ANC Youth League slams Gordhan's 'games' in Limpopo
The ANC Youth League on Tuesday again lambasted government’s move to place a number Limpopo provincial government departments under central administration—labelling the move as “politically-motivated games”.
“The intervention by government in Limpopo is solely intended to influence the ANC elective conference this year—nothing else,” league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu told the Mail & Guardian.
The league’s derision follows Gordhan’s claims that certain sectors of the Limpopo provincial government were attempting to “sabotage” central government‘s plans for the province.
At a press briefing in Polokwane on Thursday morning, Gordhan said Limpopo was facing a shortfall of R2-billion at the end of the current financial year.
“Unless extraordinary measures like [placing provincial departments under central administration] are taken, Limpopo will have an over-expenditure problem by the end of March. We are looking at ways to prune down in order to find R2-billion by March 31,” Gordhan said.
But, the youth league believes other provinces face problems “just as serious” as Limpopo but “are left alone”.
“There are the same type of issues in the Eastern Cape, so why only act like this in Limpopo? To us it shows there are parts of the ruling party using government to achieve a narrow political goal,” Shivambu said.
But Gordhan insists the national government is “acting in the best interests” of the South African public.
“There was no political pressure to act against the Limpopo government but there is an obligation to the South African people and the people of Limpopo.
We have a duty to instil public confidence and ensure proper service delivery,” Gordhan said.
The Limpopo provincial government would not field any questions on Gordhan’s briefing or the government takeover when approached for comment by the M&G.
In early December last year treasury took over the running of several departments in the Limpopo, Free State and Gauteng provincial governments.
Central government assumed control of Limpopo’s finances, as well as the province’s departments of education, transport, health and public works.
It has been speculated that the move was politically-motivated and an attempt by ANC members supporting President Jacob Zuma to undermine those who wish to have him removed as party president this December in Mangaung.
Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale is a known ally of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema—one of Zuma’s greatest political adversaries.
Since the controversy, several senior ANC members have publicly criticised Zuma for allegedly orchestrating the move.
In the beginning of January, Mathale accused Zuma of “punishing innocent service providers” by taking over several of his departments.
On Sunday, ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa said the government had “stolen” Mathale’s powers in the province.
No political agenda
The ANC strongly disagreed with the league’s accusations, claiming the intervention did not “single out” Limpopo.
“Several provincial departments across the country are under central government administration—Limpopo is not special,” ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza told the M&G.
The ANC added that the move by central government was both in line with the Constitution and Public Finance Management Act.
“The finance department took this decision with the backing of Cabinet,” Khoza said. “What does Pravin Gordhan have to do with the ANC elective conference in December? He is doing his job.”