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Limpopo - Newly elected Limpopo ANC provincial chairman Stan Mathabatha has vowed to “flush out” party members who are hell-bent on perpetuating factionalism and divisions in the organisation.
He committed to sacking non-performing MECs and those who put their personal and business interests ahead of the plight of ordinary people.
In an exclusive interview with The Star at the weekend, Mathabatha accused unnamed businessmen of being the “source” of factionalism by funding political factions in exchange for lucrative tenders.
The Limpopo premier was elected unopposed as provincial chairman at a conference held at the University of Limpopo at the weekend. Jerry Ndou was elected his deputy; Knox Seabi as provincial secretary; Makoma Makhurupetji as deputy secretary and Thembi N’wendamutshu as treasurer.
While Mathabatha promised to work for organisational unity, he warned those who thrived on factionalism they would be kicked out.
“We will flush them out of the system. The ANC was established for unity. As you join the ANC, the constitution tells you that you are an agent of unity. So you can’t come to the ANC and do any other thing or be repulsive to that ideal because that is what makes you an ANC member.
“If you can’t do this, and you become antagonistic by being divisive, it means you don’t belong here,” Mathabatha said.
He added that while factions remained deep-rooted, the current provincial ANC was better than that of his predecessor, Cassel Mathale, because it had more and stronger branches.
Asked whether he would accept if President Jacob Zuma asked him to continue as premier after the May 7 elections, Mathabatha replied: “Obviously. How do I refuse if the president says I must do that?”
He said his criteria for appointing MECs would be clear: “The MEC must be ready to work, be committed, have love for the people of this province so that his interests must be purely to serve people before any other thing. Even before you think of serving the ANC.”
Mathabatha promised to “release” non-performing MECS or redeploy them.
He said Public Works MEC Dickson Masemola, his main rival and challenger, would be allowed to finish his term. Asked if he would retain him after the elections, Mathabatha was noncommittal.
Mathabatha blamed tenderpreneurs, the allocation of tenders and nepotism for the current factionalism.
“In most instances you will find that the source of the problem is business, because I want to have some people in government who would be in a position to support my business, and I start funding those people to build themselves into a particular faction in the organisation and make sure those people do not lose power,” he said.
However, he said he would not launch a crackdown on businessmen because not all of them funded factions.
Instead he would tighten the screws on the government’s supply chain management systems, by introducing a strict division of labour between officials who drafted tender specifications and those who evaluated, adjudicated and made payments.
The new chairman also promised to “thoroughly” screen and vet senior officials before appointing them, to make it difficult for them to unduly award tenders.
Tenderpreneurs, fraud, corruption and nepotism have been blamed for Limpopo’s R2 billion cash-flow crisis that paralysed the provincial government in 2011.
Mathabatha said that while he would review the positions of mayors, “I can’t really say there are mayors who are going to lose their jobs. What I can say is that we are going to put pressure on those who are not performing.”
He said that if he returned as premier, he would prioritise the provision of water and proper sanitation, and improve healthcare services and job creation.