/ 6 December 2011

Youth league rails against Cabinet’s Limpopo takeover

The timing of Cabinet’s intervention in the running of Limpopo was suspicious, the provincial ANC Youth League said on Tuesday.

“The youth league in Limpopo believes that the timing of this recent campaign is aimed at reducing the confidence of ANC members in the current leadership,” it said in a statement.

Provincial party elections were due to take place later this month.

Cabinet decided on Monday to take over the running of five Limpopo departments, and to intervene in Gauteng and the Free State.

“Against the backdrop of persistently ignored positive reports of successful, clean audits by the auditor-general, we believe this action, led by the national treasury, is a disingenuous attempt — which is informed by political manoeuvring — to alienate ANC members of Limpopo from its leaders,” the provincial youth league said.

The ANC’s provincial conference would take place between December 17 to 20.

“We find it curious that this announcement follows on the heels of the closure of the leadership nominations linked to mandatory pre-conference procedure,” the league said.

Business Day suggested on Wednesday that national government’s move to take control of five provincial departments in Limpopo was partly to fix crippling service delivery problems but also a political move.

It would allegedly strengthen President Jacob Zuma’s hand in the political infighting with Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, who supports ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

The youth league in Limpopo said the intervention was politically motivated.

“Consequentially, the ANC Youth League in Limpopo believes this action is intended to politically blackball the leadership of Cassel Mathale, especially in the face of recent overwhelming branch level nomination of Cassel Mathale to re-emerge as Limpopo chairperson of the ANC.

“The youth league in the province will not be moved from its support for the leadership of Cassel Mathale and the rest of the leadership line-up, as previously stated.”

The provincial league said the Limpopo government was financially secure and able to pay its suppliers and employees.

“The lies being peddled by anonymous forces that salaries and payments to service providers will not be honoured by our government are malicious and completely untrue.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told SABC radio news that Cabinet had been monitoring the finances of these provinces for some time.

“There’s been a … trend of underspending, overspending, violating supply chain provisions and this is what we want to thoroughly investigate now.”

He said it was important that a team of officials were put in place immediately to ensure proper systems and controls were implemented, while a forensic investigation took place.

Gordhan refused to comment on speculation that the move was politically motivated. — Sapa