Supra Mahumapelo was re-elected ANC North West chairperson unopposed on Friday night. The party is holding its eighth provincial congress at the Mmabatho Civic Centre in Mahikeng, the first such gathering to start on time, without arguments or violence.
It took less than half an hour to elect all top five officials in the party’s provincial leadership because the winners were all unchallenged.
Song and dance characterised the conference that for the first time appeared unified. This is something that has never happened in the North West, a province known for its deep political factions and highly contentious conferences.
Bojanala regional chairperson and also Moretele local municipality mayor Sello Lehari is the new deputy chairperson, Dakota Legoete retains the provincial secretary position, Susan Tsebe Dantjie was elected deputy secretary while the new treasurer is Kgakgamatso Morwagaaswe.
Only the treasurer position appeared to be contested until another nominee Ontlametse Mochwari informed congress delegates of her decision to turn the nomination down.
Just a few days ago a slate led by well-known provincial politicians China Dodovu (for deputy chairperson), Nono Maloi (for provincial chairperson) and Gordon Kegakilwe (for provincial secretary) was promising to take Mahumapelo’s line-up head-on.
Slate fell apart
The slate had Shellwood Nale as its provincial secretary hopeful and Jeanet Dibetso-Nyathi for treasurer. But that slate eventually fell apart, apparently because it did not enjoy adequate support from the 260 ANC branches that passed the audit.
The other list that was being shared around had former premier and now National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise as a candidate for the chair position. That list disappeared even before the week of the conference. There were no nominations from the floor for the top five officials.
ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Humphrey Mmemezi, speaking on behalf of a team of NEC deployees, said what happened yesterday was unprecedented, yet pleasing for his team. “Everyone knows that in the past this province never used to start its conference on time. Before they (delegates) would have debated registration for a week,” Mmemezi said. “It shows the level of maturity and the level of involvement of regional leadership. Now they are learning to put people first”.
Mmemezi credited the deployment of NEC members for the peaceful conference. But there are undercurrents of dissatisfaction among delegates and those who unsuccessfully lobbied for a slate that eventually failed to stand up to competition. They allege widespread manipulation of branch audits by Mahumapelo’s leadership, which they said disqualified delegates who would have supported their list of candidates.
At the 2011 provincial congress the ANC was so polarised that there were three slates on the first day of the event. It was only after intense horse trading that two lists of candidates merged to find a winning group leaders. Mahumapelo is also the province’s premier.