Matha­batha can unite the ANC

Mole­batsi Masedi is a Polok­wane, Limpopo based pro­po­nent of rad­i­cal so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. Tweeter: @Mole­bat­siMasedi

African Times - - Front Page -

The much awaited ANC Limpopo 9th pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence is set down for the week­end of 22 to 24 June, just two weeks from now. This comes af­ter the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the or­gan­i­sa­tion con­ducted an au­dit on the prov­ince’s state of readi­ness for the con­fer­ence.

All re­gions in prop­erly con­sti­tuted meet­ings said in one voice that they are ready for the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence. Rec­om­men­da­tions from these re­gional con­sul­ta­tive meet­ings and branch mem­ber­ship sta­tis­tics per­suaded the na­tional lead­er­ship to give the green light for the con­ven­tion of the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence.

Since the grant­ing of per­mis­sion for the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence, there has been a flurry of branch gen­eral meet­ings to nominate del­e­gates to con­fer­ence and can­di­dates for the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. The branch nom­i­na­tions which were to have been con­cluded last week­end are run­ning un­til this week­end.

It is not yet clear whether a fur­ther ex­ten­sion will be granted to branches which fail to meet the week­end dead­line. Any ex­ten­sion de­pends on whether the prov­ince reaches the 70 per­cent thresh­old of branches that have suc­cess­fully con­ducted their gen­eral meet­ings.

The forth­com­ing ANC Limpopo pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence is cru­cial for two rea­sons, it of­fers a chal­lenge to the unity slate of the Nas­rec con­fer­ence and takes place on the eve of the cru­cial 2019 gen­eral elec­tions. Unity and co­he­sion have eluded the or­gan­i­sa­tion since the 2007 rup­ture which saw the ac­cel­er­ated de­cline of the ANC and the loss of met­ros like Jo­han­nes­burg, Tsh­wane and Nel­son Man­dela Bay which used to be the or­gan­i­sa­tions’ strongholds.

The road to the 54th ANC na­tional con­fer­ence was so rough and tough; an­a­lysts pre­dicted the ex­pe­di­ent demise of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Nas­rec would be the death and burial of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, paving the way for the op­po­si­tion to emerge as the new govern­ment as the ANC was des­tined for the pe­riph­ery to join the PAC and AZAPO in the po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness.

Not only did the ANC sur­vive sud­den and cer­tain death, it emerged stronger and united from Nas­rec.

Since then a lot has tran­spired, most im­por­tantly Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa emerged from Nas­rec as ANC pres­i­dent to be­come the pres­i­dent of South Africa. In the first hun­dred days of his pres­i­dency, Ramaphosa has set the coun­try and the ANC on a high road to the new dawn of suc­cess.

The state of the na­tion un­der Ramaphosa has thrown the gaunt­let to the prov­inces, youth and women’s leagues, SACP, COSATU and SANCO. On the lips of many an­a­lysts is whether the al­liance will live up to the unity and co­he­sion of Nas­rec and sus­tain it go­ing for­ward to the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

For the ANC in Limpopo the mo­ment of truth is the 9th pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence which sits in two weeks’ time at a venue just out­side of Polok­wane. What is cru­cial about this con­fer­ence is the elec­tion of a PEC which will lead the or­gan­i­sa­tion to the much hyped 2019 gen­eral elec­tions. Who­ever emerges out of the con­fer­ence will not only lead the elec­tion cam­paign, but will also be in line to be ap­pointed as premier of the prov­ince.

Was re­ported in the last week edi­tion of the news­pa­per, cur­rent ANC pro­vin­cial chair­per­son and premier Stan­ley Chupu Matha­batha is most likely to be re­turned un­con­tested. To date there is no other can­di­date than him. This is the case not­with­stand­ing fierce com­pe­ti­tion in other po­si­tions, no­tably the deputy pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary where it ap­pears ev­ery­one is con­test­ing.

The deputy chair­per­son is a Vhembe con­test of in­cum­bent Jerry Ndou and Vhembe district ex­ec­u­tive mayor Florence Radzi­lani. Sec­re­tary is a three horse race of Lehl­o­gonolo Ma­soga, Soviet Lek­ganyane and a rather sub­dued Knox Se­abi.

The deputy pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary po­si­tion sees a Mo­ria of can­di­dates which in­clude in­cum­bent, Makoma Makhu­ru­petje. Oth­ers in the race are Sea­paro Sekoati, Basikopo Makamu, Phophi Ra­math­uba and On­nica Moloi. For trea­surer, it is a Sekhukhune af­fair of in­cum­bent Danny Msiza and busi­ness mogul Tim Tibeila.

From the lead­er­ship slates do­ing the rounds, pre-Nas­rec ten­sions ap­pear to be buried with fo­cus on the fu­ture and the forth­com­ing gen­eral elec­tions. Even the nom­i­na­tion of del­e­gates and can­di­dates are go­ing on with­out the usual ten­sions and vi­o­lence. The pro­cesses have so far been smooth and peace­ful.

With Matha­batha be­ing un­con­tested, he has an un­en­vi­able chal­lenge to make or break prospects for unity in the Limpopo ANC. He can choose the low road of a fac­tional slate or the high road of an in­clu­sive slate as at the na­tional con­fer­ence in Nas­rec last year De­cem­ber.

If he goes the low road he and his acolytes get the man­tle of lead­er­ship in the prov­ince. This route would be at a cost for the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its prospects of de­ci­sive vic­tory in 2019. Go­ing the way of in­clu­siv­ity, unity is deep­ened and elec­toral vic­tory is cer­tain.

Matha­batha’s high road to a united and co­her­ent ANC in Limpopo rests in ac­com­mo­dat­ing those he dif­fered with bit­terly on the way to the na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber last year. Po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity and so­bri­ety are his Hob­son’s choice, the only and cor­rect way out for the trou­bled or­gan­i­sa­tion in Limpopo as in ev­ery­where in the coun­try.

The ANC in gen­eral finds it­self in a pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion, though largely of its own mak­ing. Nas­rec gave it a life­line, a sec­ond life. With Ramaphosa at the helm of both party and coun­try, it has been so far so good. The coun­try has been re­turned to work­ing at full ca­pac­ity.

It is not in the now where the real chal­lenges lie, it is in nav­i­gat­ing the fu­ture where fo­cus must be set. It is here where Matha­batha’s man­tle of lead­er­ship gets to rise or to fall, and with it his le­gacy.

Is Matha­batha the right­ful bearer of Ramaphosa’s torch of the new dawn and the Thuma-Mina vol­un­teer move­ment of re­newal? The an­swer to this chal­lenge and the vex­ing ques­tion of the unity and co­he­sion of the ANC shall be borne by the con­clu­sion of the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence.

In its re­cent pro­nounce­ment the ANCYL in the prov­ince has called for the re­ten­tion of all of the top five of­fi­cials, bar the pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Knox Se­abi whom they seek to re­place by the deputy Limpopo pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture speaker Lehl­o­gonolo Ma­soga.

Matha­batha can there­fore latch on to this pro­posal which ad­vo­cates for con­ti­nu­ity and re­newal. Whether this comes to pass or not will be re­vealed when he closes the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence on the af­ter­noon of June 24.

Picture: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela /Visu­alBuz­zSA

ANC pro­vin­cial chair­per­son and premier Stan­ley Chupu Matha­batha have a huge role to play since he is most likely to be re-elected as chair­per­son un­con­tested at the prov­ince’s elec­tive con­fer­ence.

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