Ramaphosa heads to Limpopo to tackle ANC’s discipline and governance troubles
Issues around ill-disciplined councillors and infighting that have reportedly been causing discord in the province will be in sharp focus when the national working committee rolls into the province this weekend.
ANC Limpopo spokesperson Jimmy Machaka says the focus of the President’s engagements this weekend will be issues of governance in municipalities and the provincial government as well as the state of the party in the province.
In particular, the province was urgently trying to deal with councillors who had been performing badly over time.
Late in 2022 some ANC councillors under the Lephalale Local Municipality defied a party instruction and voted with opposition parties to elect the DA’s Nico Pienaar.
This followed months of trying to get rid of Alpheus Thulare who was the interim mayor but refused to resign when told to by the party.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Last minute horse trading with KwaZulu-Natal sees Limpopo delegates at odds over voting for Ramaphosa
“Councillors who continue to defy the ANC will face the full might of the ANC constitution; already the PEC resolved that they should be subjected to disciplinary [action],” said Machaka.
Residents in the province often complain about inconsistent water supply, bad road conditions, a lack of arable land and not enough housing.
At the same time there have been growing calls by some members of the party for the provincial executive committee (PEC) to be disbanded.
However, Machaka said “we believe the call should be disregarded as there is no basis to do so”.
The PEC has been riddled with divisions since provincial chair Stan Mathabatha ditched Cyril Ramaphosa’s Renew22 camp and made a last- minute bid to convince some Limpopo branch delegates to vote for Zweli Mkhize instead.
Some party members who wished to remain anonymous told Daily Maverick they wanted Mathabatha to be recalled, accusing him of backstabbing the collective.
Others feel Mathabatha should not be removed from his position, saying he has been running the provincial administration well, and arguing that the party guidelines allow for members to lobby one another to vote for their preferred candidates.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Opposing protests on the periphery of the ANC’s 55th National Conference set the tone for a bruising contest
Machaka dismissed the idea of Mathabatha being removed.
“The allegations of premier redeployment are unknown to the PEC as yet. However, we shall await guidance from the National Working Committee if there is such a move,” he said.
Mathabatha has faced heavy backlash after the election of new leadership during the ANC’s 55th national conference in Nasrec in 2022. In February, when the ANC was celebrating its 111th anniversary at Masemola village, Mathabatha was booed as he addressed members.
The state of the ANC in Limpopo
Political analyst Doctor Levy Ndou says the matter of councillors who vote with opposition parties needs to be addressed.
“They will have to look at the challenges in Lephalale, which the PEC has failed to deal with. The PEC appears to have not [taken] decisive action in that area” he said.
He added that Mathabatha had been weakened after the conference in Nasrec and there should be ways to deal with problems faced by the ANC in Limpopo.
“There are some who feel that he betrayed them for personal benefit because his support for any candidate was based on what he would get in return. He seems to have lost [the] respect of some in the province and he delegated most of his official functions to MECs. Disbanding the PEC might be harsh in my view unless Mathabatha himself decides to resign.
“Whatever the decision the National Executive Committee takes, it should be very cautious and avoid instability in the province.” DM