Divisions in Stan Mathabatha’s camp over who should be his ANC deputy

2014-02-05 18:21

Cracks have emerged in the camp of Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha as his acolytes face off over who should deputise him.

Four senior ANC members who did not want to be named because they are not allowed to speak to the media, said Mathabatha’s clique is polarised over former provincial secretary Joe Maswanganyi and ANC veteran and former SA ambassador to Ireland Jerry Ndou.

An ANC official in Mathabatha’s coterie told City Press the divisions are so deep in province’s biggest region – Mopani – that they have strained working relations between the newly elected regional chairperson Charlie Sekwati and his secretary, Bioscope Makamu.

Sekwati allegedly supports Ndou while Makamu has thrown his full weight behind Maswanganyi.

“Sekwati is right by endorsing Ndou because he (Ndou) is a uniter and a disciplined cadre of the movement who is not only popular and relates well with branches but also understands the policies, culture and tradition of the ANC,” said another official.

The official also said after a series of heated and acrimonious meetings, Sekwati and Makamu agreed to leave the matter to branches to decide on their preferred candidate.

“But now they are both canvassing and lobbying branches to support their preferred candidates and this is posing a threat to Stan’s victory in the conference,” said the official.

A third official said while the divisions in Mopani are not as deep as they are portrayed to be, they don’t augur well for unity in the region.

“It is only Giyani and Malamulele that are not supporting Ndou. But many branches in the region and the other regions of the province are behind him. Joe does not stand a chance against Ndou, he must just decline nomination to avoid embarrassment,” said the fourth official.

Mathabatha will contest the position of chairperson with MEC for Public Works Dickson Masemola when the party holds its elective provincial conference after the elections.

Masemola is trailing behind Mathabatha by a sizeable number of delegates from the five regions.

He enjoyed overwhelming support from Mopani, Peter Mokaba, Waterberg and Sekhukhune and minuscle backing from Vhembe.

Ndou declined to comment. “I have no comment, sir,” he said.

Maswanganyi couldn’t be drawn on allegations that his faction is divided but confirmed that he was available for election.

“If the branches of the ANC feel that I qualify, I will respect their wishes. If the electoral commission approaches me at the conference and said I have surpassed the threshold then I will stand,” he said.

Attempts to solicit comment from the provincial task team spokesperson Sello Lediga were unsuccessful.

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