Mabuyane’s ‘hostile takeover’ train halted in its tracks

The ANC’s Eastern Cape’s Joe Gqabi region has objected to the provincial executive committee’s request to reshuffle Premier Phumulo Masualle and members of his Cabinet, following new chairperson Oscar Mabuyane’s swearing-in on Monday.

Mabuyane is poised to take over as premier after winning control at last year’s bruising provincial conference, which had descended into violence. But Masualle’s departure should be halted until the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) completes its report on the conference, the region has charged.

“The report is finalised and it was tabled before the officials but there was a section missing, from the IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] … and we are hoping the NEC will prevail so that there is a united Eastern Cape provincial executive committee going to the elections,” said Joe Gqabi regional secretary Mfundo Bongela.

Mabuyane’s team has also been accused of purging Masualle’s supporters who hail from the Joe Gqabi, Amathole and Nelson Mandela Bay regions. “The purging that you see now has to do with conference, but there’s still a matter before the NEC; we were not expecting this to happen,” Bongela said.

His region backed Masualle at the conference, and its delegates were among those who fled the East London convention centre when chairs were thrown during the fight that erupted.

Mabuyane and former Sarah Baartman regional secretary Mlungisi Mvoko were sworn in as members of the Eastern Cape legislature on Monday.

The Sarah Baartman region’s current secretary, Scara Ndayi, said the ANC had received a number of complaints about Masualle’s administration, and called for him to be replaced.

“We have seen that government is not responding well. Beyond the provincial conference issues, it is about the reconfiguration of government and the deployment of capable comrades,” he said.

“Procurement must be able to benefit our own people in the province. We observed lately most service providers appointed by key departments are coming from KZN [KwaZulu-Natal]. People in the province are not empowered.”

But Bongela said the current “hostile takeover” threatened Masualle’s “good work”.

“The manner in which things are unfolding now, you can see all that is going to be reversed because you have people wielding authority because of positions. Even in municipalities, they are chopping and changing.”

Ndayi said the fact that Mlibo Qoboshiyane had been retained as rural development MEC proved there was no targeted purging of Masualle’s supporters. “There is no talk about his name being touched because he is performing very well,” Ndayi said.

Bongela warned of a revolt from branches. “At the rate of the venom of those who are in power, I’m seriously worried,” he said. 

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Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

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