NFP faces crippling contest over candidates list amid threats of court action
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The NFP (National Freedom Party) is facing a crippling contest over the list of councillor candidates, with some candidates threatening legal action if they are moved.
The party is facing mooted court action by members who are planning to interdict it from changing the top 10 list of candidates the party has fielded to take positions as councillors in the Zululand district municipality after the November 1 elections.
The district is a former stronghold of the splinter party and through a coalition with the ANC it was able to govern the district between 2011 and 2016. However, an internal lapse saw it failing to timeously register candidates in 2016, thus elbowing it out of the district.
This time around the party is ready to take on the IFP. Some within the party are reportedly salivating at the hopes of being kingmakers should the district municipality and other local municipalities like Nongoma, eDumbe, Vryheid and Pongola, be hung.
Insiders within the NFP said it was for that reason some members who are in the top 10 of the district list have threatened to take the party to court if it alters the list and pushes them down. Those who are in the top 10 hope to gain senior positions such as deputy mayors, speaker and chief whip should there be horse-trading after the elections.
Among those who have threatened the legal action are Bethuel Nxumalo and Mdluli (first name unknown). This was after they learnt that Malusi Gumede, the son of the late KaMagwaza-Msibi, allegedly moved to alter the list just before the September 29, 2021, deadline (Wednesday 5pm) of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) for parties to do so.
"They learnt that there is a ploy by Malusi Gumede to alter the list and move them out of the top 10, which is considered a safe place. After learning this, they met with their lawyers to prepare court papers to interdict Gumede and his people from doing it," said an NFP insider.
Mdluli asked to be called later for comment and he later ignored calls, while Nxumalo did not respond at all.
Gumede denied that he ever tampered with the list as that is the prerogative of districts.
"I am not aware of any/such allegations safe to say the relevant leadership in different districts and constituencies managed and submitted all candidate lists according to IEC submission procedures and as far as I am aware all was done successfully.
"Neither am I aware of any looming court action, if there are any issues I believe the relevant leadership will/is addressing it and doubt any leaders have such derailing thoughts of court actions as their focus is now campaigning for the upcoming elections," he said and referred further questions to the secretary-general of the party, Canaan Mdletshe.
Mdletshe said he was aware of the allegations and has asked the party's leadership in the Zululand district to deal with it.
Furthermore, Mdletshe said it was not given that once you are in the top 10 you are earmarked for a mayoral position.
"I heard such and instructed the District to deal with it internally. But I think we need to clarify that whether a list was mischievously changed or altered, is really not something that one is preoccupied with at the moment. Ours was to meet all the requirements and deadlines from the IEC, which we gladly did.
"But also I need to state that one of the misconceptions is that once you are number one on the list, you are automatically a mayoral candidate. It's not the case.
"Anyone within the top 10 is in line, for as long as one meets all the requirements, including capacity and capability to be a mayor.
’’That's why all possible candidates will undergo a series of interviews, interrogations and vetting because we don't nominate individuals based their positions on the lists. We want quality."