/ 26 August 2011

ANC shuffle looming in Gauteng

As top leaders jostle for ­support in the run-up to next month’s regional conferences, four ANC regions in Gauteng are heading for a shake-up.

In Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhurleni, succession battles could lead to a major political shift as new candidates vie to become the chairpersons of their respective regions. If elected, the current ANC-aligned metro mayors will have limited powers.

The Mail & Guardian understands that there is fierce behind-the-scenes lobbying in Tshwane to replace ANC chairman and city mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa with Lucky Montana, chief executive of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. Party insiders accuse Ramokgopa of “failing to unite the region”.

Montana is garnering support from the unions, the South African Communist Party and the ANC Youth League, and the latter’s regional chairman, Masket Mtshweni, confirmed that he would get its support. SACP acting secretary Abson Makaung added that the party wanted “a leadership with a working-class bias to unify the alliance, because at the moment it isn’t working”.

Montana, who served in the SACP’s Western Cape leadership from 1994 to 2004, confirmed that he had been “approached by individuals and structures in the ANC for the position [of regional chairman]”. Ramokgopa also confirmed that he was available.

In Johannesburg, the national chairman of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association, Kebby Maphatsoe, will challenge mayoral committee for finance member Geoff Makhubu for the region’s top post. But a senior youth league source said Makhubu had the upper hand because he was aligned to Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile.

In Ekurhuleni, Bobo Mokoena will do battle with Moses Makwakwa, who sits on the mayoral committee for finance. Andon the West Rand, Lolo Motlhamonyane will challenge regional chairman and district mayor Mpho Nawa. Motlhamonyane is backed by party members who are unhappy about the way Nawa handled candidate lists in the recent municipal elections.