Limpopo delegates who are going to the African National Congress (ANC)’s 55th national conference are faced with a dilemma, as two senior leaders from the province are both set to contest for the position of national chairperson.
Party provincial chair Stanley Mathabatha and former party PEC member David Masondo will be competing against the current national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe.
Masondo was part of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) that was disbanded over ten years ago. The province has also dismissed claims that the PEC has reneged on its support for party president, Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term.
The gloves are off as two Limpopo ANC heavyweights prepare to do battle. This won’t be the first time that the pair encounters each other as adversaries. Masondo is one of eight MECs that Mathabatha fired during his maiden reshuffle in 2013. At the time, five provincial departments had been placed under administration.
Current party provincial secretary, Rueben Madadzhe says the fact that Mathabatha and Masondo are vying for the same positions shows Limpopo’s capabilities in grooming future leaders.
“The process that we are now in the process of logistically preparing ourselves, the transportation, the accommodation of our delegates, the catering of our delegates’ en-route to Joburg so we are ready as a province. On the three candidates from the province as the PEC we want to appreciate that among ourselves there are leaders that structures are identifying as leaders to lead the organisation nationally,” says Madadzhe.
Critics believe Masondo’s nomination is spearheaded by party members who supported Mathabatha’s opponent Dickson Masemola at the party’s recently held provincial elective conference.
Masemola and his entire slate lost the election. In terms of nominations, Mathabatha leads the pack. At least one political analyst believes Masondo should pull out of the race.
“It is not necessary that Limpopo should fit two candidates for a national position that is why I say one of them needs to withdraw so that the other one should be given a chance to be elected, I would say the position of Mantashe at this stage is very weak unless it may change because the negotiations that are taking place because of the provinces and so on,” says Political analyst Enoch Maponya.
Madadzhe also confirmed that Mathabatha would be delivering the keynote address at an ANC gathering in KwaZulu-Natal this coming weekend, rubbishing speculation that this was an indication that the PEC no longer supported Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term.
“He needs to also campaign to demonstrate to the membership of the ANC that he is a capable leader. So he is going to KZN specifically for that. I would want us to understand it in that context, not that the PEC of Limpopo is now going to KZN to try and change its stance and everything, it’s not about that and you must understand that lobbyings are open up until the conference. So I don’t know if the delegates from Limpopo will be persuaded by delegates from KZN,” Madadzhe adds.
Benjani Chauke also from Limpopo has been nominated for the position of ANC Treasurer General.