Fate of Soviet Lekganyane hangs in the balance at ANC Limpopo conference

The fate of former provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane now hangs in the balance after Stan Mathabatha and his slate made a clean sweep at the ANC Limpopo conference on Saturday. 

Mathabatha was declared chairperson of the provincial executive committee (PEC), winning 789 votes against Dickson Masemola, who garnered 389.

This was the order of the day for Mathabatha’s allies, including Florence Radzilani, who was elected deputy chairperson.

Others elected to the top five were Basikopo Makamu as deputy provincial secretary and Nakedi Sibanda-Kekana as provincial treasurer. 

Reuben Madadzhe, an ally of Danny Msiza, was nominated from the floor after the latter was barred from contesting party elections by the PEC. Msiza is facing charges of corruption related to the VBS Mutual Bank scandal, which saw Limpopo residents and others being fleeced of nearly R2-billion. 

Sources said that Madadzhe, a former youth leader, fought tirelessly for Msiza when he had to step aside from his position as provincial treasurer. 

Lekganyane, who has lost favour with the Mathabatha faction, is unlikely to make it into the PEC. Insiders closely linked to the slate have said that Msiza, who still wields much power in the province, has made it clear that Lekganyane must not find his way in.

One party source said even though ANC national treasurer Paul Mashatile, an ally of Msiza, would probably attempt to broker peace between the two men, the Mathabatha slate was of the view that Lekganyane had gone against it to gain favour with partly leader Cyril Ramaphosa’s allies shortly after he was reelected for a second term in 2018.

Those closely linked to the ANC leaders said Lekganyane was a compromise candidate during the 2014 provincial conference to appease former chairperson Cassel Mathale. 

Mathabatha told journalists he would meet people on the losing slate to plan a way forward. He refuted claims that he would soon reshuffle his cabinet, leaving Masemola out in the cold. 

“There are [executive council] reviews that take place at the end of the financial year every year. Then the advisers of the premier will then advise the premier on the course of action,” Mathabatha said of a possible reshuffle.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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