Makola tackles Mabuza in ANC leadership race

2014-10-23 23:26

A former ANC deputy chairperson in Mpumalanga has resurfaced from the political wilderness and is now in the reckoning to lead a region and settle a score with Premier David Mabuza.

Charles Makola has announced that he will be standing for the position of Nkangala regional chairperson during an elective conference that will sit in Ermelo from today until Saturday.

Makola’s return is a last-ditch attempt by the anti-Mabuza faction to wrest control of the only region up for grabs after the Mabuza faction easily won the Ehlanzeni (Mbombela), Gert Sibande (Ermelo) and Bohlabela (Bushbuckridge) regions over the past few weeks.

“We thought it would be better to unite and keep this region because there will be great difficulties for the people of this province if Nkangala is lost before the provincial conference (in 2016). I came into the equation to unite all the forces in Nkangala,” said Makola.

Mabuza is likely to stand for a third term as provincial ANC chairperson in 2016 in order to be able to keep the premiership until the end of his term in 2019, and also have enough backup to challenge for a top-six position in the national executive committee.

Makola’s rival in Nkangala, Speedy Mashilo, and his group have declared that if they win Nkangala, they will support Mabuza to run for a third term.

Makola was Mabuza’s deputy from 2008 until the provincial conference in 2012 when he campaigned to unseat him, but withdrew from standing at the last minute following complaints of irregularities with nomination processes of delegates in the branches before the conference.

Makola was also ousted from his position as Nkangala district municipal manager just before the provincial conference when councillors aligned to Mabuza took a resolution to suspend and later fire him.

He appealed his dismissal in the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The matter is still on-going.

Mashilo was the district’s mayor when Makola was kicked out. He was Nkangala ANC chairperson until the provincial executive committee (PEC) decided to disband the region early this year and appoint a task team to run the region.

This was seen as a purge by Mabuza’s allies, but it now seems that Mashilo has smoked a peace pipe with this faction.

Mashilo’s chief lobbyist Smangaliso Khumalo said Mashilo has already won Nkangala as 188 out of 258 delegates had promised to vote him.

“The Makola people don’t have delegates. We’re winning this conference and are affirming that Mabuza should be retained for a third term as chairperson,” said Khumalo.

Current Nkangala mayor Thomas Ngwenya is expected to abandon his ambition to stand and throw his weight behind Mashilo in exchange for a position as his deputy.

Mpumalanga head of the human settlements department Sarel Mtshweni wanted to stand but cannot because he is a PEC member.

A Mangaung resolution forbids members with positions in higher structures from contesting in the lower rung.

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