The newly founded organisation which has been causing havoc in most parts of Mpumalanga is said to have been established by Mpumalanga Premier DD Mabuza as his weapon to police the anger of the poor.
The Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) group launched early this year is DD Mabuza’s mass weapon, sources who are privy to the group’s activities have said.
They say Mabuza wants to ‘monopolise protests’ by getting all angry community members to be PRET members and protest for services under his control.
The group is led by controversial eMalahleni businessman Themba ‘Masofa’ Sgudla as ‘President’ and ex-eMalahleni municipality chief whip Sunday Mathebula as ‘secretary general’.
It was launched in March 2017 as an organisation fighting unemployment and giving poor people the access to economic empowerment through engaging big corporates and government.
Mabuza attended its launch occurring over two days at the Witbank Dam – on 11 and 12 March – alongside economic development MEC Eric Kholwane .
Nkangala ANC leader Speedy Mashilo and eMalahleni mayor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali also came to bless the launch, with Mabuza telling those who attended that they are doing the right thing “for organising yourselves and fight poverty together. I’ll assist you,” he is said to have said while on stage.
The group has been organising service delivery protests, approaching big businesses and recently chased mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane. The minister had come to the Sydney Choma community hall in Middelburg on the Friday morning of 23 June 2017 to discuss with the community members the recently launched Mining Charter, which calls for the percentage of black ownership in mines to go up by 30%, but Zwane had to be whisked away when PRET members began to degenerate the meeting into chaos, accusing Zwane of not reporting to Mabuza that he is coming to the province.
PRET leader Sgudla, a controversial figure who frequently gives out R100 notes to protesters organised by PRET, is accused by some of getting all tenders in the eMalahleni municipality and of forming PRET to further his business interest.
“PRET is DD Mabuza’s mass weapon. It’s his EFF. The purpose is to police the poor people’s anger by giving them the impression that they are on a struggle while the leaders loot state resources,” a former PRET member said.
He said he left PRET after he realised Sgudla and Mathebula were playing with people.
Both Sgudla and Mathebula didn’t answer their phones on Tuesday mid-day.
Mabuza on Tuesday addressed a meeting of dissatisfied community members in Nkomazi organised by PRET.
The Premier’s spokesman Zibonele Mncwango said PRET was formed to help young people “work closely with the economic development department and create employment”.
“The Premier wants it to be all over the province for young people. It must work closely with the economic development department and create employment, organise young people and establish businesses for themselves,” Mncwango said.
(edited by ZK)
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