NFP founder Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi described as a courageous leader following her passing

The founder and leader of the National Freedom Party (NFP) Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi passed away on Monday.

The spokesperson of the NFP and kaMagwaza-Msibi’s family, Canaan Mdletshe, said the former deputy minister of science and technology passed away on Monday morning at the uMhlanga Hospital due to cardiac arrest.

Mdletshe said kaMagwaza-Msibi’s death is devastating both to her family and the NFP.

KaMagwaza-Msibi has been the president of the NFP since she founded it in 2011 and she was re-elected to the position unopposed during the party’s elective conference in 2019, Mdletshe said.

In 2014 kaMagwaza-Msibi suffered a severe stroke and underwent several medical operations thereafter, Mdletshe said.

“This time around, last week she did not feel well,” Mdletshe said, explaining that she was then hospitalized and doctors revealed that she had issues with her heart.

Mdletshe said kaMagwaza-Msibi’s family is heartbroken and in disbelief and that one of her daughters was in denial when informed of her mother’s passing.

Mdletshe added that kaMagwaza-Msibi’s unexpected death will affect the NFP, in particular, ahead of the local government elections.

KaMagwaza-Msibi was expected to lead the party’s campaign for the elections, Mdletshe said.

“It is going to affect the organisation, it is going to affect our campaign,” Mdletshe said.

Mdletshe described kaMagwaza-Msibi as a kind and unique leader who was one of the first black women to establish a political party which managed to secure six seats both at the National Assembly and the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

Tributes poured in following reports of kaMagwaza-Msibi’s passing on Monday morning, with condolences to her family shared by different political parties, including her former political home the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the African National Congress (ANC), the GOOD party and the United Democratic Movement (UDM).

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said during kaMagwaza-Msibi’s time with the party she had been committed to implementing its manifesto and that it was “no small feet” that she was one of the first women to be appointed as mayor when ahe took up the position at the Zululand District in KwaZulu-Natal.

Hlengwa further pointed out that the IFP had fielded kaMagwaza-Msibi as its KwaZulu-Natal premier candidate in 2009.

Hlengwa added that internal differences and challenges led to kwaMagazwa-Msibi breaking away from the IFP, which was regrettable, “a political mistake that should not have happened”.

The leader of the GOOD party Patricia de Lille said kaMagwaza-Msibi’s death is a great loss to the country because she was a committed, courageous and strong leader.

“I’m going to miss you my sister, rest in peace,” de Lille said.

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