Newcastle and its neighbouring towns find themselves yet again impacted by the South African political sector, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) cutting ties with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
This follows a press briefing on Sunday, 29 January 2023, where EFF leader Julius Malema officially announced that the political party has cut all ties with the IFP.
Furthermore, Malema said the EFF would now focus on initiating and supporting motions of no confidence in all IFP mayors in the municipalities in which they previously voted with them.
This all follows the political parties meeting earlier in January 2023, to discuss a balance in power-sharing within coalition municipalities.
These municipalities include the Zululand, Amajuba, uThukela, Umkhanyakude and King Cetshwayo district municipalities, as well as the Ulundi, Nongoma, Mtubatuba, uMhlathuze, Jozini, Dannhauser, Alfred Duma (Ladysmith), Nkosi Langalibalele (Estcourt), Abaqulusi (Vryheid), uPhongolo and Umhlabauyalingana local municipalities.
Malema stated that the EFF has communicated with the IFP’s leadership and has instructed EFF deputy mayors to resign and remain as ordinary councillors.
“The IFP has unfortunately adopted the arrogant and entitled posture of the racist Democratic Alliance and has confused the power it holds due to the support of the EFF as an election victory,” said Malema.
He added that the Central Command Team of the EFF and the Plenum resolved that the party should no longer be on the touchlines of governance and that the EFF must rather begin to occupy more meaningful roles of responsibility in local municipalities.
This decision now sees the Amajuba District Municipality’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sibusiso Sizani, having to hand in his resignation.
The EFF’s Cllr Sizani took his role as Deputy Mayor on 30 November 2021, when the Amajuba District Municipality elected and announced its new leadership.
With the District Municipality’s Deputy Mayor being forced to resign by his political party, the Amajuba District Municipality was contacted for comment on how this would affect the municipality and the municipalities under its care.
No official comment was forthcoming at the time of publication, as the District Municipality is still waiting for Cllr Sizani’s official resignation. Once this has been accomplished, the Municipality’s Speaker will provide comment.
However, the IFP’s president, Velenkosini Hlabisa, has made an official statement on the matter. During a press conference, Hlabisa said, “Following the events of the past few days, we felt it was important to state the IFP’s position on the latest developments impacting coalition government in South Africa.”
He noted that it is interesting to see political parties that initially took a stand against the ANC – against corruption and the impending downfall of South Africa – back in bed with the ANC again. Hlabisa said this was due to their own greed for power, positions, and contracts.
Reflecting further on the EFF’s decision to cut ties with the IFP, Hlabisa confirmed that the two political parties met on 20 January 2023.
He explained, “In the meeting, the EFF made a presentation, which firstly expressed their desire to govern a municipality in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal where they would demonstrate good governance by the EFF.”
During the course of the parties’ discussions, the IFP accused the EFF of arrogance and Hlabisa said that the IFP informed the EFF that they would not enter into any coalition arrangement that was inclusive of the ANC.
However, the IFP suggested that an opposition block arrangement could be consolidated to allow the EFF to lead eThekwini Municipality and further proposed changes in the construct of the coalition governments in Gauteng to incorporate the EFF in government – without returning the ANC into power.
“The EFF rejected these proposals, indicating that their deal with the ANC would proceed with or without us. It is important to add that at the robust behest of the EFF, we engaged the DA national leadership on consolidating the opposition block to keep the ANC out, and the DA was agreeable to meeting with the EFF. The meeting ended well, with full understanding that the coalition between the EFF and IFP had come to an end,” said Hlabisa.
Despite these developments, he explained that the IFP’s mission remains to take back KwaZulu-Natal, to govern honourably, and to turn around the current downward trajectory of the province.
He further enthused that the IFP would continue to champion self-help and self-reliance as tools to uplift the people of KZN and give them hope and tools to build a prosperous future.
Out of the 29 municipalities that the IFP currently governs, Hlabisa admitted that the IFP is only likely to lose one municipality because of this latest development. However, he did not divulge which municipality this would be.
In fact, he noted the political party would take the loss of one or two municipalities as and when this arises, and then let the citizens be the judges in 2024.
“We will not be new to the opposition benches in Gauteng and we will definitely not be dragooned into unholy coalitions with the ANC at the behest of the EFF,” he said, noting that the IFP’s track record in the recent by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal speaks of a Party very much on the rise, growing in support as the people become tired of the many broken promises of the ruling party.
“The IFP will not step aside or stand back, rather, we will continue to pursue a just, prosperous, and moral society, where everyone is able to develop to his or her fullest human potential. Our ten-point plan is the blueprint for this future, and all IFP-run municipalities will continue to strive towards achieving the goals set out in this plan,” he concluded.
With the Amajuba District Municipality and neighbouring municipalities now facing a tug-of-war between political parties, what are your thoughts on the above-mentioned?
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