Mpumalanga cadre ‘purge’ continues

2013-04-05 11:41

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The chopping and changing of cadres, which has been interpreted as a purge of Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s opponents from influential positions, has continued with a legislature reshuffle.

A reshuffle last week resulted in the demotion of hard-nosed corruption-busters from the select committee on public accounts (Scopa), which is a key legislature committee responsible for exposing corruption and ensuring the recovery of embezzled government funds.

This has been widely seen as Mabuza’s consolidation of control in all government structures after he rallied Mpumalanga ANC delegates behind President Jacob Zuma’s re-election in December. He fired three MECs in February.

The most notable consequence of the shake-up was the removal of committee chairperson of chairpersons, Fish Mahlalela, and SA Communist Party secretary Bonakele Majuba from Scopa.

Both men were causing discomfort with their bold outspokenness against rampant corruption in provincial government.

Mahlalela used to chair Scopa before being “neutralised” with redeployment to become chairperson of chairpersons – a position that gave him a less influential role in the committee.

His experience saw him being appointed chairperson of the continental association of public accounts committees, a position which is now at risk.

“Mahlalela and Majuba were the toughest members in Scopa. (The Mabuza camp) wants to institutionalise corruption by putting people who will say yes to everything and question nothing,” said a senior legislature member on condition of anonymity.

Provincial ANC secretary Lucky Ndinisa denied that the reshuffle was a purge.

“It was inevitable that the legislature would be rearranged following the Cabinet reshuffle. The provincial executive committee assessed government’s work and it became necessary to take three legislature members to Cabinet,” Ndinisa said.

“If people want to reduce this to purging, I don’t know. I can explain this until I’m red, but people have formed their opinions,” he said.

Fired human settlements MEC Siphosezwe Masango and former departmental head, David Dube, were given a lifeline. Masango replaced Mahlalela while Dube was made deputy speaker.

The duo face accusations of failing to meet RDP housing targets and buying land at highly inflated prices. They are staunch Mabuza supporters, but insiders said it would be untenable to keep them on in light of these grave allegations.

The reshuffle seems to confirm the authenticity of a list of 30 cadres who are earmarked for legislature positions after next year’s general elections.

Some of the cadres on this list, which was leaked to City Press, were appointed to Cabinet last month. They are Andries Gamede (human settlements), Simon Sikhosana (cooperative governance and traditional affairs) and Violet Siwela (agriculture).

“I can tell you that this list will be pushed through even if branches nominate and vote otherwise in list conferences. This is foreign to the tradition and culture of the ANC,” said a former ANC provincial executive committee member.

Ndinisa denied knowledge of the list and said whoever has coined it was “daydreaming, naughty and factional”.

“I honestly don’t know about that list,” he said.

Ndinisa denied any possible reshuffle in municipalities.

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