NFP uses late leader, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, as face of campaign
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DURBAN - THERE was mixed reaction to the National Freedom Party’s decision to make late president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi the face of its election campaign.
Political analyst professor Bheki Mngomezulu said it was a wise move to make her the face because she was loved even by people outside the party, adding that the decision may earn the party more votes.
Mngomezulu said by honouring her with this decision, the party could charm people who were touched by her leadership while she was still alive.
Mngomezulu, a politics lecturer at the University of Cape Town, also commended the party for launching its manifesto in Nongoma as it was its stronghold in 2011 because it was the only municipality it won convincingly to govern alone.
“It was a wise and commendable decision they took to use kaMagwaza-Msibi as the face of their election campaign. Her death is still fresh in the minds of people so it can yield positive results for the party,” said Mngomezulu.
Another political analyst, Dr Imran Buccus, said although he was not surprised by the decision, he did not think using her face would help the NFP because the IFP had consolidated its support since 2016 when the party failed to pay the IEC registration fee, ending up not contesting.
“These breakaway parties which are built around their founders’ personalities do not last long after the founder’s demise. They usually do not have a clear succession plan,” said Buccus.
He used as example the Minority Front which after the death of its founder Amichand Rajbansi struggled to attract voters.
NFP secretary-general Canaan Mdletshe defended his party’s decision to use KaMagwaza-Msibi as the face of the campaign, saying the decision was taken long before her death.
She was leading the party spiritually and would have led the party election campaign if she were still alive, he said.
KaMagwaza-Msibi died last month after a severe stroke just after she was appointed Deputy Minister of Science and Technology in 2014.
After spending two years out of Parliament she returned to her position as deputy minister but was not able to talk well and used crutches to walk.
Including the youth in developing a national strategy to empower young people through increased and accelerated skills development programmes, and creating employment opportunities has been earmarked as a matter of highest priority for the NFP.
“… we as a country face the real threat of leaving behind a lost generation on our collective conscious if we fail to turn that marginalisation around,” said the NFP deputy president Jeremiah Mavundla when he launched the party’s election manifesto in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
Mavundla said that if they were elected to govern, they were committed to ensuring that 70% of senior managers were young people in all the NFP-controlled councils.
The party would also extend the youth wage subsidy as a way of combating high unemployment among young people.
The party would be contesting the local government elections for the first time in 10 years.
The NFP’s manifesto focused on job creation, service delivery, housing, infrastructure development and maintenance, land and agriculture, economic development and youth.
The party further committed itself to consult with the people and being accountable for the planning and implementation of housing.
Mavundla said that, as part of their dedication to ensuring proper service delivery, the NFP would expand and accelerate the municipality's obligation to provide decent housing with, at minimum, running water, electricity and an inside toilet.
The party wanted the informal settlements to be phased out and replaced with serviced sites which would be made available for ownership where people can build homes themselves.