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ANC North West factions fight on

Disciplinary proceedings against North West premier Job Mokgoro and four ANC provincial MPs, who defied the party in the legislature and backed the Democractic Alliance (DA), began this week.

This despite an attempt last month by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule to halt the process pending an appeal by the five — whose party membership has been suspended — to Luthuli House to drop the charges.

On Tuesday, a preliminary session was held by the ANC North West disciplinary committee with Mokgoro ahead of his matter being heard on 19 March. Mokgoro is still at work but is being “monitored” by the ANC leadership in the province.

On Wednesday, the same process started for ANC Women’s League secretary Bitsa Lenkopane, Priscilla Williams, Aaron Motswana and Job Dliso. They were suspended for defying the ANC interim provincial committee (IPC) and backing an opposition move to hold votes by secret ballot.
They are also accused of voting for Priscilla Williams as chair of chairs after being nominated by the opposition DA instead of the IPC choice, Leah Minga.

While the five had only expected to make their appearances before the ANC disciplinary committee later in March because of Magashule’s intervention last month, their preliminary hearings were held this week.

The first sitting of Makgoro’s disciplinary hearing had earlier been postponed until 19 March because of the appeal to the secretary general’s office.

A source in the ANC North West told the Mail & Guardian that the preliminary hearings had begun on Tuesday evening.

“Today is a pre-trial for the premier. The others will appear tomorrow,” he said.

Kenny Morolong, the spokesperson for the IPC, said he could not comment as the disciplinary committee operated independently of the provincial leadership.

“It will do its work and will deliver a report containing its findings,” Morolong said.

The rebellion by the five, all of whom are allies of the ousted premier and chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, is the latest in a series of moves by his supporters to destabilise the IPC.

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In 2018 the party national executive committee (NEC) dissolved the provincial executive committee (PEC), chaired by Mahumapelo and replaced it with a provincial task team.  Mahumapelo went to court and won, but a compromise leadership in the form of the PIC was appointed.

The party’s four regions in North West — the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality, the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality, the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality and the  Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality — were also dissolved and replaced with regional interim committees.

The Ruth Mompati leadership has since gone to court to seek an order reinstating the regional executive committee. In contrast, former provincial secretary Papa Jood and other members have written to the NEC demanding that their PEC be reinstated.

The fight between the two factions has also played itself out in the province’s dysfunctional municipalities.

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The IPC fired the leadership troikas of five municipalities last year over the collapse of municipal services and alleged financial mismanagement, but the NEC later overturned the decision.

Last weekend, Ruth Mompati District Municipality municipal manager Jerry Mononela was suspended for alleged misconduct. On Monday, his lawyers issued the municipality with a notice to reinstate him by 2 March or face legal action.

In a letter of demand sent to the municipality, lawyer Michael Motsoeneng said that the suspension had been unlawful and that the municipality had failed to follow its own procedures in suspending him.

According to the letter, Mononela was issued a letter by the council on 22 February, giving him seven days to show why he should not be suspended for misconduct. The council would then hold a hearing to determine whether or not to go ahead with the suspension on 4 March.

However, Mononela was then suspended by mayor Kgalalelo Sereko,  himself recently appointed to the position, at midnight on 28 February, before the process had been concluded and violating the council’s own rules.

Motsoeneng said the allegations against Mononela “had been receiving attention in various structures and committees and was ongoing. This process had been unlawfully and unprocedurally hindered by the actions of the speaker.”

Motsoeneng said Mononela would continue to do his job despite the suspension and would go to court should the municipality go ahead with moves to suspend him.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

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