Nine contenders to Mabuza’s provincial throne

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 David Mabuza’s spot as premier has many contenders to the throne.Picture: Supplied
David Mabuza’s spot as premier has many contenders to the throne.Picture: Supplied

The race to replace the ANC deputy president, David Mabuza, as Mpumalanga ANC chairperson is hotting up with nine candidates vying for the top job.

Though it is likely that some of the candidates will contest as running mates, for now ANC members are proposing the following names:

• Peter Nyoni (Mpumalanga cooperative governance and traditional affairs head of department and former ANC provincial executive committee member);

• Sasekani Manzini (ANC spokesperson and public works MEC);

• David Dube (provincial legislature member and former ANC deputy chairperson);

• Fish Mahlalela (member of Parliament and PEC);

• Pat Ngomana (safety and security MEC and PEC member);

• Cathy Dlamini (member of Parliament and former Mbombela mayor);

• Mandla Msibi (city of Mbombela speaker and PEC member);

• Speedy Mashilo (human settlements MEC and Nkangala regional chairperson); and

• Charles Makola (former provincial ANC deputy chairperson)

Mpumalanga ANC secretary, Mandla Ndlovu, said the party had scheduled a provincial general council on April 7 to elect a replacement for Mabuza and provincial deputy chairperson, Violet Siwela. Siwela was elected into the national executive committee at Nasrec.

The list of contenders consist of a mixture of those who pushed ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign and those who followed Mabuza’s unity campaign, which favoured an uncontested conference where leaders would be elected on a consensus.

Mahlalela, Dube and Nyoni campaigned for Ramaphosa. Mahlalela was Ramaphosa’s provincial campaign organiser. The trio is likely to reach some agreement about the provincial general council and support one candidate to take over as provincial chairperson.

Manzini and Ngomana are also likely to strike a deal – one will be chairperson and the other a deputy.

Manzini’s candidacy has been endorsed by the Practical Radical Economic Transformation (Pret) organisation. Pret is a non-governmental organisation close to Mabuza. Both Manzini and Ngomana have also been Mabuza’s close allies in the province.

‘Ngomana is a Mozambican’

Pret has, however, dismissed Ngomana as a foreigner because of his Mozambican roots. Pret president, Themba Sigudla, said the onus was on Ngomana to prove that he was truly South African.

“This is a matter of principle. Ngomana must step down from the ANC until he proves that he’s not a foreigner. If we agree to this, all the Pakistani and Nigerian nationals in this province will want to be elected as councillors,” Sigudla said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters also questioned Ngomana’s nationality in the legislature and has approached the department of home affairs to investigate the matter, but nothing has come out of this yet.

Ngomana said he had not been lobbied, but had a Facebook campaign page about Pret’s allegation which says: “Pret is not the ANC.”

Ndlovu said he was not surprised by Pret’s interest in ANC matters.

“Most people have interest in the ANC because developments in the party affect them. Even the opposition has an interest,” Ndlovu said.

“However, ANC branches alone will make a decision about who they elect,” he added.

Mabuza’s former deputies want to come back

Makola and Dube have been Mabuza’s deputies since he was elected provincial chairperson in 2008.

Makola worked with Mabuza until 2012. They had a fall-out and Makola attempted to contest Mabuza during the provincial conference but withdrew at the last minute.

Just before the conference, Makola was suspended from his job as Nkangala District municipal manager and later dismissed. The municipality has denied that this had anything to do with the conference.

Dube was Mabuza’s deputy from 2012 until 2016, but their relationship also soured. Mabuza reshuffled top management at the department of human settlements, where Dube was head of department, in November 2012 and did not renew his contract when it expired.

Mabuza accused Dube and his team of “politicking” instead of delivering RDP houses. Since the 2016 conference, Mabuza’s deputy has been Siwela.

Both are now quitting provincial politics.

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