Intensive lobbying for the top ANC job in Limpopo has begun in earnest with only two days to go before the province’s elective conference, as allegations of tribalism fly between the candidates.
The conference, which starts on Friday and ends on Sunday, will see current ANC provincial chairperson and premier, Stan Mathabatha, battle it out against prominent socialite, musician and politician Penny Penny of Shaka Bundu fame.
The conference would also see two opponents from the same region, current ANC deputy provincial chairperson and MEC for housing Jerry Ndou and Vhembe district municipality executive mayor Florence Radzilani go head-to-head for the position of deputy chairperson.
Penny Penny said: “I am standing for election as party provincial chairperson on Friday. I will represent my people who have been marginalised since the advent of democracy in 1994.
“For the past 24 years, there has not been a Tsonga-speaking premier or ANC provincial chairperson in Limpopo. The time is ripe for the first Tsonga-speaking comrade to lead the province.”
Penny Penny, who is an ANC councillor in ward five of the Greater Giyani local municipality and July Mawewe branch chairperson, pulled no punches in his criticism of the current premier.
“Mathabatha is a tribalist. In his cabinet, there is not even one Shangaan-speaking MEC. He is a divisive leader who deserves to be replaced by a workaholic leader, who is level-headed and ready to fight escalating tribalism, which continues to rear its ugly head.
“If our people want unity, free from tribalism and regionalism, they must elect me,” said Penny Penny.
Yesterday Premier Mathabatha’s spokesperson Kenny Mathiba scuppered these claims.
“Before 1994, the province had former Gazankulu, Venda and Lebowa homelands. When Ngwako Ramathlodi, a Pedi, was elected as party provincial chairperson and premier, he had to work round the clock against tribalism.
“If Penny Penny wants to be ANC chairperson, he must stop vilifying our premier and get his facts straight because it is untrue we don’t have a Tsonga MEC.”
ANC councillor in ward seven in the Greater Tzaneen municipality Leon Mateta also accused the ANC leadership of appointing officials on a tribal basis.
ANC provincial spokesperson Khumbudzo Ntshavheni denied this, saying the party elected members into positions via democratic processes.