LIMPOPO Premier Stan Mathabatha is set to be re-elected unopposed as ANC provincial chairperson this month, in what has been seen as a reward for successfully campaigning for President Cyril Ramaphosa to become party leader and restoring the credibility of the provincial administration.
This comes after three different factions in the province rallied behind his leadership although contesting each other for the other top five provincial ANC positions ahead of the elective conference this month.
Although three lists have emerged amid intense lobbying, they all have him as provincial chairperson, which paves the way for him to retain his position unopposed.
However, the rest of the positions are being contested by between two and three people.
The position of provincial secretary, currently occupied by Nocks Seabi, is hotly contested by MPL Soviet Lekganyane, Deputy Limpopo Legislature Speaker Lehlogonolo Masoga and Mopani regional secretary Basikopo Makamu.
Two of the three factions have dumped current treasurer Danny Msiza from both the top five and the provincial executive committee.
In the first list, Coghsta MEC Jerry Ndou is touted as deputy chairperson, Masoga as secretary, Transport MEC Makoma Makhurupetje or Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba as deputy secretary, and either Seabi or Economic Development MEC Seaparo Sekoati as treasurer.
In the second one, Vhembe District Mayor Florence Radzilani is earmarked for the position of deputy chairperson, Lekganyane for secretary, Msiza for treasurer and the deputy secretary position is vacant “pending engagements”.
In the third one, Ndou is named as deputy chairperson, Makamu as secretary, Ramathuba as his deputy and Masoga as treasurer.
One of the Waterburg lobbyists behind it has hailed it as a unity list because it is representative of all of Limpopo’s five regions.
Professor Lesiba Teffo, a political expert from Unisa, says Mathabatha was being rewarded by ANC branches for having done a good job in government.
He said this was because he is more of a “consummate administrator” than a typical politician who is obsessed with power.
“It was more about effective public resources management. In as much as he found a rotten state, but there is a sense of respectability and credibility with regard to people’s perception of the leadership of the province as of now, that’s number one,” Teffo said.
“Number two, he was lucky that he came into a situation that could not be worse. Anybody who follows [former president Jacob] Zuma or [former premier Cassel] Mathale will always do better. It can’t be worse than them. So, it’s also a plus in that sense.”
A lobbyist from Peter Mokaba says they have united behind Mathabatha because all factions agree that he has done a good job both as head of the ANC and government since 2013.
“But you will also have different preferences for other positions. Remember, when you make those kinds of proposals you are also guided by what other regions are saying,” the lobbyist said.
“So, if we say we want the chairperson back, and Vhembe says, ok, we want Ndou, there will be lobbying and counter lobbying. The other thing is that the lists may change because it’s only now that serious lobbying is starting.”
He claimed divisions around whether or not to retain Msiza in the top five had were the main reason behind the three different lists.
“Surely, there are people who don’t want the treasurer. But over and above, not only that people don’t like him as a person, but the actions of leaders while they are in office will make people to either like them or not like them. Some people will be haunted by VBS. Some people will be haunted by their own historical issues, or previous issues.”
Earlier this month, EFF Provincial Secretary Jossey Buthane accused Msiza of having encouraged Limpopo municipalities to invest with VBS in exchange for a 4% commission, a claim vehemently denied by Msiza’s supporters. VBS has been placed under curatorship by Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago after it was found to have breached banking regulations. An investigation also revealed that the bank had liquidity problems and could not account for R900 million invested with it mostly by poor, rural Limpopo.