Inside the Mpumalanga ANC chaos

Inside the Mpumalanga ANC chaos
RING LEADER: Former chairman of the now disbanded ANC eHlanzeni is a man unhappy with the decision to not include his lieutenant Nathaniel Mashile in the newly formed RTT. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK

Nobody amongst the senior leaders wish to be quoted with regard to the embarrassing event that saw acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali being physically attacked by her own comrades.

It’s currently a dog-eat-dog world in the Mpumalanga ANC while string-holder DD Mabuza watches from above like an owl, assuring comrades below that they are having his protection in the upper structure. 

With these words the deputy president means that all he wants to see from his Mpumalanga comrades is for them to not tear themselves apart and be seen as diverting the ANC’s objectives with petty squabbles. 

But as comrades move towards elective conferences in the province, such is not avoidable and this began to show serious signs a week ago when the MK council locked the gates of party headquarters in Mbombela accusing the PEC of being an ‘illigetimate structure’.

SEE ALSO: New calls for Mpumalanga PEC to be disbanded

Two days later a group of comrades led by leader of the now disbanded eHlanzeni ANC region, Ngrai Ngwenya, and PEC member Pat Ngomane charged on provincial acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, accusing her of not announcing the names of certain comrades to serve in the newly established regional task team (RTT).

The RTT was announced by Ntshalintshali during a special regional general council (RGC) Wednesday last week (17 Jul) at the Nutting House Lodge in Mbombela. It followed the disbandment of the two ANC regions, Bohlabela and eHlanzeni, last week following an NEC order last year that one of the regions be scrapped off in line with government demarcation and the ANC’s constitution.

It also followed after national secretary Ace Magashule had written another letter in June this year to the party in the province, directed to acting chairman Mandla Ndlovu about the necessity in making the disbandment “since an additional district in Bohlabela, as anticipated, was not established by the Demarcation Board”.

The disbandment will now see the two regions merged.

013NEWS learnt how comrades in the eHlanzeni region wanted Nathaniel Mashile, the deputy secretary of the now disbanded eHlanzeni ANC and a closer ally of billionaire Robert Gumede, as Co-ordinator of the RTT. 

After “tense engagements”, the factions, all of whom are loyal to deputy president DD Mabuza, wanted Mashile as Co-ordinator and leader Ngwenya as deputy convener. 

A convener is the chairperson of a temporary structure while a co-ordinator is the secretary. By demanding the co-ordinating job is given to one of their own the factions want to forge a decisive victory in the upcoming regional congress and don’t want to be left out.  

But, during the meeting of branches at the Nutting House Lodge, Ntshalintshali announced Bohlabela leader Gillion Mashego as convener, Ngwenya as deputy convener, eHlanzeni ANC secretary Phazamisa Mathe as co-ordinator and Bohlabela secretary Follas Sibuyi as deputy co-ordinator. 

This set her against other comrades, who other delegates say were “rented crowds” and were rented “to hijack the functioning of the ANC for selfish ends”, who stormed the venue and began attacking her with chairs while she was on the podium.

The crowd had been waiting outside and singing struggle songs while the PWC was sitting and discussing the names of the people to put in the new task team. 

The PWC resolved that if the chairperson of each region is appointed the convener, then the secretary of the other region will be the co-ordinator. And the remaining two will deputise. 

Sources who know about the PWC meeting that sat before the special RGC sat on that said once the view of Mashile becoming co-ordinator was defeated, Ngomane and Ngwenya allegedly went “activate” the mob. 

Ntshalintshali had to leave the podium where she was announcing the RTT and got whisked away by her bodyguards while police fired rubber bullets to disperse comrades who were throwing chairs at her.  

A case of common assault is currently being investigated by the cops in Mbombela.

A PEC member who spoke to 013NEWS on Saturday morning said the faction felt Mathe was not supposed to be the co-ordinator, because “as you know comrade Mathe is not factional and works for the organisation than himself”.

“They don’t want a person like that, no. They want a person who will plan with them the positions they want and ensure they get them”.

Both Ntshalintshali and party spokeswoman Sasekani Manzini didn’t answer their phones the whole weekend.

Police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi confirmed a case of assault has been laid at the Mbombela police station by Ntshalintshali’s bodyguard.

“Two of our members were injured during the scuffles, we are investigating a case of assault,” said Hlathi.

He didn’t divulge who exactly this charge was opened against.

(edited by MLM) 

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