ANC dis­unity spills over to Lim­popo

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As the ANC strug­gles to unite the party at na­tional level, ten­sion over party lead­er­ship can­di­dates to be elected in De­cem­ber could reach boil­ing point in Lim­popo’s re­gional and pro­vin­cial con­fer­ences this month.

Not only is Lim­popo Premier Stan­ley Matha­batha’s po­si­tion as chair­per­son be­ing chal­lenged be­cause of his sup­port for ANC deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa over Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but there are even calls that he be re­moved from the pre­mier­ship. The an­tiMatha­batha fac­tion in Lim­popo, known as Boko Haram, which sup­ports ANC Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s pre­ferred can­di­date Dlamini-Zuma, plans to oust the embattled Lim­popo premier who has been branded Ramaphosa’s sup­porter.

Ruth Bhengu, con­vener for de­ploy­ees of the ANC in Lim­popo, con­firmed to City Press that knives were out for Matha­batha, but did not men­tion names of im­pli­cated in­di­vid­u­als. She said some party mem­bers in the prov­ince dis­ap­proved of Matha­batha. She was also re­fer­ring to calls made by the Lim­popo ANC Youth League’s (ANCYL’s) chair­per­son, Vin­cent Shoba, and sec­re­tary, David Se­lane, that Matha­batha be re­moved and la­belling him the worst premier com­pared with his pre­de­ces­sors.

The league even sug­gested that ANC MP and former Lim­popo sec­re­tary Joe Maswan­ganyi and con­tro­ver­sial Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi be con­sid­ered to re­place Matha­batha.

It is un­der­stood that a meet­ing of the party’s pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil (PEC) late last month, at­tended by ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) de­ploy­ees in Lim­popo, Nathi Mthethwa, Kebby Maphat­soe and Thoko Didiza, heard that ANC mem­bers ap­proached the NEC at Luthuli House and Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma at Mahlamba Ndlovu pres­i­den­tial guest house and ex­pressed their reser­va­tions with Matha­batha’s lead­er­ship, among other com­plaints.

Bhengu said the party’s de­ploy­ees ad­vised mem­bers to take on the PEC us­ing proper chan­nels. “We told them the PEC will then en­gage the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee af­ter which the mat­ter will be dis­cussed by the na­tional de­ploy­ment com­mit­tee of the ANC.”

Mean­while, the mat­ter has spilt into re­gions and is ex­pected to im­pact on up­com­ing re­gional con­fer­ences, which were sched­uled to take place in Fe­bru­ary but were post­poned to start this month.

Nocks Se­abi, ANC Lim­popo pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary, has been ac­cused of or­ches­trat­ing Matha­batha’s down­fall be­cause he al­legedly sup­ported Dlamini-Zuma’s can­di­dacy for the party pres­i­dency. Pressed for com­ment, Se­abi de­nied he used the prov­ince to lobby for Dlamini-Zuma.

“We con­demn all forms of fac­tion­al­ism, public spats and cor­rup­tion by ANC mem­bers, in­clud­ing all those who are de­ployed in gov­ern­ment and Cabi­net. The ANC will not tol­er­ate peo­ple who are sow­ing di­vi­sions in the ANC in their re­spec­tive de­ploy­ments,” Se­abi said.

“We call for unity in the ANC and I don’t be­long to any fac­tion. My re­la­tion­ship with com­rade Matha­batha is in­tact.” He ar­gued that the lead­er­ship in the prov­ince had not yet dis­cussed Matha­batha’s future, there­fore it was not proper to pro­nounce on the ru­mours to re­call the premier.

Matha­batha said on many oc­ca­sions that it was the cul­ture of the ANC that the deputy pres­i­dent suc­ceed the pres­i­dent.

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said this week that he knew noth­ing about the re­call­ing of some pre­miers by Zuma. “I’m hear­ing this from you, that pro­vin­cial pre­miers will be re­moved by Pres­i­dent Zuma. I’m not in a busi­ness of spec­u­la­tion. The unity of the ANC is my busi­ness. The ANC in Lim­popo must re­solve its own prob­lems be­cause there’s lead­er­ship there.”

Se­lane this week ad­mit­ted that the ANC Youth League in Lim­popo has smoked the peace pipe with Premier Matha­batha. “We had a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with the premier that he must em­power the youth in employment and de­ploy­ment. We de­manded 40% of youth em­pow­er­ment. We will call for his re­moval if he doesn’t keep his prom­ise,” he said.

Matha­batha re­sponded through his spokesper­son, Ken­neth Mathivha, who said: “The premier has not sup­ported any fac­tion. He has made it clear that branches sup­port and nom­i­nate their pre­ferred can­di­date.” He added that Matha­batha re­spected the ANC’s po­si­tion of not pro­nounc­ing on a pre­ferred can­di­date for the party’s pres­i­den­tial race un­til the NEC of­fi­cially opened the con­test.

Stan­ley Matha­batha

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