He was elected to go hold national office during an ANC national conference on 18 December 2017 at the Nasrec Expo Centre, Soweto but has also been appointed the country’s deputy president.
ANC deputy president David Mabuza’s departure to occupy national office is a “biggest relief” for the people of Mpumalanga, former DA party leader James Masango has said.
Masango, who was succeeded by Jane Sithole during a provincial congress on Saturday, said Mabuza kept the province at ransom and “there was no one in the ANC brave enough to challenge him”.
“The departure has brought great relief to the people of Mpumalanga,” Masango said while on stage at the Graceland Casino in Secunda addressing delegates.
“The autocratic leadership of a man described as a mafia by members of his own party,” Masango said.
“Mabuza kept this province at ransom for almost 10 years,” he said.
“There was no one brave enough to challenge him in the ANC and those who tried were thrown out or silenced not to talk about him,” Masango told delegates.
He said though this brought great relief it remains to be seen what it means for South Africa to have a man like him as deputy president.
He said Mpumalanga is a large rural area and although two decades have passed into democracy “but the people of Mpumalanga don’t know what this animal called freedom is”.
“Opportunities are not given to all but to the connected few members of the ANC. And even though some jobs are advertised but the preferred candidates are actually known and the interview is a mere formality,” Masango said.
He addressed delegates as the outgoing leader of the Mpumalanga DA.
On Friday, the Mpumalanga DA bid Masango, the seasoned leader who had served since 1994, a farewell party at the Graceland Casino.
She was elected unopposed to take the reigns of the party from James Masango.
New DA leader Jane Sithole broke into tears when she recalled how eMalahleni councillor Koos Venter and his wife Marianne supported her throughout her political career.
Sithole was elected unopposed as the leader of Mpumalanga DA and delegates cheered rapturously when the party’s electoral team announced her and Bosman Grobler, who became the chair.
The DA has the position of leader who leads the party and that of chairperson, who presides over meetings.
“Many people have shaped my life and my career in politics,” Sithole said while on stage at the main hall of the Graceland Casino in Secunda on Saturday evening.
“I would not be standing before you today if it was not for the support and encouragement that I received from the time I was 29 years old from Koos and Marianne Venter,” she said, before starting to break into tears.
“They have raised me and today they are raising my children,” she said, sobbing.
She joined the DA in 1999 and met the Venter family while they were going to gym together.
She was addressing conference as the newly elected leader and said she was proud to serve under the caucus leadership of Venter for 13 years, thankful that “someone believed in me when I did not believe in myself”.
“It is an emotional journey when I look back,” she told the conference.
Jane Sithole and Koos Venter in July 2016. PIC Witbank News
Venter is the man who who led a DA march to the eMalahleni police station to lay criminal charges against Theo van Vuuren, the former eMalahleni municipal manager accused of being at the centre of the maladministration and corruption at the eMalahleni municipality.
The fraud and corruption charge Venter laid against Van Vuuren was that he facilitated payments of close to R1 million out of the municipal bank account to a private account while he served as municipal manager there.
“Let’s hold one another’s hand and work together,” Sithole said on Saturday.
“Where they preach hate, we must preach love. Where they preach division, we must preach unity. Where they preach fear, we must preach hope,” Sithole said.
“Democrats we need to make sure that the message of hope is more powerful than their message of hate,” she said.
Trudie Grove-Morgan was elected Sithole’s deputy.
The conference also elected Themba Mlotshwa to serve as Grobler’s deputy.
Annerie Weber will serve as the chairwoman of DA Women’s Network, deputised by Elsie van Douwe.
Palesa Mobango got elected as the leader of Mpumalanga DA Youth, deputised by Kuzwakele Mdau and Linky Shongwe.
Masuku said the party will announce the full list of the nominated candidates but it’s believed Bosman Grobler will be the new chair.
Masango, Sithole and Grobler are the only three members of the DA in the Mpumalanga legislature.
The DA has the positions of leader and that of chairperson and the leader, as in Mmusi Maimane who is the national leader, is the face of the party, and the chairperson, like Athol Trolip, who is currently the national chair, convenes and presides over party meetings.
Sithole, who is currently Mpumalanga chair, will take over as the leader and Grobler may take this seat to become the new chair.
“We will announce the nominated candidates anytime from now,” she said this week.
The Lekwa municipality in Standerton is said to be polluting the Vaal River crossing through.
The Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga is demanding an end to water pollution.
The party is taking their fight to the Lekwa local municipality in Standerton to demand that the municipality stops polluting the Vaal River.
For many years, the Standerton waste water treatment plant has been channeling dirt into the river.
Provincial spokeswoman Dumisile Masuku said the Lekwa municipality is one of the 76 waste water treatment plants reported by the department of co-operative governance as polluting clean water sources across the province.
Two NGOs are heading to the Tshwane High Court to force government to respect the constitutional rights of people with regard to the air pollution being caused by Mpumalanga’s Sasol and Eskom power plants.