DD Mabuza loses major Mpumalanga councilor battle

DD Mabuza loses major Mpumalanga's councilor battle
LOSS OF INFLUENCE: ANC Deputy President DD Mabuza seems to be losing his grip on Mpumalanga as his faction gets sidelined ahead of the 01 November local government elections. PICTURE BY Mail & Guardian

The battle is important for Deputy president DD Mabuza’s ambition to lead again as the assistant presidential leader in 2022.

After failing to install his allies on the councillor candidate list that the ANC recently sent to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)  ahead of the November 1 local government elections, the Mpumalanga bigwig is on a flat-footing as murmurs of the 2022 presidential race start reverberating.

The councillor list shows candidates aligned to Mpumalanga ANC acting chairperson Mandla Ndlovu’s camp will control the province’s municipalities after they all emerged as potential mayors on the candidate lists.

About two weeks ago the once-powerful provincial leader indicated his availability to stand again as ANC deputy president once more, only if the branches agree to it, he told journalists.

Ndlovu, Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane and Mabuza’s ally Nkangala district municipal speaker Lucky Ndinisa are fighting to control the province and are frontrunners for the position of Mpumalanga ANC chairperson that Mabuza left when he got elected deputy president on December 18, 2017, in Nasrec.

ALSO SEE: Mdavu Nhlabathi: Those opposing Mabuza not about poor’s sufferings but about themselves and their good lives

The list which 013NEWS has seen contains all the proportional representation (PR) and ward councillor candidates for all 3 Mpumalanga district municipalities and its 17 local municipalities.

It shows Mabuza’s allies were only able to secure Mkhondo and Nkomazi local municipality where Vusi Motha and Johan Mkhatshwa respectively emerged top on the PR lists, while Mtshweni-Tsipane only secured Steve Tshwete local municipality with ally Philile Nkosi as possible mayor.

Ndlovu’s allies secured the 3 districts – Gert Sibande, Nkangala and Ehlanzeni and 14 local municipalities, the list shows

Ndlovu’s ally Sello Matshokga, who is also ANC spokesperson in the Nkangala region, told 013NEWS a week ago that the branches had their views in the formulation of the list during branch general meetings (BGMs).

“The fact that most of the candidates were nominated by Ndlovu’s supporters I’m not in a position to conclude whether it means that the deputy president is losing the ground or not as nominations are the work of branches who can also have a view on the coming elective conferences,” Matshokga said. 

Seven months ago Mtshweni-Tsipane fired four MECs from her cabinet who were aligned to Mabuza in a first political assault on him after a fallout with him, replacing them with her allies who also contest on her slate in the much-awaited 13th Mpumalanga ANC congress.

Sources believe the conference will take place around April 2022 after many attempts to hold it since 2018 failed.

Five months ago, Mtshweni-Tsipane and her MECs snubbed a high-profile government event in Nkomazi that was addressed by Mabuza and communication minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, despite a media statement stating that the two would be accompanied by the premier and the MECs to the “Digital Skills Outreach Programme” event.

One of Mabuza’s loyalists, David ‘Mdavu’ Nhlabathi who is contesting the position of ANC deputy provincial chairperson on Ndinisa’s slate, told the 013NEWS that this time the ANC “has not taken time to identify quality leaders” because of the factional wrangles amongst comrades.

“Instead people were put on factional grounds, but just give them three years and look at the state of those municipalities. It will be a disaster because these people no longer care about the will of the people, that’s why they inserted themselves without considering whether BGMs ever mentioned their names or not,” Nhlabathi said, saying that his name was also removed from the Gert Sibande district PR list.

Nhlabathi said in other wards the meetings collapsed but when the list came out it had Ndlovu’s loyalists.

The list has made a lot of noise in Mpumalanga, with the Ngci Camp marching to Che Masilela House, crying out what they called a “factional structure” running the provincial ANC. Also, the ANCYL’s provincial task team (PTT) led by Ndlovu’s ally Gert Sibande ANCYL chairman Thulasizwe Thomo has complained about the list, saying it’s a “bogus” list and removed a lot of comrades. 

(edited by MGB)

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