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Limpopo - The disgruntled supporters of axed Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale have accused the ANC task team of appointing former Cope members to rebuild the organisation in the province.
The Sunday Independent has seen a letter written to an ANC national executive committee member deployed to Limpopo, Ruth Bhengu, which alleges infiltration by former Cope members.
Mathale’s supporters are taking advantage of the rift forming between Bhengu and the provincial task team (PTT), which was constituted after the ANC dissolved Mathale’s provincial executive.
Bhengu recently slammed the task team for not helping the ANC’s election campaign.
But the letter to Bhengu, written by Sam Riba, a branch member in Sekhukhune, assisted by Mathale loyalists, flayed the task team, which was led by Philemon Mdaka.
“Former Cope leaders have been appointed to be part of the crucial structures of the movement assigned the mammoth tasks to rebuild and unite the ANC,” he says.
“The task of rebuilding and reuniting the organisation needs loyal members of the ANC who never abandoned the movement to join the enemy forces,” he said.
Bhengu refused to comment.
“Internal matters of the ANC remain within the ANC. I am not going to talk about that,” she said.
But task team spokesman Sello Lediga poured cold water on the claims, saying they had no substance.
Lediga said Bhengu had raised the Cope allegations at a meeting with the task team.
Lediga, who forms part of the task team, is himself accused of writing a newspaper article encouraging the formation of Cope in 2009.
“Ruth raised this at a meeting… This was an old article. I was a journalist at the time. I was not holding any position in the ANC,” he said.
“If anybody says I encouraged people to join Cope, I want them to show me how. There is no substance in the allegations,” he said.
Lediga defended the task team’s appointment of leaders to regions of the organisation. “The PTT of Limpopo takes responsibility for the appointment of RTTs (regional task teams). In our view, we have not accommodated Cope members. It will make no sense (to appoint former Cope members). Anybody who says this must bring evidence,” he said.
Lediga said many ANC leaders who were associated with former Limpopo premier Sello Moloto, who joined Cope after its formation, were now wrongfully accused of being former Cope members.
The task team has been embroiled in a fight with Bhengu ever since an SMS circulated in which she chastised Mdaka’s team as being “destructive”.
This was after it emerged that there were plans to remove Polokwane mayor Freddy Greaver.
Bhengu reportedly told Mdaka that his task team had “lost focus and is not helpful to the ANC in terms of going to the conference as well as winning the elections in 2014”.
A task team member, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the relationship between them and Bhengu was “problematic”.
“We were offended by Ruth’s SMS that we have lost the way. If we have lost the way, we have lost the way with her,” he said.
“Our relationship with her is problematic,” he added.
The accusations of the ANC task team in Limpopo comprising former Cope leaders come in the wake of Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha’s decision to suspend heads of department who were linked to Mathale.
Earlier this week Mathabatha suspended the head of human settlements, Nnana Manamela, and of education, Morebudi Thamaga, who were appointed by former premier Mathale.
The suspensions came after Mathale stalled for more than seven months following an intense quarrel between Mathale and the intervention team sent to the province after President Jacob Zuma placed five departments under administration for several months.
Last month Mathabatha fired eight of Mathale’s 10 MECs and reshuffled the remaining two.