EXCLUSIVE: Mabuza was using Robert Gumede in failed ANC-BRA talks

A special conference of the Bushbuckridge movement was held after it emerged that its secretary Cleopas Maunye was meeting with businessman Robert Gumede on the instruction of Premier David Mabuza.

The Bushbuckridge Resident Association this week told 013NEWS they were aware of meetings between IT billionaire Robert Gumede and their secretary, who is also a member of the Mpumalanga legislature, Cleopas Maunye.

Gumede is a close friend of Mpumalanga ANC chairman David Mabuza and the movement said his meeting with Maunye, “and the promises to live nicely”, were on Mabuza’s instructions, “to broker deals and dissolve our movement”.

A special conference in Bushbuckridge’s Acornhoek on 22 February 2017 resolved to recall Maunye as both party secretary and member of legislature.

“But the membership was faithful to him you know,” acting secretary Johannes Ndlovu told 013NEWS on Tuesday afternoon. “We said let’s give him the chance to answer questions but Maunye didn’t come to that conference and membership took [a] decision in his absence,” said Ndlovu, who in that conference was voted to take over from Maunye as acting secretary.

013NEWS understands that on Sunday 5 February 2017, Maunye flew from Mbombela to Johannesburg to meet Gumede.

Mabuza wants BRA to dissolve and Maunye co-opted into the ANC’s provincial executive committee.

SEE ALSO: Cleopas Maunye ‘selling out to ANC’

But this may fail after BRA’s members and followers lost confidence in Maunye, accusing the young politician of selling out to the ANC.

SUSPENDED: BRA Secretary Cleopas Maunye.

A woman who answered the telephone at Gumede’s Tshwane offices said Gumede together with his personal assistant were outside the country on a business trip and would return next week “Tuesday or Wednesday”.

“I’d advise that you call his PA next week Tuesday or Wednesday,” she said.

Mabuza’s office asked that questions be sent through e-mail and will answer after consulting with ‘external stakeholders’ in the matter.

Maunye said he accepted the decision of his party but said all accusations “surfaced” because he was now based in Mbombela, which made members back home believe he was now selling out to the ANC.

Robert Gumede

Robert Gumede. Photo: Paballo Thekiso

The reason Maunye now lives in Mbombela – in the up market West Acres suburb and no longer in Bushbuckridge – is because his party won a seat in the Mpumalanga legislature and was elected to it.

Ndlovu said the ANC will not win in “dissolving” BRA.

The BRA is led by Delta Mokoena as President, Daniel Mashigo as Deputy President, him Ndlovu as acting, Netago Mokoena as deputy secretary as well as treasurer Cecil Shikee and won 14 seats in the Bushbuckridge local municipality.

“We don’t have problems meeting ANC or Mabuza’s people but it’s against principles if we are not informed.

“Comrade Cleopas hid everything from us until we found out ourselves, hence we took the decision,” Ndlovu said, adding a BRA Task Team, made out of local elders, went to deliver the message to Maunye that the Acornhoek special conference resolved to recall him as secretary and requested that he steps down as an MPL.

(edited by ZK)

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