Ny­oni’s sus­pen­sion clears the path for Mabuza’s third-term bid

CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

The sus­pen­sion this week of Mpumalanga ANC ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Peter Ny­oni has been in­ter­preted as a pre-emp­tive strike to de­rail mount­ing op­po­si­tion to Premier David Mabuza’s lead­er­ship.

Ny­oni was in­stru­men­tal in mo­bil­is­ing dis­grun­tled com­rades to al­legedly sabotage Mabuza’s am­bi­tion to re­tain his po­si­tion as Mpumalanga ANC chair­per­son for a third term in a con­fer­ence sched­uled for Oc­to­ber, as well as curb his as­cen­sion to na­tional ANC deputy pres­i­dent in 2017.

Ny­oni was one of the peo­ple who planned a march to the pro­vin­cial ANC head­quar­ters in Nel­spruit on Fri­day. The pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) learnt about the planned march dur­ing its spe­cial meet­ing on Mon­day, and de­cided to sus­pend Ny­oni.

The march saw 2 000 dis­grun­tled mem­bers con­verg­ing at the Jan­uary “Che” Masilela Build­ing, but the of­fice was closed and no pro­vin­cial ANC leader came out to ac­cept the mem­o­ran­dum. Mpumalanga ANC sec­re­tary Lucky Ndin­isa said the marchers would face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

City Press un­der­stands that Ny­oni’s down­fall was pre­cip­i­tated by an au­dio record­ing that a mem­ber al­legedly made dur­ing a plan­ning meet­ing of dis­grun­tled ANC branches that Ny­oni ad­dressed at Clau-Clau, out­side Mbombela, last Satur­day.

The per­son who al­legedly made the record­ing at the meet­ing is said to have re­cently re­turned to the ANC from the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF). He al­legedly handed the au­dio record­ing to mem­bers of Mabuza’s camp.

An in­sider said Eh­lanzeni re­gional chair­per­son Ngrayi Ng­wenya alerted the PEC meet­ing about Ny­oni’s in­volve­ment with the Save Mpumalanga ANC group’s march and he was then asked to re­cuse him­self from the meet­ing be­fore be­ing sus­pended. Ndin­isa con­firmed that the PEC re­ceived the record­ing, but de­clined to give more de­tails. “In fact, that [the record­ing] is what we have, but I would not want to talk about the mer­its of the mat­ter.”

He in­sisted that ANC mem­bers should raise griev­ances within the struc­tures.

“They can­not march against the ANC … That’s un­ac­cept­able. The ANC has a cul­ture for ro­bust de­bate and con­tes­ta­tion for po­si­tions,” Ndin­isa said. Ny­oni de­clined to com­ment, say­ing: “Go and ask those who sus­pended me.”

Ny­oni’s sus­pen­sion may have been in the works for a while. In Jan­uary 2013, the PEC ap­pointed a task team, led by ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Dikeledi Ma­gadzi, to probe ser­vicede­liv­ery protests that es­ca­lated ahead of the party’s man­i­festo launch and rally that was held at Mbombela Sta­dium on Jan­uary 8 that year.

The protests were viewed as an at­tempt by the dis­grun­tled branches to draw Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s at­ten­tion to the rifts within the ANC in Mpumalanga.

Those who were sum­moned to tes­tify be­fore the task team were Ny­oni, for­mer health MEC Clifford Mkasi and for­mer Eh­lanzeni dis­trict coun­cil speaker Milton Morema. The trio had a fall­out with Mabuza and were ac­cused of fan­ning the flames of in­sta­bil­ity in branches. Ndin­isa said the task team had not tabled its re­port. “But Ny­oni’s sus­pen­sion has noth­ing to do with the work of the task team. The team has not given us its find­ings and we be­lieve that once they have sat­is­fied them­selves, they will re­port to us. As you know, ANC pro­cesses move slowly,” he said.

Ny­oni was also one of the hu­man set­tle­ments depart­ment of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing for­mer head David Dube, who Mabuza re­moved late in 2013 af­ter ac­cus­ing them of spend­ing their time in pol­i­tics in­stead of de­liv­er­ing RDP houses.

Dube – Mabuza’s deputy in the party and deputy leg­is­la­ture speaker – will chal­lenge the premier for the chair­man­ship in Oc­to­ber. Ny­oni will run along­side Dube as his deputy.

Mabuza is be­lieved to be throw­ing his weight be­hind So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Batha­bile Dlamini to lead the ANC Women’s League in ex­change for the league’s sup­port in his am­bi­tion to be the ANC’s na­tional deputy pres­i­dent.

Mabuza is also sup­port­ing the province’s youth league chair­per­son, Desmond Moela, to take over as the league’s deputy pres­i­dent to rally the young lions be­hind his cam­paign.

Peter Ny­oni

David Mabuza

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