The African National Congress’ (ANC) January 8th statement celebrations last weekend has opened up a battle for the position of Limpopo provincial chair ahead of the elective conference in March.
Limpopo provincial chair
The party has five regions – Norman Mashabane, Vhembe, Sekhukhune, Peter Mokaba, and Waterberg.
Four have held their elective conferences, with Pule Shayi, Tshitereke Matibe, John Mpe, and Julia Mathebe voted in as regional chairs, respectively.
The conference for Waterberg will be held in February-March. The party’s birthday bash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday was the first of many this year.
Mathabatha not available
Some ANC bigwigs in Limpopo have already launched their election campaigns with clandestine meetings across the province.
Lobbying started in earnest after Limpopo provincial chair and Premier Stan Mathabatha announced he would not be available.
Mathabatha took his seat in 2012 after a call by former president Jacob Zuma to save the province from the brink of collapse.
Seven of Limpopo’s provincial departments had been placed under administration.
The provincial administration could also not account for the R2.7 billion of wasteful expenditure and R1.7 billion of irregular expenditure.
He was elected as provincial chair in February 2014 and re-elected for a second term in June 2018.
His exuberant leadership style, his fight against maladministration, fraud and corruption undoubtedly earned him kudos with President Cyril Ramaphosa and he has allegedly been approached to run for one of the top five positions in the National Executive Committee.
He is also touted to make Ramaphosa’s list of Cabinet members if he wins at the December conference. Several names have already been doing the rounds for his replacement.
Dickson Masemola and Soviet Lekganyane
Leading the pack is former deputy provincial chair Dickson Masemola, a provincial executive committee (PEC) member and MEC for public works.
He also served as deputy provincial chair under Cassel Mathale. Current provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane has also been touted by many branch members as Mathabatha’s replacement.
He is credited with speaking out against corruption and maladministration and was instrumental in the implementation of remedial action against VBS-tainted mayors, municipal managers and chief financial officers.
Danny Msiza and Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
Provincial treasurer Danny Msiza has also been punted by many branch leaders.
“Despite unproven VBS allegations, which he is still fighting in court, his name is on top of most comrades in all the regions,” said a PEC member and MEC, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Msiza speaks ANC politics, breathes ANC politics and understands the ANC better than any cadre in Limpopo.”
Another potential replacement is Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni – if elected, she would be the first female ANC provincial chair.