Mpumalanga ANC provincial and regional executive committee members will not heed the recommendation of the national disciplinary committee (NDC) that they attend anger management classes.
The committee picked up bad blood, underlying tensions, bullying and palpable anger among ANC leaders when it conducted the disciplinary hearing of former Ehlanzeni regional chairperson, Ngrayi Ngwenya, and the region’s acting treasurer, Phindile Nkuna, last month.
Ngwenya and Nkuna faced charges of assaulting acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, who is also Mpumalanga culture, sport and recreation MEC, at Nutting House on July 17.
This follows a disagreement about the composition of the regional task team that would oversee the amalgamation of Ehlanzeni and Bohlabela regions according to the ANC’s constitution, which does not allow the existence of two regions within one municipal district.
The fight mirrored the factional battles that exist within the province as a result of the upcoming Ehlanzeni and provincial elective conferences that will not only see new leaders elected but also usher in a new era after now Deputy President David Mabuza’s departure from the province he led for nearly a decade.
The factions existed during Mabuza’s tenure and are still haunting the province.
Ngwenya supports Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane’s campaign for chairpersonship and Ntshalitshali is on the side of acting provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu.
The NDC acquitted Ngwenya, but found Nkuna guilty of the assault.
Nkuna was only ordered to apologise to Ntshalintshali.
Subsequently, the committee recommended that leaders at provincial and regional level be sent to the OR Tambo School of Leadership to expand their political understanding.
It also recommended that they be referred for anger management and be equipped with the tools to deal with organisational issues.
LACK OF COHESION
In its observation during the disciplinary hearing, the NDC noted that there was a lack of cohesion among the leaders, as well as serious underlying tensions.
“The NDC noted that interpersonal relations are so low that comrades did not even speak to each other at the hearing. Furthermore, the anger of the comrades was palpable,” the committee said.
“From the evidence led at the hearing it was apparent that a degree of bullying was present, which does not augur well for future relations among the provincial and regional leaders.”
The NDC also recommended that national executive committee deployees to Mpumalanga play a more pro-active role in building institutional capacity and assist with challenges in governance.
The governance challenges, said the NDC, “were evident from the decision-making ability of the leaders and the quality of documents which were submitted before the NDC”.
Acting chairperson Ndlovu said that the provincial executive committee did discuss the recommendations, but did not concur with the recommendation to attend anger management courses.
“They [the NDC] should have been specific. They should not have said all PEC members must attend anger management classes, because it was not the PEC that appeared before the NDC. They were referring to those who attended the disciplinary hearing,” he said.
Regarding attendance at the OR Tambo School of Leadership, Ndlovu said: “Political education is continuous and we don’t have a problem with that. No leader can say he knows everything.”
The NDC intended to visit the Ehlanzeni region last weekend but postponed the event due to training on the party’s online programme.
Elective conferences in Mpumalanga have always bred animosity, tensions, criminality and even death threats.
Members often threaten each other with dismissals from deployments if they win conferences.
A common phrase with which to threaten each other is: “Uzodla amagwaba (You will survive on eating guavas)” or “Sizokufaka emagwabeni (We will banish you to the guava orchard).”
In September, Mpumalanga Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Peter Nyoni, who was at the time campaigning to be the next chairperson, claimed that his house at Oppikoppi Estate in Mbombela was burgled, and two more failed attempts were made in one week.
Nyoni’s campaign communications officer, Canon Phiri, also had his house burgled during the same week and was robbed of a personal file, a couch and clothes.
Phiri’s photo was circulated by the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations, known as the Hawks, as a wanted fraud suspect and a plea was issued to the public to assist in tracing his whereabouts.
Towards the 2015 provincial conference, Nyoni’s vehicles, a Toyota Hilux and an Isuzu, were vandalised at his other home in Valencia Park, Mbombela.
Towards the 2012 provincial elective conference, contenders were warned that their lives were in danger.
At that time, then provincial ANC deputy chairperson Charles Makola and then provincial treasurer Clifford Mkasi were contesting Mabuza.