Rocky road for Male­bane-Mets­ing

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

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”.

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