Limpopo ANC chair: It’s Stan Mathabatha vs Dickson Masemola

2013-09-15 14:01

It is likely to be a two-horse race to the ANC’s top job in Limpopo when the party goes to its elective conference in December.

Three senior ANC officials have told City Press that former ANC Limpopo deputy chairperson Dickson Masemola would go toe-to-toe with Premier Stan Mathabatha for the coveted – and most powerful – position of chair.

It has emerged that former provincial chair and premier Cassel Mathale was set to run too, but withdrew two weeks ago.

A number of branches, mainly from the province’s Mopani region, asked Mathale – who was ordered to step down as premier three months ago – to stand for re-election.

He lost his position as chair when Luthuli House disbanded Limpopo’s executive committee and sent in a provincial task team to take over the reins.

Mathabatha, who was appointed as premier in July, enjoys support from many members of the task team.

A senior ANC official who didn’t want to be named said the task team favoured Mathabatha over Masemola because the party wanted to avoid having two centres of power in Limpopo.

They fear that if Masemola is elected chairperson, Mathabatha will become a lame duck premier because the provincial executive will simply impose decisions on him.

“It makes a lot of sense. Mathabatha is a good and disciplined cadre of the movement, and he will unite the province and heal it from its divisions.”

Mathale may be out of the race, but one of his closest allies is being pushed as a deputy to Masemola.

City Press has learnt that after Mathale decided not to run, Mopani – which, with 125 branches, is the largest ANC region in Limpopo – agreed to back Masemola’s bid if its former regional chair, Joshua Matlou, was put forward as deputy.

Matlou, who is Mopani district’s executive mayor and one of Mathale’s confidants, bolstered his own bid by pulling out of the regional conference to be held this coming weekend, a party official told City Press.

Another official said the same strategy was being employed by many branches in the Sekhukhune region from which both Mathabatha and Masemola hail.

Sekhukhune’s former chairperson, Mogobo “Shoes” Magabe, will not contest the regional election. His supporters say all his energy and focus must be on the provincial elections.

A similar game is being played in the Capricorn region, where former regional chairperson Lawrence Mapoulo has also pulled out of the race. He is said to be on Masemola’s slate.

Mathale was not available for comment at the time of going to press.

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