The ANC has sent a warning that it is closely watching former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo as the party gears to take tough steps against “rogue elements” working against its efforts to unite structures and win elections in the embattled province.
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula last week singled out Mahumapelo as a “disruptive element”, adding that he was not the first premier to have his leadership team disbanded, but saying “he is going around as if he is entitled to the position”.
“We have not charged anyone. The party has been patient with rogue elements,” said Mbalula, adding that the governing party’s patience was wearing thin.
He said the skirmishes among party members were outweighed by the positive mood going forward, but “people who did not want change in the province and disbandment were working against the party”.
Mbalula said the challenges were “the consequences of taking hard and bold decisions”, referring to the axing of Mahumapelo last year and the subsequent election of a task team to prepare provincial structures for this year’s elections.
In the Johannesburg High Court last week, Mahumapelo led a group challenging the disbandment as unlawful.
The basis for their argument was that the North West provincial executive committee was not in a state of disarray that was beyond that of other provinces, such as “the Western Cape, Free State or KwaZulu-Natal”.
City Press learnt that the interim leadership was also stuttering in its efforts to lobby opposing factions into a unified election machine.
At least five new factions have sprung up within the task team, leading to the ongoing jostling for the premier candidate to succeed Mahumapelo’s replacement, Job Mokgoro, after the elections.
But the intensifying scramble could also open the door for Mokgoro to remain in office after the elections until new provincial leadership is democratically elected.
Mokgoro, whose allies said he was “ready to continue and amenable to the proposal”, had the backing of the neutrals, who preferred that his mandate be renewed, albeit temporarily, to ensure that his ultimate replacement enjoyed legitimacy in the local ANC structures as an elected leader.
He had been expected to resume retirement after the elections later this year, but could be forced to step up until normalisation.
But others disagree and they have placed the names of ANC MP Nono Maloyi, interim spokesperson Kabelo Mataboge, MEC for Human Settlements Motlalepula Rosho, as well as MEC for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development Desbo Mohono among the potential candidates.
“It is a free-for-all now and everyone fancies themselves to take over where Mahumapelo left off. Task team members are self-serving and self-preserving, and they want to advance their personal interests and not those of the organisation,” said a source in the provincial office, Mphekwa House.
Another aspirant candidate told City Press last month that those who would put their names in the hat were at risk of being seen as “imposed” because they were appointed by Luthuli House to replace Mahumapelo.
In the run-up to the general elections, the task team is expected to submit the names of three candidates for the premier post to Luthuli House, which will make a final determination on the premier candidate after the elections.
However, said a source, some members of the national executive committee held a view that the province had regressed since the task team was appointed, as evidenced by the sharp increase in factions.
“The talk at national level is of a total overhaul of systems and structures, which could take up to three years to achieve. It is even worse because this is the second disbandment in a space of 10 years. Even the task team itself currently runs the risk of being disbanded,” said a provincial leader.
However, task team coordinator Kenetswe Mosenogi disagreed.
Mosenogi said the team got the ball rolling immediately after the appointment, despite having inherited some of the historical challenges that led to the province being dysfunctional.
She said the team introduced “transparency and fairness in the election nomination processes [and] gatekeeping is a thing of the past”. She denied that the list conference did not meet the required threshold, adding that “more than 311 of the 400 branches in the province were in good standing and up to 224 successfully concluded nominations processes”.
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