A tussle between Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha and Vhembe district municipality Mayor Florence Radzilani has taken a new twist, with some ANC members now piling pressure on Radzilani to leave.
Mathabatha is the ANC provincial chairperson, Radzilani is his deputy.
City Press has learnt from several sources that there are fears Mathabatha and Radzilani might not be able to work together again after they slugged it out in court last week.
However, ANC provincial spokesperson, Donald Selamolela downplayed tension between the two this week, saying the party expected a joint commitment from them to work together.
“We have not seen anything that signifies that we should be worried as the ANC. The VBS is an emotive issue. People are reacting to it differently,” he said.
Relations between the two senior ANC leaders in the province deteriorated after Radzilani filed her replying affidavit to the High Court in Pretoria,
accusing Mathabatha of “grabbing” her and telling her she had all the “ingredients he wants from a woman”.
She said he sent her an SMS on March 8 to tell her he would call her when his meeting ended.
“I was surprised when I arrived in his hotel room. After closing the door he grabbed me and he said the two of us were in love. He said that my body has all the ingredients he wants from a woman. I pleaded with him not to do that to me and he said I’m behaving like an old-fashioned lady.”
Mathabatha went to court to prevent City Press and other media houses from publishing details of a recorded phone conversation between him and Radzilani.
In the affidavit Mathabatha said the publication of the “illicit” recording would injure his dignity, his standing as a family man and in society and as a leader in the province. He said the “illicit” recording was being used for political manoeuvring, describing it as a smear campaign against him by Radzilani’s husband, Pastor Stanley Radzilani.
“There is an apparent jostling for positions in preparation for next year’s elections,” Mathabatha said in the affidavit.
Lawrence Mapoulo, ANC member and former Capricorn district municipality mayor, said Radzilani and ANC treasurer Danny Msiza should do the honourable thing and resign.
“The ANC does not lack leaders. It has many good leaders. We didn’t eat stokvels money,” Mapoulo said.
Mapoulo gave an example of how former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale resigned as the premier when allegations of corruption and the collapse of governance in the province surfaced.
“Mathale was chased [away] like a dog when there was no scientific report that he collapsed the provincial government,” Mapoulo said.
In the forensic report – titled the Great Bank Heist – released by advocate Terry Motau, Florence Radzilani was said to be “crying” because she received only R300 000 for ensuring that millions deposited by Vhembe district municipality into VBS were not withdrawn. Msiza was referred to as the “kingpin” of the “commission agent” scheme, which resulted in several municipalities investing money in VBS. The release of the report resulted in the province’s ANC Veterans’ League issuing a statement that alleged the Spirit Ambassadors’ Ministries International church, where Stanley Radzilani is a pastor, was involved in acts of money laundering.
This week a small group of ANC members went to Frans Mohlala, the party’s provincial headquarters in Polokwane, demanding the removal of Radzilani and Msiza.
This occurred even though the ANC had referred its leaders or members allegedly implicated in the VBS scandal to its integrity commission.
The party’s integrity commission chairperson, George Mashamba, said the commission would complete its investigation soon.
He said once the commission had collected all the documents it would investigate and, if ANC leaders and members were found to be implicated in the theft of VBS funds, they would be called to account for themselves. Mashamba said the commission would make a proposal to the ANC’s national executive committee after completing its work.
It could result in disciplinary action, he said.