The fairly charismatic and silver-tongued Pro Khoza is the senior fighter who recently resigned from Parliament, citing reasons that he did so in order to focus on his “own things”.
Khoza has been a public figure since at least 2006 when he was elected ward councillor of the ANC in the Badplaas area – the Chief Albert Luthuli sub-region of Mpumalanga – and is often hailed by the community for fixing up the electricity issue in the area, in which half of the Badplaas community had electricity and the other didn’t.
The other part got connected soon after he was elected on 1 March 2006’s local government elections, replacing long-time serving ward councillor Vanana Ndlovu.
Khoza is known in the Badplaas area, where he was born and lives, for leading very violent protests, where protesters would duck rubber-bullets from cops and end up in jail for public violence and him for inciting it.
Most of Khoza’s protests always centred around land issues and the Nkomati Mine of the rural area.
“We accept the fact that land claims take long and it doesn’t take a night to complete it,” he once said while he was ANC councillor.
“But we cannot shy away from the fact that corrupt officials make the process even longer,” Khoza said.
In 2008, Khoza slammed the killing of Samuel Khumalo (43) at a farm in the Badplaas area, saying this had been done by white-farmers in order to scare farm-dwellers and land claimants.
He told national media after Khumalo’s fleshless body was found with teeth marks at the Stolzburg farm in September 2008: “We have every reason to believe that Khumalo was fed to the lions to scare farm-dwellers”.
Also in 2008, the Mpumalanga human rights commission was asked to intervene and provide “protection” by the Badplaas cops after an SACP, Young Communist League branch led by Khoza asked communist members to “shoot to kill” white cops.
Khoza and another leader, Sbusiso Radebe, accused white cops of not taking seriously cases opened against white-farmers abusing blacks.
The Nkomati Mine – located between Machadordop and Badplaas and partly owned by Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe and does nickel mining – knows him as one of the very powerful local leaders, who had twice or more times halted productions, leading workers’ strikes.
Mpumalanga EFF provincial chairman Collen Sedibe this week told 013NEWS that Khoza decided to resign from Parliament, “not that we fired him” after rumours made the rounds in the Badplaas area that caucus leader Floyd Shivambu fired him.
“No, it’s not true. He decided to resign out of his own, we didn’t fire him,” Sedibe said.
Khoza had stated that he quit Parliament in order to focus on business.
He joined the EFF in August 2013, shortly after its formation in Soweto on 26 July 2013, after a fallout with regional ANC leaders.
A group of unhappy ANC members had been leading the charge for Khoza to step down and wanted him to replaced by Johannes Vilakazi before the end of his term in 2011, citing that Khoza was underperforming. Khoza was able to finish his term but was already at loggerheads with ANC regional leaders, resulting in him to be unemployed after finishing his council term.
When Khoza joined the EFF in mid 2013, it was led by ex-senior fighter Ayanda Tshabalala – who also resigned from the Mpumalanga provincial legislature in May 2015 – as provincial convenor and Dumisani Ncongwane – who died in February 2016 – as provincial co-ordinator.
Shortly after joining the EFF in August 2013 Khoza, aided by current chairperson [then provincial organiser] Collen Sedibe and current secretary-general [then member of Mpumalanga provincial executive] Godrich Gardee succeeded in toppling then provincial coordinator Dumisani Ncongwane, who was removed from the provincial secretariat for Khoza to emerge at the helm of the EFF in the Mpumalanga province.
He led the EFF as its provincial coordinator until a ‘reshuffle’ in late January 2014, when national leader Julius Malema took a unilateral decision to remove Khoza, at a meeting held at the Orion hotel in Mbombela, due to “non-performance” and failing to pitch for that very meeting.
A coordinator is a term that is used for an unelected secretary in a temporary structure and a convenor is its chairperson.
The decision to remove Khoza saw Tshabalala become the coordinator and Sedibe the convenor.
Khoza went on to become the first candidate on the EFF’s 2014 regional list to parliament which saw him take up a seat in the National Assembly following the 2014 national general elections.
(edited by MLM)
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