Rocky road for Malebane-Metsing
The mastermind behind an attempted coup in the former homeland of Bophuthatswana, Rocky Malebane-Metsing, is now plotting the downfall of the “undemocratic” ANC in North West’s Rustenburg municipality.
Removing the ANC from the mayoral seat in Rustenburg will mark a new highlight for Malebane-Metsing.
But first, he will have to win enough votes on August 3 as the mayoral candidate for the new Forum 4 Service Delivery, an association of independent candidates.
Malebane-Metsing, an ANC member, says the councillor-selection process of the ANC is flawed.
“I saw people being chopped with axes, some beaten to near death, some injured, just so that people with popular support on the ground must not emerge and those who emerge were favourites of the ANC provincial leaders,” he says.
He says being an ANC servant was “no longer something to celebrate. It is a matter of life or death. It is worse in this region [Bojanala] in North West.”
The veteran politician, whose career dates back to the late 1970s, has not always had luck on his side despite acts of courage.
In 1988, he had all but toppled Bophuthatswana president Lucas Mangope, until the apartheid South African government stepped in to neutralise the coup. Fleeing Bophuthatswana became his only option thereafter, and the ANC became his new home.
So highly regarded was Malebane-Metsing at that time that in 1994 he was in the running to become the ANC’s choice for premier of North West. However, ANC veteran Popo Molefe elbowed him out of the contest and the conflict later built up into a bitter feud that saw MalebaneMetsing resign from government as agriculture MEC.
“Some people felt it was wrong for me to be premier,” says Malebane-Metsing.
“After all the campaigns and battles I fought for the liberation of people this side, it was clear that the then leaders had a different agenda.
“I felt it was right to stay away from politics because I was not desperate to be the premier,” he says.
Around 2006, Malebane-Metsing resuscitated his former People’s Progressive Party and contested the municipal elections, earning himself a councillor seat in Rustenburg municipality. The ANC then brought him back into the fold in 2007, only to retain him as a backbencher on the council for two five-year terms. He had short stints as a member of the mayoral committee for local economic development and infrastructure development. “The ANC undervalued me,” he says. But he continued to serve the party “without any grudge”, he says, although “people were still surprised that the ANC thought so lowly of my political standing”.
He says that during his contest against Mangope, his former party “lost a lot of lives”.
“People died because of police brutality in defending the Mangope regime. The state machinery was brutal,” he says.
Malebane-Metsing says he has taken his grievances to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, but this has not yielded results.
He says he expects that the ANC will expel him from the party. President Jacob Zuma’s comments that people must accept the outcomes of the councillor selection process dashed his last hope.
“But the question is: should communities also accept the flawed processes?” MalebaneMetsing says.
He says his name was high up on the legitimate proportional representation councillors list, and then removed.
“It is a lie that ANC councillors are chosen by community members,” he says.
“The product sent to the electoral commission, at least in North West, is about protecting a cash cow [Rustenburg municipality] that feeds provincial leaders”.