Refilwe Tsipane, Mandla Ndlovu fight to control Mpumalanga

Refilwe Tsipane, Mandla Ndlovu fight to control Mpumalanga
IT'S ON: With only a month to go before the much anticipated Mpumalanga elective congress, frontline contenders Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane (L) and acting provincial chairman Mandla Ndlovu (R) are on the ground trying to woo branches to vote for them. GRAPHIC BY 013NEWS/MLM

Tsipane who is having a firm hand in eHlanzeni now guns to crack Nkangala as well as Gert Sibande and Bohlabela.

Mpumalanga’s two ANC contestants, Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane and acting chairman Mandla Ndlovu, are preparing for a serious fight in December, where both Tsipane and Ndlovu will avail themselves to contest the position of provincial chairperson.

The month of November 2019 will see the jostling intensify in Mpumalanga while supporters of the humble Ndlovu try to ensure that the first female Premier is not gaining much support in three of the four regional blocs of Mpumalanga as they prepare to head to a 13th elective congress.

Both Gert Sibande and eHlanzeni will convene their regional elective congresses on 24 and 25 November 2019 and influential leaders like Ngrai Ngwenya, Gillion Mashego, Jackie Macia, Follas Sibuyi, Makhosazana Masilela, Nathaniel Mashile, Malindi Masina, Khulani Nhlabathi and Trevor Nkosi rate high in regional jostles that will determine whether Ndlovu or Tsipane wins in December 2019.

The Tsipane grouping wants Bohlabela-eHlanzeni RTT convener Gillion Mashego to take the helm of the new eHlanzeni structure to be elected on 25 November 2019 as well as RTT member Nathaniel Mashile as the new regional secretary. 

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In Gert Sibande, Tsipane wants REC member Khulani Nhlabathi to take the helm as the region’s secretary, a position left vacant when Audrey Maleka got elected to Parliament’s council of provinces after the May 2019 general elections. 

Gert Sibande’s vacant secretarial post results in the special elective RGC on 24 November 2019,  where Ndlovu supporters want deputy regional secretary Malindi Masina to become the new secretary and ANCYL provincial deputy leader Trevor Nkosi to deputise her.

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The squabbles ahead of internal elections in eHlanzeni see the Ndlovu group favouring RTT member Jackie Macia to take over as regional chairman and contest Mashego on 25 November 2019, and for Follas Sibuyi to be regional secretary against the Tsipane group that wants Nathaniel Mashile, as secretary.

Refilwe Tsipane, Mandla Ndlovu fight to control Mpumalanga
Deputy secretary of the now disbanded eHlanzeni ANC region, Nathaniel Mashile, who is one of deputy president DD Mabuza’s most important lieutenants in eHlanzeni, is punted as secretary in regional slates

Last week insiders told this paper about the names of regional leaders key in Tsipane’s campaign in Nkangala and who are key in cracking up the region while chairman Speedy Mashilo takes a different direction that may see delegates being delivered to the NdlovuChirwa camp that wants him as deputy provincial leader.

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Now the Tsipane grouping or RMT19, which stands for ‘Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane 2019’, has the backing of Nkangala treasurer Moko Tlou who last month publicly declared support for her, slamming those who said she was not experienced enough to rise to the helm of the Mpumalanga ANC.

He branded those who were opposed to her as “allergic to women” before shooting down the NdlovuChirwa’s “men-only list” campaign ahead of congress.

Tlou said the time for women to lead society has come. 

“Myself as ANC regional treasurer I want to be led by a woman and that woman with an ideological understanding of our struggles is comrade Refilwe,” said Moko, adding they will support Mashilo as treasurer in Tsipane’s slate and where provincial spokeswoman Sasekani Manzini also serves in the top 5.

Refilwe Tsipane, Mandla Ndlovu fight to control Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga ANC acting chairman Mandla Ndlovu whose supporters say they are opposed to the remote-control of the ANC by deputy president DD Mabuza from Cape Town in who they want as his successor in Mpumalanga

Tsipane also enjoys the support of Nkangala ANCYL secretary Thabang Mathebula, league’s regional ex-deputy leader Tsekiso Machike, provincial league spokesman Bheki Sithole and ANC REC member Bethuel Sibanyoni.

Sibanyoni, quite an influential and popular regional leader, is a key Tsipane lobbyist in Nkangala and he also guns to take charge of the region once regional leader Speedy Mashilo hopefully leaves to occupy a provincial seat when the much-anticipated 13th Mpumalanga congress is convened, probably in December 2019.

ALSO SEE: NdlovuChirwa campaign opposed to Tsipane – wants Ntshalintshali, Mashilo, Chirwa and Ndlovu to lead and renew party

The contestations in Nkangala is said to occur between Mashilo and Tsipane, who is also Mpumalanga Premier – with Mashilo not willing to support Tsipane for the top job.

Refilwe Tsipane, Mandla Ndlovu fight to control Mpumalanga
Nkangala ANC regional treasurer Moko Tlou said the leadership of Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane has what it takes to take Mpumalanga ANC forward and will also support regional chairman Speedy Mashilo to serve as treasurer where Tsipane is chair and Sasekani Manzini is deputy secretary

Comrades aligned to Mashilo in the region are seen as sympathetic to acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali’s cause – a key woman figure for the NdlovuChirwa campaign that wants her to retain her post as deputy secretary, Mashilo to be elected the deputy chair, Gert Sibande leader Muzi Chirwa as secretary and Ndlovu the chair. It also wants Piennar strongman Mandla Msibi to serve as treasurer.

Amongst those believed to align with Mashilo in the region is influential ex-ANCYL regional leader Mduduzi ‘Mswati’ Nkosi as well as current ANCYL chairman Bobo Mtsweni who sources say are key in driving the ship towards the NdlovuChirwa path – while the other grouping inside the Nkangala ANCYL is led by the charismatic Thabang Mathebula who supports Tsipane.

The Bohlabela and Gert Sibande ANCYL are united behind the NdlovuChirwa campaign while eHlanzeni ANCYL is firmly behind Tsipane and Nkangala ANCYL is split between the two racers.

The Tsipane camp wants PEC member Pat Ngomane as secretary, Manzini as his deputy – with Vusi Shongwe and Sibusiso ‘The Great’ Sgudla also punted in her top 5 as treasurer and deputy chairman respectively but Sgudla said he will only avail himself to serve as PEC member and won’t contest the seat of deputy chair. He said instead he will support Mashilo for the position of deputy chairman wherein Tsipane is chairwoman.

(edited by ZK)

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