Limpopo’s Mathale comes out on top in ANC election

2011-12-18 09:08

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale has retained his position as ANC chairperson in the province after a long night of voting.

Mathale, a close ally of suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, has beaten his rival, Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Joe Phaahla, with a convincing 601 votes against 519.

Despite warnings by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the opening of the conference yesterday that delegates should not vote according to “slates”, the figures were more or less the same for the other four top leaders on the lists of the two contenders.

The other results were as follows:
» Deputy chairperson: Education MEC Dickson Masemola (603) and businessman Joe Mathebula (514);

» Secretary: Housing MEC Soviet Lekganyane (601) and Joe Maswanganyi (ousted from this position with 517 votes);
» Deputy secretary: Florence Jumbera (602) and Joy Masoge (514);

» Treasurer: Transport MEC Pinky Kekana (606) and Rosina Semenya (509).

The results were announced at the University of Limpopo’s Turfloop campus this morning after voting and counting went on through the night.

Most delegates stayed up all night to vote, while those who were not delegates stayed up for most of the night partying in venues around Polokwane.

The victory was seen as as much of an endorsement for Malema as it was for Mathale.

Malema attended the conference and sat in the front row on the stage with other senior provincial and national leaders during the opening plenary.

The announcement of the results, which leaked about an hour before, sent more than 100 of Mathale’s supporters into a frenzy and sparked wild celebrations in and around the University of Limpopo.

Mathale and Malema’s supporters could be seen leaving the venue in convoy, hooting, and some hanging from the windows of their cars.

Others intensified their anti-Zuma songs, chanting slogans about showers while dangling their hands above their heads to symbolise taking a shower.

This was meant to mock President Jacob Zuma, who during his 2006 rape trial admitted to having had a shower after sex to prevent HIV transmission.

They said their victory was a “lesson” to Zuma.

Although Limpopo has been bleeding ANC membership in recent times and is not the most powerful when it comes to numbers, the win is seen as an important psychological victory for Zuma’s detractors in the run-up to the party’s elective conference in Mangaung a year from now.

Phaahla’s supporters this morning did not even come to the conference venue to hear the announcement.

The conference will continue today with the election of additional members for the provincial executive council and policy discussions in commissions.

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