The reported pre-empted recall of Capricorn District Municipality (CDM) Executive Mayor Gilbert Kganyago will be subjecting the institution to the second reshuffle within 13 months. It equally draws attention to escalating undercurrents within the ranks of tripartite alliance partner South African Communist Party (SACP) in the province, a structure he has been leading for more than three years now.
The situation within the municipal structure is worrisome to those concerned about service delivery being served a brutal blow, which is anticipated to cause a greater populace to suffer in the process. It was reliably learnt that trouble is simultaneously stirring within the political structure over Kganyago allegedly clinging to power and holding onto a position that is being regarded as affording him the little remaining control left.
According to insiders in the SACP, Kga-nyago is apparently about to be recalled for failure to act on ruling party instructions while under fire within his own party for allegedly not wanting to let go of the leadership position. The mayors of Sekhukhune District Municipality as well as Lepelle-Nkumpi and Molemole Municipalities also stood the chance to be axed, sources pointed out.
As Provincial Secretary of the SACP, Kganyago has been expected to have steered party structures towards their next elective session by now, but the June date set for the provincial congress was cancelled, it was reliably learnt from sources within the party. No justifiable reason existed for the postponement and the mandate of the party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) had lapsed by now, one of the sources claimed. He said the PEC was operating under the mercy of the party’s Central Committee (CC). According to the source the CC had once sent a deployee to Limpopo to investigate certain matters, but to date there had been no further movement. From another corner it was learnt that since February there had been instances where the PEC could not reach a quorum whenever meeting.
With an overwhelming majority of branches in Castro Pilusa, Sparks Ramagoma, Alpheus Malivha, Lawrence Phokanoka and Govan Mbeki Districts already having pronounced Castro Pilusa District Secretary Chuene Malebana as firm favourite for provincial party leader, it is a possibility that Kganyago would have to step down when branches had go to their next provincial congress, reckoned a source. Simultaneously most support for the top five leadership positions would seemingly be towards seeing Goodman Miteleni and Rudzani Ramogomo elected as First and Second Deputy Secretaries, Teenage Monama as Chairperson, Mogale Nchabeleng as Deputy Chairperson and Phophi Ramatuba as Treasurer.
Malebana was being considered a worthy contestant, a seasoned as well as tried and tested party cadre who would not be accused of being a visiting member or a parachuted leader, said a party member. “He is the ideal person to take the party forward.” Kga-nyago, on the other hand, was referred to as a hands-off kind of person who has turned out to be too laid back. He expressed the hope that the looming recall was due to a failure to follow the mandate of the ANC and not to feed power hungry politicians. Another source labelled Kganyago as a leader who did not take the issues of the workers to heart.
Initially Kganyago was not supposed to get the position of mayor, but instead the names of Malebana, current Blouberg Mayor Sammy Selamolela and former Molemole Mayor Monica Mohale were being considered, one of the sources said. “Due to intervention by the top leadership he was put in that position.”
When Kganyago took over from recalled predecessor Lawrence Mapoulo in the beginning of July last year, leadership terrain was familiar ground to him as he has steered the party in the province since June 2012. He was elected into the Provincial Secretary’s position after the dissolving of the former PEC of the SACP under leadership of Soviet Lekganyane. Kganyago used to be a strong voice of reason but somehow after becoming mayor the situation started changing and he was now being accused of having become too assertive, a source emphasised. “Many party activists feel they have lost him to that position.”
ANC Peter Mokaba Region Deputy Chairperson John Mpe’s name is being circulated as a candidate to take up the mayoral position alleged to become vacant in due course. In the meantime the Democratic Alliance (DA) has entered into the battle with a statement issued by CDM Councillor David Setjie raising the issue of the DA managing to stop payment of Mpe’s salary for allegedly failing to pitch for work since November last year after his election onto the ruling party regional executive the previous month, despite getting a monthly salary. “It is being alleged that since taking action against Mpe due to the pressure of the DA, Kganyago is said to be facing expulsion from the mayoral office by the ANC.” He concluded saying the DA would request the Auditor-General (AG) to probe the fruitless expenditure and demand repayment of taxpayers’ money.
An ANC cadre said the Regional Executive Committee (REC) of the ruling party’s Peter Mokaba Region had made the recommendation for a recall of the four mayors, who had been called in to brief the top leadership in the province on service delivery issues last week. However, the national executive of the ANC would not allow a “wholesale reshuffle”, he reckoned.
ANC Limpopo Media Liaison Officer Aluwani Netsianda responded by attributing the allegations of a possible recall to nothing other than rumours. He said the ANC PEC was not discussing any recall. Upon him stating that the ANC was not recalling mayors as alleged, he was asked whether it was possibly happening some time in future whereupon he simply reiterated the initial affirmation.
At the time of going to press Kganyago referred Polokwane Observer to SACP and CDM spokespersons respectively.
Story: YOLANDE NEL