Guns are out and machetes drawn as the ruling party in Limpopo has gone into battle for the big one. As the nomination processes for the provincial and also the Peter Mokaba regional elective conferences of the African National Congress (ANC) are underway, reports were received about the alleged brandishing of a panga and pointing of a firearm following a late night incident marking a party meeting in Westenburg on Sunday.
According to sources a meeting of the ANC’s Winrainbow branch in Polokwane’s Ward 19 that started around 14:00 on Sunday, had to be postponed before midnight due to it not reaching a quorum, being short of 68 members. Branch members were simultaneously expected to elect a new branch executive, it was learnt. Outside the venue a branch member who reportedly insisted during the meeting on having an ANC-affiliated municipal ward councillor removed, had afterwards allegedly produced a firearm and panga with the threat that anyone who prevented him from doing so would face the bullets and the weapon before speeding off, sources claimed.
A branch member said they have asked the Police for protection during the upcoming meeting that was postponed to Tuesday evening. “In the light of the political killings countrywide we are not taking any chances with safety.”
According to ANC Winrainbow Branch Deputy Chairperson Sam Ramphele a report had been made to the Westenburg Police following the incident at a church in the neighbourhood around midnight on Sunday. They had also requested the Police’s protection when they were due to meet again, he added.
Ramphele could not be reached at the time of going to press to establish whether the meeting indeed continued. Polokwane Observer was, however, informed by a branch member yesterday morning (Wednesday) that the meeting couldn’t continue the previous evening due to lack of numbers and that they would attempt to have another meeting tonight (Thursday). If they still didn’t succeed to get numbers the meeting would have to be held on Saturday, the branch member added.
Provincial Police spokesperson Monatse Mamabolo confirmed that an incident report had been made to the Westenburg Police after an alleged incident at a church in Westenburg on Sunday night. He said Police were monitoring the situation.
Upheaval ahead of the provincial conference shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering what is at stake for contestants in the running for top positions in both the region and the province. On Monday Polokwane Observer was informed that the provincial elective conference might be postponed to a week after the set date of 22 to 24 June.
Meanwhile the ANC Youth League (Ancyl) in the province has pronounced on its preferences for the top five to lead the party in Limpopo. During a media briefing at the ANC’s provincial headquarters, Frans Mohlala House last Wednesday Ancyl Provincial Secretary Che Selane reportedly shared the names of current ANC Provincial Chairperson Stan Mathabatha and his deputy, Jerry Ndou as candidates preferred for continued occupation of their current positions. The youth league in the province would want to further see one of their former chairpersons, Lehlogonolo Masoga as Provincial Secretary and Makhoma Makurupetje to stay on as Deputy Provincial Secretary. With regards to the Provincial Treasurer’s position they were for Danny Msiza to remain.
It was reiterated that the Ancyl would appreciate a general consideration of 20% youth representation in the upcoming conference, as they needed young people to play an active and leading role in structures of the ANC and governance.
Whereas a host of names are doing the rounds for preferences for positions, sources are headstrong that anything can happen until names are eventually being ticked off on ballot papers. The names that arise in conversations about preferences more frequently than others include those of Dan Sebabi, Soviet Lekganyane, Joe Mathebula and Phophi Ramathuba.
From the ground it has been established that proposed conference line-ups of several weeks back are, however, not relevant anymore. With reference to one of the line-ups a source in party ranks emphasised that a specific proposed list did not gel well with supporters on the ground, hence it had invited a different approach. Sources from within the party expected nominations from the floor to go any which way when delegates eventually meet for the provincial elective conference.
The strongest of the predictions about the provincial conference aired thus far is that the battle would be won on the floor and without a doubt it is going to be a tough battle. Seemingly this time round a toning down of factions is being observed as party members are fighting less about candidate support and more about being part of the processes and to be included in the delegates to the conference.
Where the elective conference of Peter Mokaba Region is concerned, sources have alluded to the fact that they were eagerly waiting to see what would come of the head-on-head battle between John Mpe and Thembi Nkadimeng for chairpersonship. On the other hand some sources revealed that Nkadimeng wasn’t having adequate support in numbers yet. The regional conference is thus far scheduled for the weekend after the provincial elective conference.
Story: YOLANDE NEL