Limpopo ANC top brass seal Merriam Ramadwa’s fate

2015-07-14 12:37
Speaker of the Provincial Legislature Merriam Ramadwa

Speaker of the Provincial Legislature Merriam Ramadwa

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The provincial executive committee of the ANC in Limpopo has endorsed a decision to recall the speaker of the provincial legislature, Merriam Ramadwa, after several failed attempts to get rid of her. 

It is understood, however, that some concerns were raised in the provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting held in Polokwane yesterday about the timing of Ramadwa’s recall. The ANC was readying itself for the local government elections, which were expected to be hotly contested. 

The ANC in the province was recentlyin the news for allegations of purging, poor leadership, factionalism and disunity. City Press reported at the weekend that Ramadwa had defied at least two directives (SMSes sent by ANC provincial secretary Knocks Seabi) to tender her resignation. 

This was a decision taken by the provincial leadership’s top five at the time and now that it has been rubber-stamped by the PEC, more pressure was to be put on Ramadwa to resign as speaker. 

People close to Ramadwa, who served in the PECs of both the ANC and the SACP, said she was not ready to give it all up. 

“Appointments of speakers were finalised by Luthuli House and she still believes that she is being targeted by the provincial leaders along factional lines. She is ready to comply with the directive but would want to be fired by Luthuli House rather,” said a Ramadwa ally. 

It was not known if Luthuli House would intervene because Ramadwa already had approached secretary general Gwede Mantashe, who seemed not to have helped much because the provincial leadership had pressed on with her recall. Mantashe had asked Ramadwa to go back and engage the provincial leadership over the matter. 

Talk around town in Polokwane is that a woman recently sworn in as a member of the provincial legislature by Ramadwa, Paulina Boshielo, was waiting in the wings to replace her as speaker. 

Boshielo joined the legislature after swapping seats with former ANC provincial secretary, Joe Maswanganyi, who left Limpopo for Cape Town as a member of Parliament last month. 

Meanwhile, Seabi confirmed the PEC’s decision on Ramadwa and said they would continue to communicate with her in a bid to implement the decision. 

Seabi dismissed allegations of purging and creating disunity, saying the decision was taken in line with the deployment policy.

“The ANC can deploy and recall at any time and this is not the first time the party recalls a deployee. I don’t understand why it is being called purging this time around,” he said. 

“We’re assessing performance of our deployees in local government, executive council and the legislature. Every time there is a need for intervention, a decision may be taken to recall.” 

Ramadwa was appointed MEC for sports, arts and culture by Premier Stan Mathabatha when he took over from Cassel Mathale as Limpopo premier in 2013. 

She, however, did not make it back into Mathabatha’s executive after last year’s national general elections and was instead seconded for the position of speaker, but it is understood that she was not happy with this. She was reportedly convinced that she was being purged for not towing the line and taking “wrong orders” from the top provincial ANC leadership. 

With all this unfolding and leading to different interpretations as well as a number of allegations including the re-emergence of factionalism, purging and disunity, it remains to be seen what Luthuli House’s reaction will be. 

Mantashe has refused to be drawn into the Ramadwa case, saying he was not going to discuss internal party matters in the media. 

The governing party’s top brass was this week in the Eastern Cape where they were assessing the state of the organisation in the province. Their visit was triggered by reports of factional battles in some regions as well as concerns of disunity across the province.

Read more on:    anc  |  limpopo

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