Magwaza-Msibi gave us a political home, NFP leader tells mourners

Mourners at National Freedom Party founder Zanele Magwaza-Msibi's funeral in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, on September 11 2021.
Mourners at National Freedom Party founder Zanele Magwaza-Msibi's funeral in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, on September 11 2021.
Image: Supplied

It was never Zanele Magwaza-Msibi's will to leave the IFP but she had reached the ceiling.

This was revealed by National Freedom Party leader Jeremiah Bhekumthetho Mavundla on Saturday at the party founder's funeral in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal.

“We asked her to open a political home for us where she can lead and continue with the important work she was doing,” said Mavundla.

Magwaza-Msibi established the NFP in 2011 after a fallout with the leadership of the IFP, a party she joined in 1975.

A mourner lkights a candle at National Freedom Party founder Zanele Magwaza-Msibi's funeral in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, on September 11 2021.
A mourner lkights a candle at National Freedom Party founder Zanele Magwaza-Msibi's funeral in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, on September 11 2021.
Image: Supplied

However, Mavundla also revealed that while a new political home held the promise of peace and stability, at the time of her death the founding leader was involved in two court cases involving rivalries within the party.

“Right now as she is sleeping here she is in two court cases because some among us failed to realise that power to lead the party is found at an elective conference, not in court,” he said.

“She was tired because of the things we put her through. We had already taken a decision to hold a conference after the elections to elect leaders for the party. That will proceed despite her death.”

Mavundla blamed “a group of men who did not want her to get any closer to the party leader or lead the party”, adding that she was never embraced.

“I ask you, the members of the party to go and campaign for the [local] elections so that we continue with her good work, so that we can preserve her legacy,” he added.

Political leaders from the ANC, IFP and the NFP spoke of a hardworking leader whose loss would be keenly felt throughout the country.

Magwaza-Msibi, 59, went into cardiac arrest on Monday at a Durban hospital where she had been admitted for treatment.

Speaking on behalf of her children, daughter Gugu Gumede described her mother as a strong and resilient woman.

“She got sick and doctors wrote her off, she defied death and continued to lead her party and family through the pain and suffering,” Gumede said.

In 2014, Magwaza-Msibi had a stroke six months after being appointed deputy minister of science and technology by then-president Jacob Zuma.

Gumede described her mother as a loving parent and a community builder who treated everyone equally.

“She always wanted people to be happy, she lies here today having finished her work, she was brave and today we are brave for her,” she said.

“We are here today to assure her that we will continue with your work. She loved the people despite who they are or what they have.”

Magwaza-Msibi's widower, Mandla Msibi, told mourners of the deep love, admiration and respect he had for his wife.

“She was different, she was intelligent, when she worked she wouldn't sleep. I would sometimes stay up with her at night while she worked until 4am,” he said.

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