Nocks Seabi lambastes disgruntled Mopani faction for complaining to Gwede Mantashe about conference outcomes
AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) Limpopo Secretary Nocks Seabi has called disgruntled branches in Mopani to order after they complained directly to the national leadership about the outcomes of the recent regional conference.
Seabi said the rebel branches ‘leapfrogged’ the provincial leadership by turning to ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, in a move he dismissed as “desperate”.
Ba-Phalaborwa mayor Pule Shayi toppled Limpopo Economic Development MEC Seaparo Sekoati as the regional chairperson in the hotly contested conference.
Shayi’s victory was a morale booster for the Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma camp in the province, which is seen as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stronghold. The duo are front runners to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader in December.
Seabi told African Times this week that the Mopani rebels have undermined the role of the provincial executive committee (PEC).
“In terms of the organisational protocol, they were supposed to write to us as the province first, but it seems like they don’t derive joy from the province and they wrote to national. I read it as a sign of desperation,” Seabi said.
Sources said the losing faction has threatened to legally challenge the outcomes of the conference should Mantashe fail to nullify the newly elected regional leadership within five working days.
They cited, among other reasons, the decision of ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Ruth Bhengu, who was assigned to monitor the conference proceedings, to allow 14 branches which were declared unfit and fraudulent by Mantashe to participate in the conference.
A Mopani ANC member, who was part of the losing camp led by Sekoati, said the litigants were members of various branches from the Giyani sub-region.
However, he did not have the exact number “as they appear in the court papers”.
“All I know is that the branches felt that the 14 branches that participated in the regional conference were not supposed to participate primarily because there has been an investigation and finding that up to today those findings are not contested by anyone, that there were fraudulent membership firms in the 21 branches in Giyani. And the 14 branches that they are talking about are part of the 21 branches that were found to have been affected,” he said.
“What is the bone of contention is the process repeating the participation of those.”
He said the method used to determine which branches and how many delegates qualified was “questionable”. It’s unclear who is bankrolling the court case.
This comes as disgruntled members took the newly elected ANC Eastern Cape leadership to court in a bid to interdict the conference held in East London at the weekend. The case was struck off the roll, effectively confirming the election of Oscar Mabuyane as the new provincial chairperson.
Mabuyane dislodged Premier Phumulo Masualle in a tense conference which saw eight people being hospitalised after a night of fist fights, flying chairs and the use of tear gas by the police.
Zuma and other ANC’s top six officials also spent the weekend in KwaZulu-Natal in a bid to unite warring factions after the Pietermaritzburg High Court declared the PEC led by Sihle Zikalala unlawful.
In the Free State, another group has reportedly threatened to take the ANC to court if it did not disband the Premier Ace Magashule-led PEC whose term ended in March this year.
Another faction in the North West has reportedly threatened to legally challenge the outcomes of the party’s Bojanala regional conference.
However, Maruleng ANC sub-regional secretary Tsheko Musolwa, who lost to Biskopo Makamu for the Mopani secretary position, told African Times that he had no knowledge of the letter sent to Mantashe.
“I have started to ask myself if this is really true and everyone seems to be unaware of this. I also tried to get hold of Seaparo Sekoati and apparently he is out in Europe on a government trip and I doubt that he may have any knowledge of these developments,” Musolwa said.
Musolwa also rubbished claims that the region was deeply divided by the outcomes of the conference and maintained that there are no factions.
Makamu said the newly elected leadership was confident that the right procedures were followed and the conference was a success. He said the leadership was open to engaging with anyone.
“We have not yet received any formal complaint from anyone but we are aware that they have written to Mantashe requesting the conference to be nullified. We have delayed the conference for almost seven months in order to resolve the matter of fraudulent branches and we don’t think there will be anybody who will want to rehearse the process that they were part of,” Makamu said.
Makamu said if it the matter lends in court, they are prepared to fight in defence of the ANC against what he described as “thugs”.