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Zulu King wishes NFP well in bid to be included in elections

The Zulu King has wished the National Freedom Party (NFP) well as it pursue its bid to be included in next week’s local government election.

The country’s fifth biggest political party met with the King on Thursday night ahead of an all-important Electoral Court hearing in Johannesburg on Friday.

The outcome has the potential to determine the party’s fate on the South African political landscape.

The party has 227 councillors as well as other political deployments whose positions also hang in the balance.

In early July, the NFP filed an application for leave to appeal in the Electoral Court the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) decision that it will be excluded from municipal election.

The party failed to pay an electoral deposit fee by the June deadline.

It argued the election would not be free and fair as the decision would preclude its voters from taking part in the election.

In court papers, as an applicant for leave to intervene in the appeal, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) argued for the NFP’s exclusion.

The IFP drew the court’s attention to its failure in the 2011 local government election in Umzumbe municipality where it was excluded from taking part after an administrative error on their part.

Following the dismissal of their application, the NFP considered taking the matter to the Constitutional Court but later abandoned the idea.

The party is now approaching the electoral court for the third time; armed with what it says is new evidence as well as lawyers from five political parties, supporting its bid to take part in the election.

NFP Acting National Chairperson, Bheki Gumbi, says the new evidence entails collected affidavits from people who claim they knew about the alleged sabotage by some party leaders.

Gumbi believes they were led astray by their Treasurer General, Xolani Ndlovu, who has since been suspended for the blunder.

“This thing happened deliberately. Ours was a well-executed plan to destroy the party which we believe that with the guidance and advice as well as well wishes from His Majesty the King of the Zulus we are going to emerge victorious today.”

NFP leaders found themselves in the cross-hairs, leading to two high-ranking officials resigning as pressure from supporters mounted following the party’s blunder of missing the election deadline.

Party chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe and Secretary General Nhlanhla Khubisa, both resigned and later retracted their letters of resignation, but the party ignored their requests as NFP policies dictated.

Gumbi says, “Even though we are the members of the political parties such as NFP but we also belong to His Majesty the King. We came for guidance and advice and we really appreciate what he has done for us and we are so humbled. We hope with his advice and guidance God will go with us in court and then we will emerge victorious.”

I am not saying the judge must favour certain sides in this matter

King Goodwill Zwelithini wished the NFP good luck, but also called on its members to restrain themselves should the decision go against them.

“I am not saying the judge must favour certain sides in this matter. I trust that whoever presides over this matter is someone who has a wealth of knowledge on legal matters and procedures. I wish them good luck in their endeavours. I also wish that through God, the courts favour them.”

The IFP’s lawyer, Lourens de Klerk, has said the party is only in court because the NFP cited them as second respondents.

The NFP will, however, contest the elections in one municipality – eNquthu in northern KwaZulu-Natal –  where the party submitted all the required documents on time, qualifying to take part in the poll there.

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