CityPress - - News - POLOKO TAU poloko.tau@city­press.co.za

he trou­bles plagu­ing the ANC in Lim­popo wors­ened this week when leg­is­la­ture speaker Merriam Ra­madwa de­fied the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship and re­fused to hand in her res­ig­na­tion to sec­re­tary Knocks Se­abi af­ter the party made the de­ci­sion to re­call her.

Her de­fi­ance comes amid sev­eral other bat­tles that the party in the province is fight­ing, in­clud­ing with its youth league struc­ture, and with a grow­ing lack of con­fi­dence in chair­per­son Stan­ley Matha­batha.

The de­ci­sion to re­move Ra­madwa was com­mu­ni­cated at “a poorly at­tended” ANC cau­cus meet­ing, which was called by Se­abi and Matha­batha this week.

Se­abi said they were busy with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ANC’s de­ci­sion and, be­cause a speaker is elected by mem­bers of the leg­is­la­ture, they were talk­ing to ANC de­ploy­ees to en­sure that they were all present when the time came to vote for a new speaker.

Ac­cord­ing to peo­ple close to the speaker, Ra­madwa is con­vinced that the de­ci­sion to re­call her was un­just and mo­ti­vated by fac­tional dif­fer­ences. Ra­madwa de­clined to com­ment. Among her sym­pa­this­ers is the ANC Youth League, which has ques­tioned the tim­ing of the de­ci­sion, cit­ing the loom­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

The ANC also ac­knowl­edges some of the real chal­lenges it may be faced with. The fear of los­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, as well as the threat of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers and the DA, are listed as some of the is­sues in a draft doc­u­ment, ti­tled ANC Lim­popo Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Strat­egy, which was leaked ear­lier this week.

Although the party has de­nied own­er­ship of the doc­u­ment, City Press un­der­stands that a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial in Matha­batha’s of­fice was asked to come up with a com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy fol­low­ing the re­cent neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity.

The doc­u­ment was sent out for in­put, but got leaked – ap­par­ently by some in­dif­fer­ent pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers.

Con­cerns around de­clin­ing mem­ber­ships and al­leged cracks within the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee and re­gions are also listed in the same doc­u­ment. The Sun­day In­de­pen­dent re­cently re­ported that ANC mem­ber­ship in Lim­popo had gone down from “161 000 to 72 000 mem­bers since De­cem­ber 2012”. Among its weak­ness, it is cited in the doc­u­ment that Matha­batha has not ad­dressed a party po­lit­i­cal rally since he was elected as chair­per­son early last year. Matha­batha has been crit­i­cised for be­ing a weak leader, for be­ing un­able to steer the ship and for al­low­ing the ANC to get weaker un­der his lead­er­ship amid the re-emer­gence of fac­tions.

In other de­vel­op­ments, some pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers have con­firmed that the party this week moved to ad­dress con­cerns around the “poor com­mu­ni­ca­tions desk” at the pro­vin­cial of­fice of the ANC.

In a bid to im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the branch was con­sid­er­ing re­mov­ing pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Khum­budzo Nt­shavheni as the party’s spokesper­son.

She is set to be re­placed with Be­laBela mu­nic­i­pal man­ager An­drew Dipela.

When asked about this, Nt­shavheni said that some peo­ple wanted her gone and that there was some lob­by­ing for her re­moval. But she said she re­mained the party’s spokesper­son.

Se­abi has dis­missed any sug­ges­tions that there was any hos­til­ity be­tween the ANC lead­er­ship and the youth league.

“We are okay. We work to­gether and sup­port them in their pro­grammes. They also at­tend meet­ings and con­trib­ute as ex­pected.”

Stan­ley Matha­batha

Merriam Ra­madwa

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