Motlanthe distances himself from 'factional' CR17 virtual meeting

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe PHOTO: FRANCO MEGANNON
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe PHOTO: FRANCO MEGANNON
  • ANC Electoral Committee chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe has distanced himself from a factional meeting that was held last week by ANC regional leaders in Limpopo. 
  • Audio recordings have surfaced detailing how Motlanthe found himself at the heart of a factional CR17 virtual meeting at which he was allegedly lobbied to advance CR17 battles. 
  • While confirming the meeting with Motlanthe took place, ANC Limpopo Veterans' League secretary-general Maholi Phala said it was unconstitutionally convened and consisted of individuals who are not veterans' league members.

ANC Electoral Committee chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe has told the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) that most, if not all, disputes lodged with the provincial list committees were due to factional battles within the organisation.

Montlanthe took the opportunity to inform the party that attempts were made to lobby him during a virtual meeting a few days before he delivered his scathing report.

He also spoke about the degeneration of the party into an organisation where money and alcohol were used to buy votes, while senior leaders sowed divisions and the youth and women were marginalised.

The former president said he was disturbed by the virtual meeting which had initially been presented as a meeting with the veterans' league, only for him to realise it was being used to lobby for a certain faction to occupy mayoral positions in the Capricorn District, Polokwane and Fetakgomo Tubatse local municipalities.  

In the meeting attended by at least three Limpopo regional leaders, veterans' league members, Motlanthe and Chief Livhuwani Matsila - who is the secretary of the Electoral Committee - the former president found himself in a position where he was being lobbied to ensure "the radical economic transformation [RET] groups" or loosely associated, the NDZ (Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) faction, do not make the eventual candidate lists submitted to the Electoral Commission of South Africa by the Electoral Committee.

Chief Livhuwani Matsila. Photo by Mpumelelo Buthelezi

An alleged veterans' league facilitator can be heard outlining the agenda of the meeting, saying what would be discussed would be the "candidate selection processed, the mayorship of Capricorn Municipality, Polokwane Municipality and Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality as well as the rise and strength of the RET forces and the VBS Mutual Bank scandal". 

One of the participants, Rakgadi Machaba, can be heard saying: "Thank you chairperson [the convener of the meeting is known to News24] and thank you president Kgalema [Motlanthe], I just want to make an addition around what is happening in Capricorn District Municipality and Polokwane Municipality [two of the five districts in Limpopo].

READ | Damning report of an ANC in turmoil

"Polokwane is the heartbeat of Limpopo and it is the heartbeat of the Peter Mokaba Region. As you also know that Peter Mokaba is now also the heartbeat of the RET forces, to be honest with you president, we were so much disappointed that the RET forces has been deployed to the Polokwane Municipality. 

They were deployed to the Capricorn Municipality and now Polokwane Municipality. Polokwane was the only municipality that was servicing CR17 forces and now we are left with nothing and I have to remind you that in this list that is being submitted again on the top 10, there is none of the CR17 members that are there.

"We are asking ourselves, are we just allowing the municipality to be run by RET forces while we have capable members that are able to do the duties well. We have to mention that our members were in the top 10 but we take back to number 14, 23, 24 and 25 even though they had reached the threshold to be higher up on the list. 

"Now, my plea to the president [Motlanthe] is to simply say, let's just make things in a proper way, by allowing people with qualification, with the experience of the organisation … who have been working for such a long, long time to come in and to stabilise the RET forced. When you give all five municipalities to the RET forces what will be happening to the branches of CR17, we will be left with nothing.

"You are telling us that while we have worked so hard to make sure that the branches are able to be active we are now left with nothing?

"I was saying to the president that you have demoralised us by just deploying the RET forces, what did we do wrong that you don't see the members of CR17? We have won the branches, we have won the wards, we have won the communities," said Machaba. 

Speaking to News24, veterans' league president Snuki Zikalala distanced the league from the meeting saying: "I don't know much about that meeting", but he did confirm he was aware the "meeting indeed took place but had left the VL dismayed". 

