THE Gauteng ANC has thrown down the gauntlet in its ongoing duel with Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
This time Mama Action” was vetoed by her ANC leaders from axing former MEC of economic development Qedani Mahlangu.
Sunday World was reliably informed of these developments by various sources both in government and in the provincial ANC.
It is understood that several weeks ago Mokonyane asked Mahlangu in a letter why she should not be suspended for missing tender documents relating to R60-million earmarked for the youth employment strategy.
She [Mahlangu] then consulted other comrades, including Minister of Arts and Culture and Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile, who advised her how to respond,” said a source close to Mahlangu, who is now infrastructure development MEC.
But when contacted for comment, Mahlangu said: Where do you get these things? These issues are above my level. I don’t know why I was appointed to this position, so I won’t know why I will be removed. This is the first time I’ve heard about this.”
When asked about his apparent intervention, Mashatile said: We know nothing about this nothing at all.”
Sunday World understands that Mokonyane instituted an investigation of the Department of Economic Development aimed primarily at ousting Mahlangu the department’s ex-MEC from her government position.
Mahlangu was moved to infrastructure development and replaced by Nkosiphendule Kolisile during Mokonyane s cabinet reshuffle last year. Kolisile was killed in a car crash in July.
Mokonyane s investigations have nailed former economic development head of department Khulu Radebe.
Radebe was suspended and fired but subsequently paid a settlement of about R2.5-million by the government after he successfully challenged his dismissal in court.
The department confirmed on Friday that Radebe had been fired even though he told Sunday World on Wednesday that he had not been. He declined to comment further.
Mokonyane s investigation, seen by her opponents as a witch-hunt, also led to the suspension of four other economic development senior staff last week.
The department confirmed the high-level precautionary suspen- sions of acting deputy directorgeneral for corporate services Johan van der Merwe; the chief director and head of project management offices Nomawethu Duruwe; ICT project management office head Linda Canca; and governance deputy director Moeketsi Valashiya.
The officials are charged with negligence in performing their duties,” said spokeswoman Phindile Kunene. We hope that this sends an unequivocal message that the Gauteng government will not tolerate nonperformance and lack of accountability as this jeopardises our capacity to deliver to citizens.”
ANC leaders told Sunday World that the alleged move to oust Mahlangu is part of a bigger plot to weaken Mashatile’s camp before the party s list conference next month.
Mokonyane, a key ally of President Jacob Zuma, was recently rejected by Gauteng branches in her bid to secure a second term as premier after the general election next year, in favour of Mashatile’s ally, David Makhura.
Gauteng Sports MEC Lebogang Maile was elevated to second on the list ahead of many senior ANC leaders, with Mashatile in third place. It will be difficult for the national executive committee to choose the premier outside of the top three on the list.
Mokonyane failed to respond to questions.