Masoka Dube

By Masoka Dube

Journalist


Council violence in Mpumalanga points to ANC ‘tasting defeat’ – Analysts

ANC members in Mpumalanga resort to violence amid fears of losing power in upcoming elections, analysts say.


Unruly behaviour and violence are the order of the day with members of the ANC in Mpumalanga as they realise they might lose power in the upcoming elections, according to the political analysts.

The analysts were reacting to reports that ruling party members manhandled the Steve Tshwete municipality speaker during a motion of no confidence against the mayor, Mhlonishwa Masilela, recently.

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In a video clip seen by The Citizen, a group believed to be members of the ANC approached the speaker, Thatho Mathunyane, and started swearing at him, pointing fingers, while some pushed him.

It is unclear what angered the members. Political analyst Prof Sipho Seepe said the conduct does not come as a surprise.

More violence possible

“With the ANC expected to lose more votes, we should not rule out the possibility of violence rearing its ugly head. We should also not rule out the possibility of the results being manipulated to ensure that the party remains in power.

“Power is addictive. The loss of it can trigger violent responses from those who have lost.

“Arguably, this behaviour has long been condoned by the ANC. All one has to do is to cast one’s eyes to the Eastern Cape 2017 conference, dubbed the festival of chairs, which ended up favouring Ramaphosa’s faction,” Seepe said.

The Mpumalanga incident happened as the motion of no confidence in Masilela was about to start. The meeting was adjourned. It was the second time the motion was postponed.

On 13 May, the mayor could not attend as he told the council that he was ill and produced a doctor’s letter.

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The council comprises the DA, EF, Freedom Front Plus, the ANC, and the Middelburg & Hendrina Residents Front, a party represented by the speaker. Goodenough Mashego, an independent political analyst, said the ruling party members find it difficult to accept defeat.

The party members were not trained on how to deal with defeat and become an opposition party, he said. Since 1912, the ANC had been training its members on how to govern and not to become an opposition.

“Since they were not geared up to oppose, they started being violent and aggressive when they realised that they were losing. What we see happening in the Steve Tshwete municipality is not surprising.

“We might see a lot of this after the elections because it is obvious the party is going to slump in terms of numbers and the comrades will not accept that.”

The DA has vowed to take action against the ANC’s “unruly behaviour.”