Snuki Zikalala. (Photo: Lisa Hnatowicz)

"There are members who apparently did not even belong to the veterans' league who were in attendance who were in the meeting. We were shocked to learn that language to the effect of the NDZ faction or the CR17 faction were being used. As a league we don't know about NDZ and CR17 factions, hence we were shocked at that as we only support unity and a coming together not divisive talk," said Zikalala. 

ALSO READ | Qaanitah Hunter: RET is dead. Will we see a RET 2.0 rise up?

Limpopo ANC Veterans' League secretary-General Maholi Phala confirmed the meeting took place recently but reiterated its organiser "is not even a member of the VL and some of the attendees asking the speaker to address Motlanthe around the CR17 faction and RET factions would never have been allowed in the meeting had the provincial VL been the one in charge of putting together the meeting". 

He added:

The meeting was not properly constituted as proper procedures of organising a meeting of the organisation, especially when having a senior leader as a former president were not followed, making the meeting unconstitutional.

Phala said the meeting was overseen by "some individual who was not part of the veterans' league" and the speaker being divisive was the reason why the meeting degenerated into a factional battle. 

He added the provincial veterans' league would have never allowed some of individuals into the meeting in the first place. 

While Phala simply dismissed the factional utterances to the unconstitutional nature around the convening of the meeting and the presence of "individuals who were not meant to be in the meeting, pro-RET ANC members within the governing party are crying foul saying the emergency of these recordings save to highlight how biased the selection process has been". 

The very fact that the former president stayed in that meeting until the end even after the convener had stated the faction agenda is a worrying scenario for someone who will have the final say and will adjudicate on list disputes across the country.

"One of the speakers even makes it clear that they want the former president to make changes to the list submitted so that the CR17 people could in their own words 'at least run a municipality' in the region," said an ANC member who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity.

The Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation did not respond to questions. Its response will be added once received.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula also declined to comment, while ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not responded to News24 by the time of publication. 

Also in attendance was a senior ANC Limpopo regional secretary and deputy chairperson of the one of the regions in the province.  

The regional secretary said: "I much appreciated the facilitation of this meeting by the veterans' league, comrade president [Motlanthe] thank you very much for listening to us … we have got a specific matter to raise which is the ANC regional conference and the reason why we want to do so comrade president is because the region has already reached its 70% branches threshold for the conference to go ahead.

"Branches are having a huge outcry to say that this REC [regional executive committee] structure has overstayed … its constitutional mandate has been depleted and as such going into a very important undertaking such as the local government campaign with leaders within the REC some of whom are people who are still having the VBS stigma which is still very strong in the region could work against the ANC." 

The regional leader lobbied Motlanthe as chairperson of the ANC's Electoral Committee to consider allowing the region to hold its elective conference and be led by duly elected leaders going into the elections on 1 November. 

IN-DEPTH | 'Onslaught', 'fiasco' for Ramaphosa if elections go ahead this year - analysts

However, what caused an outcry was the secretary calling on Motlanthe to forgo stipulated mayoral section criteria and to have the NEC preside over the selection process for the mayors in the regions. 

ANC Limpopo spokesperson Donald Selamolela did not respond to inquiries sent to him by News24. 

Another ANC member, who spoke to News24 after listening to the regional leader's address to Motlanthe, said "besides the former presidents not having similar arrangements with the so-called RET forces for in order to appear unbiased, what is more concerning is that factional people have his ear and make suggestions that go against the very resolutions of the party". 

"Just last week, Mbalula in his capacity as party's head of elections indicated that there was a new criteria for selection of mayors and outlined that it will take the form of an interviewing process and now Motlanthe is being told in the dark to forgo these resolutions so as to please a certain grouping within the organisation. 

The senior ANC member said:

The same energy that he brought last week when he was breathing fire and brimstone over how the organisation had degenerated, is the same energy that he much use publicly to explain how he found himself in such a factional meeting that was recorded.

The former president makes no verbal contributions that could be heard in the recordings but appears to remain in the virtual briefing for its entire duration. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
With Faf de Klerk out injured, who should start at scrumhalf for the Springboks against Wales on 6 November?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Herschel Jantjies
35% - 894 votes
Cobus Reinach
61% - 1573 votes
Grant Williams
4% - 91 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.