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ANC North West chairman Supra Mahumapelo has been barred by the family of slain Rustenburg councillor and activist Moss Phakoe from entering their home.
Phakoe’s family said this was why, contrary to plans, the ANC’s centenary flame had not been brought to their home in Tlhabane, Rustenburg, at the weekend.
The flame was also meant to be taken to the Lutheran Church where ANC members and residents were waiting. But it was diverted after tensions arose over officials’ failure to take it to Phakoe’s home.
The centenary flame, which has been travelling around the country as a symbol of unity to mark the ANC’s 100th anniversary, has brought tensions to the surface in troubled North West.
Phakoe was killed in 2009 a few days after submitting a dossier detailing corruption allegations against former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans and other municipal officials.
Wolmarans was sentenced last month to 20 years in jail and his former bodyguard, Enoch Matshaba, to life imprisonment for Phakoe’s murder.
Wolmarans is known to be a close ally of Mahumapelo, said by Phakoe’s family to have been one of the councillor’s sworn enemies.
Phakoe’s family said they had made it clear to the ANC that Mahumapelo was not welcome in their home.
Plans to bring the flame to Phakoe’s home were then shelved.
Mahumapelo could not be reached for comment as his phone was switched off.
Phakoe’s son, Tlholo Phakoe, said on Monday that ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbete had confirmed by phone that the centenary flame would be brought to their home.
“It would have been an honour for the flame to come to our house, but that would not happen over the principled stance we have taken regarding Mahumapelo.
“It is an open secret that Mahu-mapelo did not see eye to eye with our father. He has never shown any concern about the death of Moss Phakoe, who literally died for the movement.
“As leader of the ANC in the province, his silence (about my father’s death) has been very worrying. Maybe he could not speak because the case was still before the courts, but why has he been silent even now?”
The family did not want Mahu-mapelo to be associated in any way with Phakoe’s name until he “came clean” about his silence regarding the late councillor.
ANC North West spokesman Kenny Morolong said the centenary torch had not been scheduled to be taken to Phakoe’s house.
“I don’t know where this information comes from because there were never any plans to take the flame to Phakoe’s home, only to the church.
“As to what happened for it not to go to the church, we are still looking into the matter and the leadership will speak after it has been discussed.”
Morolong said the flame was travelling around the province, and on Monday it was at a women’s event in Moruleng.
The provincial executive committee was perturbed about what happened at the weekend, and would make public pronouncements after discussing the matter, he said.
A letter Phakoe’s family has written to the ANC provincial secretary, Kabelo Mataboge, suggests that there had been plans for the centenary flame to be brought to Phakoe’s home.
“There are some things we want to make clear,” reads the letter, seen by the Pretoria News.
“As the family of Moss Phakoe we refuse to be visited by former ANC provincial secretary and present chairman (Supra Mahumapelo) at our home. Our position is clear… we don’t want him to be present in our home during the ANC centenary torch ceremony.”
Phakoe’s daughter, Karabo, said the family had faced serious challenges since her father’s death, including threats from the bank to repossess the family home.
The family have sent a letter to President Jacob Zuma’s office, asking for assistance to avoid being thrown out on the street.
“It has been a struggle to try to keep the house because when our father died he was unemployed after Wolmarans fired him from the municipality.
“We pleaded with the bank not to evict us. Since then the letters of demand had stopped, but we don’t [know] for how long.” - Pretoria News