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Outgoing ANC Limpopo chairman Cassel Mathale has said his province blundered in excluding President Jacob Zuma’s staunchest supporter from the delegation for the Mangaung conference.
Addressing a media briefing in Polokwane on Monday, Mathale said he lamented the sidelining of his provincial ANC deputy chairman Dickson Masemola. Masemola broke ranks with his colleagues in the provincial executive and campaigned for Zuma’s re-election bid.
Mathale noted the decision as one of the lowlights during his term as the province’s party leader. While the provincial executive had the prerogative to select delegates for the conference, the exclusion of Masemola was improper, he said.
On the way to the conference he had told Masemola “we didn’t handle this thing properly”.
Masemola, the province’s education MEC, has been touted as one of the potential candidates to replace Mathale as premier.
Sitting next to Mathale, Ruth Bhengu, head of the ANC national executive deployees in the province, cited factions and the province’s continued support of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema as key reasons for dissolving the (PEC) provincial executive committee.
She dismissed claims that Limpopo had been targeted for its unsuccessful campaign to have Kgalema Motlanthe replace Zuma as ANC leader in Mangaung.
The national executive committee (NEC) was addressing similar challenges in provinces such as Free State and North West, where a regional leader was assassinated.
Thulas Nxesi, an NEC deployee member, said the national leadership could not stand back in the face of “institutionalised factional conduct” destroying the organisation”. “It had to take over,” he said.
Bhengu said the NEC would run the province until ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe announced members of the provincial task team.
A provincial general council would be called this month, in which the interim leadership could be announced.
The provincial task team has nine months to facilitate an elective conference.
Bhengu said outgoing ANC leaders in good standing, including Mathale, were eligible to contest for election.
Mathale said they remained loyal members of the ANC and that they accepted the decision to dissolve the PEC. - The Star