Can Cassel Mathale survive a cut?

2012-09-29 20:14

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale’s political career is more likely to suffer if President Jacob Zuma emerges victorious in Mangaung than by the criminal charges being brought against his business partner, Selby Manthata.

This is the view shared by his close friends and comrades in the ANC’s Limpopo provincial executive committee following charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering, which were brought against Manthata this week.

Manthata is a close friend of Mathale.

Manthata appeared next to Julius Malema on Wednesday, a day after Manthata’s wife, Helen Moreroa, and son Makgetsi Manthata appeared on similar charges.

They are accused of bribing Malema to obtain valuable Limpopo government tenders.

But Mathale’s friend, a provincial executive committee member, said the charges against Manthata would have no bearing on Mathale’s career.

“According to the Companies Act, you can’t hold a shareholder liable for the conduct of his management.

“Yes, Mathale is a business partner of Manthata, but that does not mean he is involved in management.
“It’s not Mathale’s business if the management got involved in corruption,” he said.

The charges against Manthata will not stick, he said, adding that Manthata and his co-accused had never bribed any government official.

“The allegation is that they bribed someone who was outside government (Julius Malema).”

However, he said Mathale’s political future was closely linked to Mangaung.

“If (deputy president Kgalema) Motlanthe loses, the fate of the premier will be in Zuma’s hands.

“And looking at the decisions he has made over the past five years and the people surrounding him, he is unlikely to spare him.”

If Motlanthe wins, Mathale will serve the remainder of his term as premier.

Then he will move on to the national executive committee of the ANC, a position to which he will be nominated when the ANC’s leadership nominations open next week, the source said.

This would mean Mathale will be both premier and a member of the NEC, like KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.

Another provincial executive committee member sympathetic to Mathale also said Zuma was unlikely to smoke the peace pipe should he win.

Zuma may want to use the charges against Manthata to purge Mathale, but the source said since Mathale has not been charged, moral and political arguments that he is corrupt cannot be used against him.

“It will be hypocritical, as many, if not all, ANC leaders at all levels are involved in business with questionable practices.

“But even if Zuma wants to go for peace, he will be forced by the likes of Cosatu and the SACP, Mathale’s sworn enemies, to axe the premier.

“Zuma will never purge Mathale because he dislikes him,” said a provincial executive committee member who supports the president.

“I’ve known the president for a very long time.

“If he axes the premier, it will be because of the problems that brought the administrators to Limpopo.”

The source said it was “very scary” that Mathale was being associated with people like Manthata.

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