Mpumalanga SACP chair suspended

2015-11-30 06:00
Eric Kholwane

Eric Kholwane

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The SA Communist Party (SACP) in Mpumalanga has slapped its chairperson, Eric Kholwane, with an 18-month suspension.

Kholwane, who is also the Mpumalanga finance and economic development MEC, broke ranks with party leadership and supported Premier David Mabuza in the ongoing fight between SACP leaders and the premier.

Matters came to a head when Kholwane spoke ill of the SACP during the ANC provincial general council in March. He accused the SACP of backing scholar-transport service providers who were accusing the Mpumalanga department of education of failing to pay millions of rands owed to them.

Those who attended the meeting said he also accused SACP leaders of using the party’s platforms to attack ANC leaders.

Kholwane uttered the remarks two months after ANC members disrupted the SACP’s memorial lecture to honour its late stalwart, Joe Slovo. The event was also in honour of late Mbombela council speaker Jimmy Mohlala, who was killed while probing tender corruption related to the 2010 Mbombela World Cup stadium. Chaos ensued as warring ANC and SACP members attacked one another.

The SACP has been calling for Mabuza to step down since 2010, accusing him of causing divisions in the tripartite alliance and presiding over a corrupt government and ANC.

SACP provincial secretary Bonakele Majuba confirmed Kholwane’s suspension. Majuba said the provincial executive meted out the sanction on November 22.

“Ordinarily, we would have expelled him, but he wrote us a letter of apology. He managed to humble himself and we gave him a lighter sentence,” he said.

“What he did, though, was completely unacceptable for the discipline of the SACP. He will not participate or perform any party duties and, when his suspension period lapses, he can return as an ordinary member.”

Kholwane said he had not been informed of his suspension. “I’ll wait for it to arrive before deciding what I’m going to do,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of Mabuza’s political rivals is facing dismissal from the ANC in the province.

Former provincial executive committee (PEC) member Peter Nyoni was suspended on July 27 after he was accused of being behind a march by a lobby group, Save Mpumalanga ANC, to provincial party headquarters to protest what they called Mabuza’s “autocratic and corrupt leadership”.

A day after the march on July 31, Nyoni’s two bakkies – a Toyota Hilux and an Isuzu – had their windows smashed at his home in Valencia Park outside Mbombela.

Nyoni boycotted his disciplinary hearing on Monday, and thereafter an audio recording confirming his dismissal leaked. One of the voices on the recorded telephonic conversation is similar to that of provincial disciplinary committee member Thomas Bongo, but he has denied the recorded voice is his.

Nyoni’s legal representative, Ronald Lamola, said the disciplinary committee members were biased.

“The PEC must appoint disciplinary committee members who are not conflicted ... and we said we can’t proceed with the hearing on that basis,” said Lamola.

Read more on:    sacp

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