Former Ehlanzeni ANC regional chairperson Ngrayi Ngwenya had claimed that the ANC had suspended him to thwart Deputy President David Mabuza’s campaign for the ANC presidency.
Ngwenya said this while addressing a community meeting in a packed hall in Block B in his stronghold of Nkomazi sub-region near Malalane during the weekend.
He also promised the crowd that wayward Nkomazi mayor Johan Mkhatshwa and council speaker Siphiwe Mashele were not going to leave the positions they occupy in the Nkomazi Local Municipality, which was against the wishes of the ANC national executive committee.
The provincial executive committee suspended Ngwenya for five years late last year for showing his support to former president Jacob Zuma who was to be incarcerated for contempt of court. He has since been left in the political wilderness after his faction, Ngci, lost the province and all three regions to the Focus faction.
Ngwenya, however, still has some support in Nkomazi.
“Whether they like it or not, DD Mabuza will be the president of the country.” Ngwenya said:
Ngwenya and Mabuza have been close allies. Mabuza’s support in Mpumalanga has dwindled following the outcome of the conference. Newly elected provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu has rallied behind President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign for a second term and has not mentioned his support for Mabuza to retain his position as deputy president.
Ngwenya’s utterances also suggested that Mkhatshwa’s refusal to step down could be supported by the whole Ngci faction. He said that ANC branches elected Mkhatshwa and Mashele, as well Philosopher Mziyane for the position of chief whip, adding that seven councillors who ganged up with the EFF and supported Mkhatshwa’s election in the council would be reinstated.
The NEC wanted Phindile Magagula to be mayor but on November 23, during the inaugural council meeting after the November 1 local government elections, Mkhatshwa, Mashele, public accounts committee chairperson Jacob Mancoba Mthethwa, Community Services MMC Delile Mlangeni, Corporate Service MMC Mumsy Khoza and ward councillor Vincent Nyambi joined forces with the EFF in defiance of the ANC and voted Mkhatshwa as mayor.
All these councillors have been dismissed but have appealed.
“The ANC is now dismissing councillors you elected. The ANC’s time has come to an end. It is not God, it’s just a party we joined. If the ANC was able to persecute Jacob Zuma, who are we as Nkomazi? I’ll tell you this, Johan is going nowhere.
There had been rumours that Ngwenya could form his own political party, but he had denied this. However, it is believed that the meeting in Block B was a campaign for by-elections as three of the dismissed councillors hailed from that community. They will now stand as independent candidates.
Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson Ngelosi Ndlovu was not available to comment. The ANC had indicated that it would strip Mkhatshwa of the mayoral chain when the council sat again to vote.