The National Freedom Party’s chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe and deputy chairperson Sicelo Mabika have both resigned from the party following a decision by the party on Saturday to suspend several of its senior leaders.
The NFP held a special national working committee meeting at the weekend and resolved to suspend Shelembe, Mabika, general secretary Nhlanhla Khubisa and its treasurer Xolani Ndlovu, after the party was disqualified by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for failing to pay the required deposit for political parties.
The party’s spokesperson Sabelo Sigubu confirmed that both the chairperson and deputy chairperson have since resigned from the party. He said that the party had resolved to suspend the four senior leaders because they were directly responsible for missing IEC deposit deadline.
“The money was paid on the 23 of June when the deadline was actually June 2. It’s unacceptable,” said Sigubu.
Shelembe and Mabika were both responsible for overseeing the party’s electoral campaign as heads of the electoral committee, while the treasurer Xolani Ndlovu is accused of having failed to execute his duties and ensuring that party finances were handled properly. Sigubu however said that only Shelembe and Mabika have decided to leave the party and an investigation is still underway in relation to Khubisa.
The NFP had since took up IEC’s disqualification to the Electoral Court, which reserved judgment on the matter on Friday.
“We are expecting an outcome sometime this week, because this is an urgent matter, but we are confident the court will rule in our favour,” said Sigubu.
The NFP currently has over 220 ward councillors countrywide and governs the Zululand District Municipality. The party was planning to contest over 890 wards in the upcoming elections on August 3, which meant it had to pay about R400 000 as deposit to the IEC.
Sigubu said that many people were in danger of losing their jobs if the Electoral Court ruled against the party. He warned that the party was ready to approach the Constitutional Court, if all failed.
“We are going to boycott the elections, if necessary,” said Sigubu.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) came out in support of the NFP, arguing that disqualifying the NFP from participating in the elections in KwaZulu-Natal would be a violation of the voters’ constitutional right to vote for a political party of their choice.
The NFP, led by Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi, came to the political scene as a breakaway faction from Inkatha Freedom Party to contest the 2011 local elections. The party formed coalitions with the ANC in over 20 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.