Mpumalanga Premier and ANC chairperson Thabang Makwetla has announced that he will not stand again for either position, opening the way for supporters of ANC President Jacob Zuma to reclaim control of the province. Makwetla's cabinet reshuffle last week appears to have strengthened the hand of the “Young Turk” reformers.
Mpumalanga is perhaps the biggest provincial winner of the revolution in the ruling party at its Polokwane conference. The province's early support for Jacob Zuma as ANC president has been rewarded with the highest five positions on the national executive committee (NEC), plus Mathews Phosa's election to the party's top six leadership.
The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is to probe black empowerment mining tycoons accused of cheating the Mpumalanga government out of millions of rands in royalties and share dividends. Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (Mega) chairperson Phillip Dexter declined to name either the individuals or the companies, but confirmed he had requested the probe.
Major financial irregularities in Mpumalanga's R920-million 2010 World Cup stadium project have sparked an unprecedented revolt by ANC councillors in Nelspruit. The angry councillors have rebelled against provincial party leaders and are demanding executive mayor Justice Nsibande's head.
Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla restored two controversial politicians to his Cabinet this week, amid claims that he is rewarding political favours. Senior ANC provincial executive committee members, who did not want to be named, said Makwetla's reinstatement of David Mabuza and Craig Padayachee was a way of repaying favours that helped him to become the ANC's provincial leader in 2004.
Communist heavy-hitter Phillip Dexter says he has received repeated death threats after spearheading corruption investigations into senior Mpumalanga provincial politicians as well as trade union and business figures. The investigations launched by Dexter have touched on business interests of top former Mpumalanga bureaucrats and politicians.