NFP factions back in court to challenge leadership of party

NFP leader Teddy Thwala said the party would consult its legal team over the new court case. l WILLEM PHUNGULA

NFP leader Teddy Thwala said the party would consult its legal team over the new court case. l WILLEM PHUNGULA

Published Feb 25, 2024


Durban — Competing factions of the National Freedom Party are still embroiled in a bitter legal fight where members opposed to the election of the leadership in a conference held in December, filed papers in the Pietermaritzburg High Court last week.

The matter is expected to be heard on April 30. While other parties are busy launching their election manifestos, the NFP party is still embroiled in a bitter legal fight for the soul of the party. Certain party members in one faction are challenging the election of the leadership.

In the court papers that was seen by the Daily News, the faction stated that its decision was prompted by the continuation of the leadership to regard itself as the legitimate leadership despite the electoral committee decision which nullified it.

In the conference that was held in Durban, former student leader Irvin Barnes was elected president by defeating eThekwini deputy mayor, Zandile Myeni. Former United Democratic Movement provincial leader, Teddy Thwala, was elected secretary-general. Thwala confirmed the case against the leadership, saying it was disturbing the party’s preparation for elections.

He said the party’s legal team is being consulted on the matter, adding that he supports the idea that an interim national executive committee should take over the affairs of the party until the finalisation of the court process.

Another faction led by Canaan Mdletshe, who was elected as secretary-general in the 2019 conference, expressed its disappointment at the latest development, saying it was worrying that there were people who at the crucial time go to court instead of sitting down to resolve their differences.

Mdletshe urged all the factions to come together and resolve their differences for the sake of the party to contest elections, adding that his faction was currently trying to mediate to resolve the matter between the aggrieved parties.

“I would like to appeal to the factions that are in court to resolve their issues out of court for the party to be able to contest elections. I think by now as the NFP we should have realised that court is not the right place to resolve political issues,” said Mdletshe.

With the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) likely to announce the deadline for parties to pay deposit to contest elections this week, it is not clear which one between the Interim National Executive Committee and Barnes leadership will be accepted by the IEC as the legitimate structure.

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