Setback blow for DD’s chosen one



Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane’s hopes of becoming ANC provincial chairperson were struck a blow this week when her key lobbyist, suspended ANC Ehlanzeni chairperson Ngrayi Ngwenya, appeared in court on charges relating to the stabbing of a female party member last year.

Ngwenya, who was suspended by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) last month over an alleged assault on ANC acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, has been central to the campaign to elect Mtsweni-Tsipane, an ally of former chairperson and premier, David Mabuza, now the deputy president.

The province will hold its long-awaited elective conference in December this year after Mabuza’s ascent to national politics in December 2017.

Mpumalanga sent the second-largest delegation to the ANC’s last elective conference in Nasrec — it surpassed the Eastern Cape’s delegation size and is seen as a key province to control to influence national politics in the party.

It is understood that although Mabuza — who still has significant influence in the province — has been talking to potential candidates, his preference for the post of chairperson remains Mtsweni-Tsipane. ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is understood to prefer the current acting chairperson and former secretary, Mandla Ndlovu.

On Tuesday, Ngwenya appeared in the Tonga magistrate’s court on grievous bodily harm assault charges stemming from the stabbing of ANC member Faith Makumo at a party meeting in KaMhlushwa in June last year.

The case was postponed until October 9 for further investigation.

Earlier this month, Ngwenya and fellow Ehlanzeni regional executive committee (REC) member Phindile Nkuna were suspended by the ANC NEC for allegedly assaulting Ntshalintshali at a regional general council meeting in Mbombela on July 17 this year.

The meeting had been called to brief chairpersons and branches from the Ehlanzeni and Bohlabela regions that the structures were being dissolved and merged into a single entity to bring them in line with the ANC constitution.

At its Mangaung conference in 2012, the ANC resolved that each region should be based on a district municipality, but the two regions had continued to exist, despite the fact that both fall under the Ehlanzeni district municipality.

However, Ntshalintshali was attacked and assaulted with a chair at the meeting, at which the decision to replace the two regional executive committees with a 20-member task team was to be announced.

The NEC subsequently suspended the membership of Ngwenya and Nkuna and is understood to be processing similar action against ANC Youth League members allegedly involved in the assault.

The move is a blow to Mtsweni-Tsipane, who is understood to be Mabuza’s choice to succeed him as chairperson.

The two regions and the Gert Sibande region had been expected to back the premier as chair, and their dissolution and the suspension of Ngwenya, viewed as untouchable in Mpumalanga for the past decade, is set to disturb this.

Last year, the Mail & Guardian exposed the existence of cloned ANC branches and ghost members who had died, but had “voted” at branch general meetings after their death, in both regions. An investigation by Luthuli House resulted in the parallel structures being merged after a membership audit ahead of the decision to dissolve and merge them.

READ MORE: ‘Ghost’ branches, municipal capture ‘threatens’ ANC in Mpumalanga

A member of the provincial faction in the that had taken the ANC to court, and who asked not to be named, said they were happy with the developments, as this allowed a fairer run-up to the provincial conference.

“We are happy that the ANC is doing the right thing now. Because of this we withdrew our court application. Things are taking the correct direction now and we will wait for a date before deciding who to back. For now, we need to concentrate on building the ANC in the province again,” they said.

READ MORE: Bid to lay ‘ghost’ branches to rest

However, they questioned why Ngwenya had been supported at court by ANC members in party colours and vehicles on Wednesday.

“The province needs to implement the terms of the suspension letters,” they said. “There can’t be a situation where the party is endorsing a person accused of stabbing a female comrade,” he said.

Ngwenya, Ntshalintshali and Ndlovu had not responded to calls from the M&G at the time of publication. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Western Cape Judge Mushtak Parker faces second misconduct complaint

The Cape Bar Council says his conduct is ‘unbecoming the holding of judicial office’

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories