‘Un-ANC’ conduct probed

2009-10-03 13:43

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma supporters in Limpopo are at each other’s throats in a bitter fight for control of state resources. They have sacrificed their pre-Polokwane unity to fight factional and bloody battles for political power.

In the process, rival groups are assaulting, threatening and intimidating each other ahead of the elective regional conferences that will determine which group will eventually take over the province at the next provincial ANC conference in 2012.

Their conduct has been condemned as “un-ANC” by Luthuli House, the party’s headquarters, which is awaiting a report on the matter.

Factions aligned with provincial chair and premier Cassel Mathale and provincial secretary Joe Maswanganyi have circulated rival candidate lists ahead of the Capricorn regional conference next month. The influential region, which includes the city of Polokwane, is crucial for any group hoping to control the province.

Premier Mathale and his ally, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema, have thrown their weight behind ex-Polokwane city mayor Lawrence Mapoulo for the position of regional chair.

Former roads and transport MEC Stan Motimele reportedly enjoys the support of Maswanganyi as well as that of the “walking wounded”. These are senior party and business leaders who feel sidelined by Mathale and Malema.

City Press reported in May that angry Zuma supporters planned to fight Mathale over the composition of his provincial cabinet, which they said Malema had dictated to ensure it sidelined senior ANC leaders who were in his bad books.

We also reported that they had rallied behind Maswanganyi in the wake of Malema’s apparent intention to unseat him as provincial secretary in 2012.

The ANCYL chief reportedly planned to launch a pre-emptive strike because he suspected Maswanganyi of planning to topple Premier Mathale as provincial chair at the same conference.

Zuma reportedly warned the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) three weeks ago against using party structures to attain personal power for business reasons. Mapoulo is one of the province’s top businessmen.

Three ANCYL members aligned with Mathale’s faction – ANCYL Capricorn regional secretary and Malema’s confidant Jacob Lebogo (32), Abel Mpofu (32) and Peter Moyo (33) – were released on R500 bail by the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court this week on charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

They allegedly assaulted Barney Molokwane branch chairperson Matlala Maremane (50), at a branch AGM at the weekend for campaigning against Mapoulo.

They allegedly forced his bakkie off the road with another car driven by Lebogo, then dragged him in the streets before hitting him with bricks and bottles.

Maremane was admitted to hospital with head and eye injuries.

“They were hitting me as if they were killing a snake,” Maremane said. “Had the police not arrived, they would have killed me.”

Lebogo has denied assaulting Maremane, claiming his fellow comrade “collided” with him while driving against oncoming traffic on Suid Street.

“What I know is that I was driving down a one-way street and he collided with me while driving in the wrong lane,” said ­Lebogo.

But Fanie Du Plessis, a tow-truck driver who was parked at the corner of Marshall and Dorp streets, insisted the incident happened at that intersection. He said a group of people “hit another man with bricks and bottles”.

After the police finally arrested the trio on Wednesday, Mpofu opened a counter-charge of assault against Maremane, who was immediately arrested and released on R500 bail.

Mpofu claimed that Maremane also knocked him down with a car as he sped away from the tense meeting held at Waterland in Polokwane.

Police have denied that they enforced the law selectively because they failed to arrest the trio as quickly as they had done with Maremane.

Malema dismissed Maremane’s allegations as “cheap publicity. They know that I support Mapoulo and once I do that, they would not emerge.”

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