tension as anc defectors join ifP

Canaan Mdletshe

Chaos broke out at an IFP function when ANC-clad supporters started shouting and insulting about 130 people who had left the party to join the IFP.

Police were called to monitor the tense situation when Newlands West, Durban, residents joined the IFP on Monday night.

IFP national chairman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi was welcoming about 130 new members from the ANC when the ANC supporters gathered about 100 metres away from the marquee, played loud freedom songs and hurled insults at the defectors.

The ex-ANC members, mainly women and the youth, said they were not satisfied with their councillor, who they accused of not doing anything for them.

They said they had lost faith in the ANC because of its "empty promises".

Magwaza-Msibi appealed to the ANC leadership in the province to urge their members to respect every individual's right to choose a political party.

"South Africa is a multi-party democracy in which people have the right to choose political parties according to their inclinations," she said.

"The behaviour of these people was the very reason why many of the disaffected members of the Newlands West community decided to turn their back on the ruling party and seek a new political home in the IFP," Magwaza-Msibi said.

The IFP said they would be monitoring the situation in Newlands West.

"Every instance of political intimidation must be reported to the authorities.

"The same thing happened when we were in Pietermaritzburg where our trailer with our leader's head was hacked and stoned," Magwaza-Msibi said.

"This is not the way it should be happening."

ANC regional spokesman James Nxumalo condemned the incident.

"People must understand that a person has a right to choose a political party without any fear or prejudice. And we will be teaching our members to be tolerant, especially as we head towards the elections."