/ 30 September 2011

Limpopo ANC vows to press ahead

Limpopo Anc Vows To Press Ahead

The ANC provincial conference in Limpopo will go ahead in December as planned, despite attempts by party secretary general Gwede Mantashe to delay it until next year, ANC provincial chairman and Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale said this week.

Mantashe argued in his organisational report, presented to the ANC national executive committee two weeks ago, that it would be unwise for the ANC in Limpopo to hold its conference in December instead of in June next year, given that the provincial party has shed 18 000 members.

Mantashe said that Limpopo could only hold the conference in December if it reversed the decline in membership and ensured an increase in the number of branches in good standing.

Interviewed this week, Mathale was defiant, saying Limpopo did not need Mantashe’s blessing before deciding whether to hold the conference.

“The ANC constitution is clear that any of its provincial structures can hold a conference as long as 70% of its branches are in good standing. It says you must have 80% of your regions in good standing — in our case, we have 100% of regions and more than 70% of branches in good standing. Out of 547 branches, 306 are in good standing.

“[Losing] 18 000 members does not determine whether you can hold a conference or not. It is not the number of members that matters, but the number of branches.

“This has nothing to do with reassuring the national office about whether we will be able to reverse the decline in membership,” said Mathale.

Both Mathale and provincial ANC secretary Joe Maswanganye said the branches in the province were already hard at work trying to reverse the decline in membership.

Mathale has also come out in defence of his administration, which has been accused by political rivals, particularly the South African Communist Party (SACP), of being corrupt.

‘Politically motivated attacks’
The SACP in the province — broadly aligned with the Zuma faction of the ANC, in opposition to Mathale and his close ally, youth league president Julius Malema — has also called for Mathale and his provincial cabinet to be replaced.

This week, Mathale hit back, saying the attacks on him were politically motivated.

“I do not know what informs the SACP’s call [that I should be removed]. If people have evidence [that I am corrupt], they must send that to the police.

“As far as I am concerned, I am not corrupt. We are running one of the best administrations in the country. For the first time since 1994, two of our departments — local government and housing and agriculture — have received clean audits.”

Mathale pointed out that since 1994 no government department in Limpopo had previously received a clean bill of financial health.

He added that the local government portfolio, headed by former SACP provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane and ANC Youth League national executive committee member Clifford Motsepe, is “the best-performing provincial department in the whole country”.

Mathale said Limpopo was the first province to blacklist companies that had done shoddy work for the government. He said that some of the blacklisted companies belonged to certain SACP provincial leaders, who were now fighting him.

“People have been talking about blacklisting, but we are acting. If we are not fighting against corruption, then what do you call this?” he said.

“People are targeting us because of the provincial conference in December. Since we announced that the conference would be held at that time, there have been many stories out there to rubbish the province — a concerted campaign to rubbish us as mafias.

“The fact of the matter is that the quality of our work has improved. There is no contractor who is paid after 30 days. All these negativities are about de-campaigning [sic] us.”

Mathale’s political rivals have accused him and his supporters of deliberately bringing the ANC provincial conference forward to deny his opponents enough time to campaign.

Mathale is likely to be challenged by Maswanganye or former provincial executive committee member Joe Mathebula for the position of chairman.