AN UPBEAT Limpopo ANC chairperson and premier Stan Mathabatha has cast his ballot in Polokwane, ruling out the possibility of the ruling party losing any of the 30 municipalities it controls in the province.
Insisting that the opposition DA and EFF stood no chance of unseating the ANC in Limpopo, Mathabatha said he was confident of victory in Wednesday’s fiercely contested local government elections.
The province’s first citizen voted at the Pietersburg Oos Primary School in the affluent suburb of Bendor shortly after 12:00 this afternoon.
Flanked by his wife Margaret and senior ANC and government officials, Mathabatha said his party was poised to unseat the DA and grab the elusive Ward 21 in Polokwane.
The ward, in the heart in the provincial capital, has been under DA control for the past 15 years, with the official opposition retaining it in three consecutive local government elections.
Ward 21 is also home to senior ANC leaders including International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her health counterparts Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
But Mathabatha said his vote was more than just about exercising his constitutional right to vote, because the tide had turned against the DA in the area.
“It means a lot. It means a new councillor. It means the African National Congress is coming back to the heart of the city,” Mathabatha said.
“To me, it means a lot. I am so elated that I voted. Obviously, I voted correctly. My wife also voted correctly.”
Asked whether he was concerned about opposition parties taking over any of the municipalities in Limpopo, Mathabatha replied: “No, I am not concerned about that. Not in this province. We are going to win all the municipalities.”
The premier, who joined ordinary voters on the queue, said he expected the ANC’s share of the vote to also increase.
Mathabatha, clad in a black jacket, trouser and ANC cap, joked with journalists before releasing his ballot into the box.
Nkaro Mateta, the IEC’s Provincial Electoral Officer, voted shortly after the premier.
Mathabatha, who replaced Cassel Mathale as both premier and later provincial ANC chairperson two years ago, used the opportunity to make a walkabout in and around the venue, greeting and posing for photos with ANC supporters and other well-wishers.
After stopping at the DA’s election marquee and greeting incumbent DA councillor in the area, Frank Haas, Mathabatha proceeded to the ANC tent nearby.
There, he signed party documents, bought ANC regalia before conducting media interviews.
Notably, however, Mathabatha neither greeted nor proceeded to the EFF marquee where Sibusiso Mashamba, the red berets’ ward 21 councillor candidate and his fellow fighters were seated.
Tensions between the ANC and EFF in Limpopo are well documented.
Mathabatha recently dismissed EFF president Julius Malema as a “misfit child” who was under the illusion that he could mislead voters into dumping the ANC.