The latest squabble threatens to crack the walls of the Mabuza cast in the province.
Brewing tensions between Mpumalanga ANC acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali and Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane are threatening to tear the party in the province even further into pieces.
The war of the province’s most powerful women is believed to be centred around the control of the province, with Ntshalintshali seen as opposed to Mtshweni-Tsipane emerging as the leader of the Mpumalanga ANC in December 2019.
This week contender for the same position of ANC provincial chairperson Peter Nyoni said they support Ntshalintshali in the factional battles and that she was “being bullied by those who want the organisation to serve their interest at all cost”.
The Mtshweni-Tsipane faction seems to be the same group that wanted Mandla Ndlovu to emerge as chairperson while the party was preparing to go to a general council (PGC) that failed to sit last year. But it now appears like they have dumped Ndlovu and will rather prefer to see the province’s first citizen as leader of both government and the ANC.
Gert Sibande ANC leader Muzi Chirwa could become the provincial secretary if his region has its way as lobbying continues in secret boardrooms.
Bohlabela-eHlanzeni RTT deputy convener Ngrai Ngwenya rallies behind Mtshweni-Tsipane as is spokeswoman Sasekani Manzini, PEC member Pat Ngomane, parliamentarian Desmond Moela and ANCYL secretary Pholoso Mbatsane, amongst other key leaders.
The wrangling took a centre stage at the Nutting House Lodge in Mbombela last Wednesday (17 Jul) while the party was convening the disbanded Bohlabela and eHlanzeni special regional general council (RGC) meeting.
The meeting aimed to communicate the decision to disband the regions in line with government demarcation and the ANC constitution and for the provincial working committee (PWC) to appoint a task team that will take the two regions to an elective congress.
Bohlabela was led by Gillion Mashego as chairman and Follas Sibuyi as secretary. Ngwenya led as chairman of eHlanzeni and Phazamisa Mathe as secretary.
The party resolved they would take the chairman of one region (Mashego) as convener and the secretary of the other region (Mathe) as co-ordinator and the remaining two (Ngwenya and Sibuyi) would deputise the convener (Ngwenya) and co-ordinator (Sibuyi).
But while Ngwenya agreed with himself being appointed the deputy convener, he didn’t want Mathe as co-ordinator. Instead he wanted Nathaniel Mashile, the deputy secretary of the now disbanded eHlanzeni structure, to be appointed co-ordinator .
Chairs were thrown at Ntshalintshali while she was on the podium announcing the names of the people who should serve in the newly formed RTT and both her and her bodyguard sustained injuries, though hers were minor as most of the blows were taken by the bodyguard while whisking her away amid the chaos. A case of assault has been opened against Ngwenya and another RTT female member by Ntshalintshali.
Ntshalintshali is also said to be approaching national secretary Ace Magashule for disciplinary actions to be instituted against her attackers during a planned ANC meeting.
Influential Nkangala ANC REC member Mduduzi ‘Mswati’ Nkosi, one of deputy president DD Mabuza’s most trusted henchmen in that region, and who is seen as aligned to the Mtshweni-Tsipane faction, said he will “say who I’m supporting”.
Mswati added that what he would not “hide from is that I will have a preference but from where I am seated engagements amongst individuals have started – though my eyes are more on by-elections, after that you will see who I support,” the former ANCYL regional leader said on WhatsApp messenger when replying to 013NEWS questions about his preferences going to congress.
“Remember we are going to a provincial conference, not a branch conference and you need not to claim pre-mature victory. You must make calculated steps. I belong to a branch, sub-region and region and as such I will pronounce myself at my own right as a member of the ANC with the freedom to do so,” said Mswati.
“Provincial politics change every week, so you will find yourself jumping guns. I’m an analytical person,” he said, implying he is not rushing while lobbying continues.
Mswati said he personally hoped tensions between Ntshalintshali and Mtshweni-Tsipane, which is also seen as threatening the normal functioning of the Mpumalanga government, will “come and pass”.
“They are both my sisters from eMalahleni. Both of them. They both served in the ANCYL. Both of them aren’t bigger than their eMalahleni sub-region and Nkangala region.
“They both possess leadership skills and qualities. All I can say is unity must be the winner for the sake of keeping the pieces that’s left”.
Mswati said he agreed there is indeed a crisis in the Mpumalanga ANC “but the ANC always rises above” all situations.
“The issue of the realignment of the Bohlabela-eHlanzeni regions, the PEC has only 3 officials, the unrests in different municipalities ranging from different problems. I can say yes there’s a problem though ANC always rise above and the centre must just hold. We must be responsive like how the deputy president used to be,” Mswati said.
(edited by ZK)
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