A newly formed Mpumalanga political party is claiming that it is taking the scalp of the ANC and will be forcing by-elections in many municipalities.
The South African National Congress of Traditional Authorities (Sancota) says it is expecting that 49 ANC councillors in Bushbuckridge, Emalahleni and Govan Mbeki (Secunda) municipalities will be defecting to its ranks.
Sancota is the brainchild of Deputy President David Mabuza’s estranged friend, Themba Sigudla, and it is targeting the rural vote by lobbying traditional leaders into its ranks. Its president is Inkosi Mantjolo Mnisi, of Emanzana (formerly known as Badplaas).
Sigudla is himself the president of an economic transformation lobby group, Practical Radical Economic Transformation of South Africa (PretSA), which was formed three years ago to create jobs and business opportunities for unemployed youths.
PretSA was endorsed by Mabuza when he was Mpumalanga premier, and this relationship culminated in the group signing a memorandum of agreement with the provincial government. The agreement formalised that PretSA was a recognised structure through which government and the private sector could address the youth’s economic issues.
PretSA had a strong voice then, which silenced ANC structures, and it actively campaigned for Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed former President Jacob Zuma in the build-up to the ANC’s conference in Nasrec.
City Press understands that two ANC councillors from Bushbuckridge, eight in Emalahleni and eight in Govan Mbeki have already joined the fledgling party.
Sigudla said that the party was working hard on the ground to win seats in municipalities before the general elections in May.
“Many councillors are joining us and they will soon be resigning as councillors,” he said.
“We’re strong in Bushbuckridge where we’re also taking councillors from the [Bushbuckridge Residents Association]. Emalahleni and Govan Mbeki are some of the areas we’re making inroads,” he said.
ANC provincial secretary, Mandla Ndlovu, however said that only one councillor had resigned in Bushbuckridge.
“We’ve heard that there might be another one joining them, but I can assure that that’s all they will get in Bushbuckridge,” Ndlovu said.
He said that the ANC was not worried and was sure Sancota would not make a serious dent in its ranks.Until recently, the ANC’s threat in Mpumalanga had been the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and the Bushbuckridge Residents Association, which was formed in 2011 by disgruntled ANC members.
The Bushbuckridge Residents Association has one seat in the Mpumalanga legislature, but has grown bigger than the DA and EFF in the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality. It is now, however, considered to be moribund after its secretary, Cleopus Maunye, went back to the ANC three years ago, following crippling internal squabbles among its leaders.
From winning one ward with 11 000 votes in 2011, the Bushbuckridge Residents Association increased the number to five in the last local government elections when it amassed 46 000 votes (18.09 %) and surpassed the DA (3.01%) and the EFF (5.55%) by a large margin to become the official opposition in the local municipality..