Kwankwa ‘still has a role to play’ in UDM

CityPress - - News - AN­DISIWE MAK­I­NANA an­disiwe.mak­i­nana@city­press.co.za

Hard-work­ing United Demo­cratic Move­ment (UDM) MP Nqabay­omzi Kwankwa has spo­ken of his pain af­ter he lost the deputy pres­i­dency at the party’s elec­tive con­gress on De­cem­ber 14, de­spite draft­ing the UDM’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions man­i­festo.

Kwankwa was pipped to the post by for­mer Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters (EFF) MP Khany­isile Litch­field-Tsha­bal­ala, who joined the UDM six months ago.

“I do not think any­one un­der­stands the ex­tent of pain and heartache that I feel in my heart right now,” a dis­ap­pointed Kwankwa told City Press this week.

“No one un­der­stands be­cause I worked re­ally hard for more than half a decade to build the party. “After all that hard work and sac­ri­fice, it should be un­der­stand­able that I would be hurt­ing, but I think I still have a role to play in the UDM and age is still on my side,” he added.

Kwankwa (35) said that he re­mained a loyal and com­mit­ted mem­ber of the UDM and that he would re­turn to Par­lia­ment in 2016 to con­tinue his work as its chief whip.

A long­stand­ing mem­ber of the UDM, Kwankwa was seen as a pos­si­ble suc­ces­sor to party leader Gen­eral Bantu Holomisa. Eye­brows were raised within the party be­cause Litch­field-Tsha­bal­ala, who was re­cruited by MP Mnce­disi Fil­tane, con­tested and won such a se­nior po­si­tion within a few months af­ter join­ing the party.

Litch­field-Tsha­bal­ala’s fiery and im­pres­sive or­a­tory skills put her in the spot­light while she was an EFF MP in Par­lia­ment be­tween May 2014 and her ex­pul­sion in April this year.

The party ex­pelled her and two other mem­bers, Mpho Ra­makatsa and Andile Mngxi­tama, for fail­ing to at­tend Par­lia­ment and for speak­ing to the me­dia af­ter be­ing sus­pended.

Litch­field-Tsha­bal­ala, who was the first woman to be pro­moted to the rank of ad­mi­ral in the South African navy, did not re­spond to City Press’ re­quests for an in­ter­view this week, but se­nior UDM lead­ers ex­pressed their joy at her rise in the party.

Holomisa con­ceded that Litch­field-Tsha­bal­ala’s rise was sud­den, adding that there was in­ten­sive lob­by­ing for po­si­tions in the party.

“Yes, one would not have ex­pected, within a pe­riod of six months [since join­ing the party] that she would have sprung to lead­er­ship, but you must re­mem­ber Litch­field-Tsha­bal­ala is not new to pol­i­tics.

“Peo­ple know her and re­mem­ber it was she who started the #PayBack­TheMoney chant in Par­lia­ment,” said Holomisa.

He said Kwankwa would re­main the party’s chief whip in Par­lia­ment and con­tinue “knock­ing sense into that mad­ness”.

Fil­tane, who is also the UDM’s newly elected deputy chair­per­son, said fol­low­ing her ap­point­ment as the party or­gan­iser, Litch­field-Tsha­bal­ala worked hard in launch­ing UDM branches and re­sus­ci­tat­ing those that were dy­ing.

“She also took time to go to the Eastern Cape, which is the big­gest UDM base, and worked hard lob­by­ing for us there.”

Nqabay­omzi Kwankwa

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