ANC splinter group torpedoes Mabuza’s plan
Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s overture to lure a small but threatening political party back into the ANC has hit a snag. Mabuza’s negotiations with the Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA) had been at an advanced stage, and they were about to conclude a deal when the BRA’s president, Delta Mokoena, last week lost an appeal in court and began serving a 10-year sentence for vigilante crimes. Getting the BRA back into the ANC would have given Mabuza’s attempts to unite and regrow the ANC a boost as he prepares to contest the party’s deputy presidency post this year. However, at a special conference on February 22 in Acornhoek, the BRA suspended its secretary and its sole member in the Mpumalanga legislature, Cleopas Maunye, who was at the centre of the talks, but was accused of selling out to the ANC. The BRA’s acting secretary, Johannes Ndlovu, said Mokoena had said he needed to consult the BRA’s members, but Maunye continued with the negotiations. Maunye will face a disciplinary hearing soon, which will determine the fate of his position in the provincial legislature. Maunye accepted his organisation’s decision, saying he was still committed to programmes to unite the people of Bushbuckridge, who are divided along tribal lines that perpetuate the apartheid legacy. He said many competent people in the region were not given the opportunity to serve in government because they come from “a tribe” that was discriminated against. “If the BRA can negotiate with the ANC, we can break that barrier and people can get deployments and employment [equitably],” he said. City Press understands that even though he is in jail, Mokoena was particularly concerned that Maunye could end up getting a higher position than him within the ANC’s provincial executive if the deal went through while he was locked up. Provincial ANC secretary Mandla Ndlovu said the ANC would still try to negotiate, adding that it was unfair to punish Maunye because the ANC had met with many BRA leaders.