grass-roots level.
On basic education
Free, compulsory and high quality basic education for all children up to the age of 18 years;
Phase in an increase in the minimum requirement for a pass to 50% to bring the standard in basic education in line with tertiary institutions;
Improve the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy, especially in the elementary levels;
On higher education
Free high quality Further and Higher Education for students who meet entry requirements;
Introduce satellite campuses of major universities in adjacent districts where possible;
Restructure the current NSFAS system to allow students to repay only a portion of the loan upon successful completion of studies;
Phase out informal settlements and replace them with serviced sites which will be made available for ownership where people can build homes themselves;
Expand and accelerate the State’s obligation to provide decent housing with, at minimum, running water, electricity and an inside toilet;
On infrastructure development and maintenance
Strengthen the capacity of local and district municipalities to provide water, electricity and sanitation;
Phase out communal water taps and ensure that each household has access to running water in their houses and on their property;
The best possible quality health care service for all citizens to benefit equally where the principle of Bathopele will be applied consistently;
Reopen and expand nursing education colleges and regionally integrate them with a university in the area to ensure key standards and accreditation by the same institution;
Create more medical training facilities in all disciplines of national physical and mental health care to reduce the ratio of health care practitioners to citizens;
On economic development
Review the mandate of funding institutions to focus less on narrow commercial viability and more on economic development;
Scrap labour brokering in its entirety to promote job security;
Systematically increase the proportion of young people in the public sector to achieve an end goal of at least 50% youth employment;
Empower young people through increased and accelerated skills development program;
Create employment opportunities specifically for newly-skilled young people is a matter of high national priority;
Fight and eradicate all forms and instances of corruption from all levels of government without fear or favour;
Prioritise the development of a comprehensive code of conduct and performance management framework that will ensure collective performance and accountability of all public servants and representatives;
On social development
Increase child-support grants to R500 per month per child to keep pace with the continuous rising costs of feeding and caring for children;
Increase pensions for the elderly as well disability grants in order for such persons to be able to live a life of dignity;
Reduce the pension age for women to the age of 55.– edited by Sipho Kekana