Lim­popo chiefs start own po­lit­i­cal party

CityPress - - News - NGWAKO MODJADJI ngwako.modjadji@city­press.co.za

The VBS Mu­tual Bank scan­dal and fail­ure of the ANC to tackle cor­rup­tion are two of the rea­sons sev­eral tra­di­tional lead­ers from Lim­popo have formed a new po­lit­i­cal party to chal­lenge the gov­ern­ing party dur­ing next year’s gen­eral elec­tions.

The new po­lit­i­cal party, which is called Baroka Swaranang Move­ment, is ex­pected to reg­is­ter with the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion next month. The de­ci­sion to form the po­lit­i­cal party was taken dur­ing a meet­ing in Ga-Mashishini vil­lage near Sekhukhune last Sun­day.

The move comes at a time when the ANC is try­ing to fend off the grow­ing threat of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters (EFF) and the DA in the prov­ince.

The EFF has al­ready eaten into the ANC sup­port base. The ANC has al­ways re­lied deeply on tra­di­tional lead­ers dur­ing elec­tion cam­paigns.

Baroka Swaranang Move­ment spokesper­son Phauwe Mphahlele told City Press this week that the ANC had failed to take ac­tion against may­ors whose mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties un­law­fully de­posited mil­lions in VBS.

“The money that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties de­posited in VBS be­longs to our peo­ple in the ru­ral ar­eas. We have lost con­fi­dence in the ANC. Our peo­ple are now suf­fer­ing.”

A to­tal of 14 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties na­tion­ally in­vested funds amount­ing to R1.57 bil­lion with VBS.

Mphahlele said mu­nic­i­pal man­agers and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cers were soft tar­gets for the ANC.

“They are tar­get­ing mu­nic­i­pal man­agers and CFOs [chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cers]. Why can’t they take ac­tion against may­ors, who are the po­lit­i­cal heads of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties?”

Mu­nic­i­pal man­agers and CFOs from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties such as Vhembe dis­trict and Greater Giyani, which in­vested with VBS, have been sus­pended.

VhaVenda King Toni Mphe­phu Ram­ab­u­lana was among those men­tioned in the ex­plo­sive VBS foren­sic re­port.

Ram­ab­u­lana has of­fered to pay back the R17 mil­lion which he is said to have pock­eted from VBS, if it is found that it was an il­le­gal pay­ment.

Mphahlele said the Baroka Swaranang Move­ment’s mes­sage to peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas would be that the ANC failed them.

“We will tell them here is their new party and they must stop cry­ing. We will tell them vote Baroka Swaranang Move­ment, we will not im­pose coun­cil­lors on you,” he said. The ANC had “cap­tured” some of the tra­di­tional lead­ers, he added.

Among the tra­di­tional lead­ers who have joined the new po­lit­i­cal party are Kgosi Ma­po­rane Mok­wak­wala, Mat­lala Royal house mem­ber Christina Manamela and Shor­wane Maake from the Maake royal fam­ily.

Mphahlele said vil­lages such as Ga-Mat­lala out­side Polok­wane, Ga-Maake vil­lage out­side Tza­neen and Mon­gatane out­side Burg­ers­fort were presided over by tra­di­tional lead­ers who have joined the new po­lit­i­cal party.

The de­ci­sion to form the po­lit­i­cal party was taken at a meet­ing at­tended by 49 tra­di­tional lead­ers.

For tra­di­tional leader Kgosi Male­sela Dik­gale the new po­lit­i­cal party was noth­ing but an eth­nic group­ing led by an­gry peo­ple. “We don’t know if some of these peo­ple are tra­di­tional lead­ers,” Dik­gale said.

Lim­popo is home to eth­nic groups distin­guished by race, cul­ture and lan­guage.

The ANC in the prov­ince said it was not fazed by the tra­di­tional lead­ers’ de­ci­sion to form a po­lit­i­cal party.

“We are wor­ried but not scared. The ANC is the con­gre­ga­tion of all peo­ple. We will con­tinue to en­gage them. We can’t claim that all is well when a mem­ber of the fam­ily is not at the din­ner ta­ble,” party provin­cial spokesper­son Don­ald Se­lam­olela said.

He re­it­er­ated that the ANC had strong links with tra­di­tional lead­ers.

“The ANC will con­tinue to reach out to tra­di­tional lead­ers. They are crit­i­cal peo­ple in so­ci­ety.”

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