NATIONAL Freedom Party leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi said on Thursday that her party would surprise many by gaining votes in all nine provinces in this year’s general elections.
The NFP will on Sunday celebrate its third anniversary with a mass rally at Durban’s Curries Fountain Stadium where it will also reveal its election manifesto.
"We will be fielding premier candidates in all nine provinces and a presidential candidate," Ms KaMagwaza-Msibi said. "Our election lists have people with strong community and leadership background."
Ms KaMagwaza-Msibi split from the Inkatha Freedom Party — where she was the party’s first chairwoman — after a dispute with IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The NFP will be contesting national elections for the first time since its formation. It was only three months old when it attracted 1.2-million voters, mainly in the KwaZulu-Natal hinterland, in the 2011 local government elections.
The party then formed a coalition with the African National Congress to co-govern 19 hung municipalities in the province.
This marriage mostly ended on the rocks, however, leading many NFP councillors to defy their party leadership and work with the IFP to oust ANC leaders in various municipalities.
Ms KaMagwaza-Msibi said that problem had now been nipped in the bud and the NFP was again united.
"In the past few months and weeks, we have crisscrossed the country and various areas of KwaZulu-Natal to mobilise communities to go out and vote for us," she said.
"People have told us that they want change, they want alternative government. People on the ground have expressed deep disappointment in the performance of the present government that failed to meet reasonable expectations. They show this by through widespread service delivery protests."
Zakhele Ndlovu, a Durban-based political analyst and senior political lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said the NFP’s novelty value had diminished.
"I don’t think they will do as well as they did in 2011," Mr Ndlovu said. "The NFP, like all other political parties, is experiencing growing pains.
"In the province its best performance could be to take third spot after the ANC and the IFP. Nationally, I don’t see them doing well at all."