“The speaker further appreciated the good working relations that BRA displayed while represented by their former member, Mr Maunye, with the hope that member Shilakwe will continue where his predecessor left off,” said the legislature spokeswoman.
Maunye left BRA on 2 April 2017 during a mass defection to the ANC at the Acornhoek sports ground facilitated by ANC provincial leader David Mabuza.
“Mr Shilakwe committed that he will perform his duties to the best of his abilities in serving the legislature, the people of Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga province and the Republic of South Africa,” Memela-Gamede said.
Maunye served as the secretary of the movement until he was suspended in mid-February 2017, accused of meeting up with ANC leaders and discussing plans to ‘dissolve’ BRA.
The party then recalled him on 31 March 2017 and then Maunye joined the ANC on 2 April.
ANC provincial chairman David Mabuza will get the BRA President Delta Mokoena, he told scores on Sunday.
The President of the Bushbuckridge Resident Association, Delta Mokoena, must watch out, lest he will be enticed back home by Premier David Mabuza.
Mabuza, in his capacity as ANC Mpumalanga leader, welcomed 3000 BRA members back to the ANC at the Acornhoek stadium on Sunday morning.
One of these members was BRA’s ex-secretary Cleopas Maunye, who is also the party’s only member of the Mpumalanga legislature and who was suspended during a BRA special meeting in February 2017 for “selling out to the ANC” and replaced temporarily by current acting secretary Johannes Ndlovu.
Addressing the mass defection at the Acornhoek sports ground, Mabuza said his next stop now was to go fetch Mokoena.
Without mentioning Mokoena by name, Mabuza said to thunderous applause: “I’m very happy that finally I’m with Cleopas, Cleopas is now next to me but there’s another one who is left, and I’ll get him, I can bet”.
He said he was now happy that the ANC in Bushbuckridge will unite and achieving this was not “an easy journey”.
“It was a painful journey. We have been waiting for this day for some time, we have put out all our efforts into what you are seeing today. This is the big day in the history of the ANC.
“I want to thank comrade Cleopas and the entire leadership that is coming back to the ANC,” Mabuza said.
“This is a beginning of a new chapter, we’re opening a new chapter and I’d like to say to all ANC members who were mistreated and went to form BRA that we never had the opportunity to say sorry.
“You told me everything of how you were mistreated in the ANC and I’d like to take this opportunity and say I’m sorry, on behalf of the ANC in Mpumalanga we apologise,” he said.
The event was attended by Bohlabelo ANC chairman Gillion Mashego, who also addressed the gathering, and provincial chairwoman Violet Siwela and secretary Mandla Ndlovu, amongst others.
BRA is led by Mokoena as President, Daniel Mashigo as Deputy President, him Ndlovu as acting secretary, Netago Mokoena as deputy secretary as well as
treasurer Cecil Shike and won 14 seats in the Bushbuckridge local municipality.
It was formed in 2011 by ex-ANC members and since then it has been giving the ANC an electoral headache in the Bohlabelo region, clinching a seat in the provincial legislature in 2014 general elections.
A special conference of the Bushbuckridge movement was held after it emerged that its secretary Cleopas Maunye was meeting with businessman Robert Gumede on the instruction of Premier David Mabuza.
The Bushbuckridge Resident Association this week told 013NEWS they were aware of meetings between IT billionaire Robert Gumede and their secretary, who is also a member of the Mpumalanga legislature, Cleopas Maunye.
Gumede is a close friend of Mpumalanga ANC chairman David Mabuza and the movement said his meeting with Maunye, “and the promises to live nicely”, were on Mabuza’s instructions, “to broker deals and dissolve our movement”.
A special conference in Bushbuckridge’s Acornhoek on 22 February 2017 resolved to recall Maunye as both party secretary and member of legislature.
“But the membership was faithful to him you know,” acting secretary Johannes Ndlovu told 013NEWS on Tuesday afternoon. “We said let’s give him the chance to answer questions but Maunye didn’t come to that conference and membership took [a] decision in his absence,” said Ndlovu, who in that conference was voted to take over from Maunye as acting secretary.
013NEWS understands that on Sunday 5 February 2017, Maunye flew from Mbombela to Johannesburg to meet Gumede.
Mabuza wants BRA to dissolve and Maunye co-opted into the ANC’s provincial executive committee.
But this may fail after BRA’s members and followers lost confidence in Maunye, accusing the young politician of selling out to the ANC.
SUSPENDED: BRA Secretary Cleopas Maunye.
A woman who answered the telephone at Gumede’s Tshwane offices said Gumede together with his personal assistant were outside the country on a business trip and would return next week “Tuesday or Wednesday”.
“I’d advise that you call his PA next week Tuesday or Wednesday,” she said.
Mabuza’s office asked that questions be sent through e-mail and will answer after consulting with ‘external stakeholders’ in the matter.
Maunye said he accepted the decision of his party but said all accusations “surfaced” because he was now based in Mbombela, which made members back home believe he was now selling out to the ANC.
Robert Gumede. Photo: Paballo Thekiso
The reason Maunye now lives in Mbombela – in the up market West Acres suburb and no longer in Bushbuckridge – is because his party won a seat in the Mpumalanga legislature and was elected to it.
Ndlovu said the ANC will not win in “dissolving” BRA.
The BRA is led by Delta Mokoena as President, Daniel Mashigo as Deputy President, him Ndlovu as acting, Netago Mokoena as deputy secretary as well as treasurer Cecil Shikee and won 14 seats in the Bushbuckridge local municipality.
“We don’t have problems meeting ANC or Mabuza’s people but it’s against principles if we are not informed.
“Comrade Cleopas hid everything from us until we found out ourselves, hence we took the decision,” Ndlovu said, adding a BRA Task Team, made out of local elders, went to deliver the message to Maunye that the Acornhoek special conference resolved to recall him as secretary and requested that he steps down as an MPL.
The secretary of BRA is accused of selling out to the ANC after allegations surfaced that he was in talks with ANC chairman David Mabuza.
Bushbuckridge Residents Association secretary Cleopas Maunye has been suspended from his party pending a disciplinary hearing.
According to weekend media reports Maunye was suspended during a special sitting in Acornhoek three weeks ago but this has not affected his position as member of the Mpumalanga legislature.
It is alleged Maunye has been speaking to Mabuza for a return to the ANC. He needed to consult members of BRA but Maunye has apparently engaged in the talks alone.
Mabuza has been on an offensive in the last 2 years, wooing members from opposition parties and disgruntled ANC members back into the fold.
In 2015 EFF chief whip in the legislature, Ayanda Tshabalala resigned from her seat and defected to the ANC along with a thousand members from the opposition after talks with Mabuza. And just a couple of weeks ago, at the ANC’s 105 birthday bash, the Mpumalanga strongman stunned many when announced a truce with his adversary, Ronald Lamola.
This strategy is said to be Mabuza trump card to the presidency of the ANC when it goes to its elective conference in December.
BRA was formed in 2011 by ex-ANC members and since then it has been giving the ANC an electoral headache in the Bohlabelo region clinching a seat in the provincial legislature in 2014 general elections and 14 council seats in the Bushbuckridge municipality in the 2016 local government elections.
BRA acting secretary Johannes Ndlovu told 013NEWS on Monday mid-day that a date when Maunye will appear before a disciplinary hearing is yet to be discussed by party top officials.
“We are still going to sit down and agree on the date,” Ndlovu said.