Residents will 'punish IFP at polls next year'

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Residents from an IFP stronghold in Ulundi have vowed not to vote for the party in the next year's elections.

This comes after allegations that Ulundi mayor Mvuseni Luthuli refused local people entry to a multipurpose centre for a youth function at the weekend.

Annoyed residents accused Luthuli of refusing to open a municipal hall for a young people's concert organised by Ward 22 councillor Makhosonke Msibi.

Msibi has been at loggerheads with local leaders after he invited ANC strongman, MEC Bheki Cele, to a sod-turning ceremony for a bridge being built over the Intetha river.

Msibi was accused of praising Cele and the IFP suspended him.

Residents said they were tired of being victims of politicians' differences.

"We voted them into office," said one. "We can oust them in the election next year. Msibi organised the concert to benefit our children not for politics."

One parent, Sibongile Baloyi, said: "The concert was sabotaged. Even if they [IFP] have problems with our councillor who organised the event we should not be caught in the crossfire."

Luthuli denied that he had shut the doors of multipurpose centre.

"I was questioning the way the concert was organised," he said. "We were told that the concert was sponsored by a certain 'Gumede' but correct procedures were not followed."

Msibi said the concert was sponsored by KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele with R50000, the department of arts, culture and tourism had given R16000 and herbalists contributed R20000 to help nurture musical talent.

Msibi said: " I asked for sponsorships for my ward from government departments and got it," he said.

The IFP has suspended Msibi pending his expulsion after associating with Cele in public.