Limpopo SACP implores ANC to deal with Mathabatha

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in Limpopo has expressed lack of confidence in ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha’s ability to unite the tripartite alliance in the province and to run the provincial government as its premier.

In a confidential document that the SACP submitted to the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) this week, the party felt Mathabatha had not shown decisive leadership.
The 2 000-word document, which Sunday World has seen, informed the NWC that the submission was a consolidation of positions they adopted at their 8th provincial congress over the past 12 months.

They sought to provide their overview of the state of the province at a political, organisational, and governmental level.

“The positions of the SACP are also informed by engagements that have been taking place with communities in the province, including traditional authorities, religious formations, farm workers, trade unions and other progressive structures of civil society,” wrote SACP provincial secretary Chuene Malebana.

Malebana said their submission was in fact a summary of issues they raised in a February 28 communiqué distributed to their structures.
“The communiqué, and thus this submission, remains fundamentally significant to the renewal of the ANC, the pursuit of the NDR and our collective approach to the 2024 elections and beyond.

“The SACP respects the organisational independence of the ANC in the province and nationally. However, it is due to the gravity, sensitivity and urgency of the matters raised herein that the SACP has decided to exploit the rare opportunity provided for by the NWC visit and thus call for decisive intervention of the national leadership,” he said.

The SACP was scathing when it addressed the state of the alliance in Limpopo, stating that it had been at its weakest both organisationally and functionally for about a decade.

“In the main this has been a result of successive leadership collectives that prioritised narrow sectarian considerations at the expense of the historical mission and coherence of the Alliance.

“Whilst the SACP and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) might have had their fair share of the blame, the chunk of the damage lied with the ANC PECs because of the ANC’s historical and strategic positioning as a ‘leader’ of both the society and the alliance,” added Malebana.

According to the SACP, tensions continued to manifest themselves within the alliance under Mathabatha’s leadership.

“For whatever reasons, the provincial chairperson of the ANC and almost all other officials, continue to ‘boycott’ all events of the SACP whereas the SACP and COSATU officials are always available for ANC events. As a strange matter of fact, alliance components are not invited to address conferences of the ANC in the province.

“It is also concerning that the provincial chairperson is generally viewed as lacking interest in attending official functions of government, including high profile community mass funerals, inaugurations of traditional leaders, and official events like AIDS and Human Rights days. All these are raised in the context of implications to the overall political reputation management of the ANC in the province,” the document stated.

The SACP questioned how the ANC’s infamous step-aside rule was used in Limpopo.

“(We are concerned about) pre-determined conferences elections outcomes, maladministration and massive corruption as well as deliberate failure to act on findings of institutions appointed to probe such deeds, and lastly the painful situation of political killings linked to corruption in the province.

“Amongst these practises, we count…a consistent pattern of undermining the step aside resolution even beyond the national policy and elective conferences of the ANC. The Mayor of Musina, an MMC in Vhembe District and a councilor in Lepelle Nkumpi continue to occupy offices despite charges of assaulting a voter, VBS fraud, and bribery respectively,” he said in the document.

“No action taken against those involved in mobilizing branches to Luthuli House to protest against the NEC in favour of Danny Msiza and Florence Radzilani. The leadership has no interest in supporting activities and affected families of the Vhembe VBS looting, in particular the families of the slain comrades Mani and Musetsho.”
The SACP told the NWC that they publicly rejected Mathabatha’s October 2022 cabinet reshuffle which saw his ANC provincial deputy chairperson, Florence Radzilani, being promoted to Transport and Community Safety MEC.

Although the step aside rule dictates that only politicians who have been charged should vacate their leadership position, the SACP is paradoxically unhappy with Radzilani and Nakedi Kekana Sibanda ‘s appointment as MEC for Transport and Safety and MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture respectively.

Malebana said the promotion took place in spite of the Adv Terry Motau Report, which implicated Radzilani and Sport, Art and Culture MEC Nakedi Kekana in the VBS scandal. Kekana is the provincial treasurer of the ANC and former mayor of Lepelle Nkumpi Local Municipality. “Our principled stance on this matter has not changed. The Public Protector pronouncements of 30 June 2021 and 09 March 2022 identify no less than seven municipalities in Limpopo which violated the MFMA and investment regulations in respect of unlawful deposit of municipal monies into VBS. “In the context of the ‘capture of the ANC by a sophisticated criminal network ’ in the province, mayors who were previously recalled for VBS issues ended up being pushed for PEC top positions and subsequently promoted to provincial ‘cabinet’ roles as MECs,” said Malebana.

He added: “As a matter of principle, all mayors whose municipalities deposited monies into VBS were supposed to be held accountable, irrespective of whether or not the deposits were recovered. That’s consistency.”
The PEC called for the ANC’s national executive committee to urgently intervene ahead of the 2024 general elections and the 2026 local government elections.

“It is the view of the structures of the SACP and fraternal organisations that the ANC national leadership should make such urgent interventions as may be necessary to rescue the situation in the province,” the SACP wrote.

Premier Mathabatha’s spokesperson Willy Mosoma said the ANC was better placed in political issues involving Limpopo’s number 1 citizen.
ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri was not available for comment.
Provincial ANC spokesperson Jimmy Machaka did not respond to media questions on the SACP submissions.

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