The VBS Mutual Bank scandal and failure of the ANC to tackle corruption are two of the reasons several traditional leaders from Limpopo have formed a new political party to challenge the governing party during next year’s general elections.
The new political party, which is called Baroka Swaranang Movement, is expected to register with the Independent Electoral Commission next month.
The decision to form the political party was taken during a meeting in Ga-Mashishini village near Sekhukhune last Sunday.
The move comes at a time when the ANC is trying to fend off the growing threat of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the DA in the province.
The EFF has already eaten into the ANC support base.
The ANC has always relied deeply on traditional leaders during election campaigns.
Baroka Swaranang Movement spokesperson Phauwe Mphahlele told City Press that the ANC had failed to take action against mayors whose municipalities unlawfully deposited millions in VBS.
“The money that municipalities deposited in VBS belongs to our people in the rural areas. We have lost confidence in the ANC. Our people are now suffering.”
A total of 14 municipalities nationally invested funds amounting to R1.57 billion with VBS.
Mphahlele said municipal managers and chief financial officers were soft targets for the ANC.
“They are targeting municipal managers and CFOs [chief financial officers]. Why can’t they take action against mayors, who are the political heads of municipalities?”
Municipal managers and CFOs from municipalities such as Vhembe district and Greater Giyani, which invested with VBS, have been suspended.
VhaVenda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana was among those mentioned in the explosive VBS forensic report.
Ramabulana has offered to pay back the R17 million which he is said to have pocketed from VBS, if it is found that it was an illegal payment.
Mphahlele said the Baroka Swaranang Movement’s message to people in rural areas would be that the ANC failed them.
“We will tell them here is their new party and they must stop crying. We will tell them vote Baroka Swaranang Movement, we will not impose councillors on you,” he said. The ANC had “captured” some of the traditional leaders, he added.
Among the traditional leaders who have joined the new political party are Kgosi Maporane Mokwakwala, Matlala Royal house member Christina Manamela and Shorwane Maake from the Maake royal family.
Mphahlele said villages such as Ga-Matlala outside Polokwane, Ga-Maake village outside Tzaneen and Mongatane outside Burgersfort were presided over by traditional leaders who have joined the new political party.
The decision to form the political party was taken at a meeting attended by 49 traditional leaders.
For traditional leader Kgosi Malesela Dikgale the new political party was nothing but an ethnic grouping led by angry people.
“We don’t know if some of these people are traditional leaders,” Dikgale said.
Limpopo is home to ethnic groups distinguished by race, culture and language.
The ANC in the province said it was not fazed by the traditional leaders’ decision to form a political party.
“We are worried but not scared. The ANC is the congregation of all people. We will continue to engage them. We can’t claim that all is well when a member of the family is not at the dinner table,” party provincial spokesperson Donald Selamolela said.
He reiterated that the ANC had strong links with traditional leaders.
“The ANC will continue to reach out to traditional leaders. They are critical people in society.”
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