100712. Christ Worship Church, Thohoyandou in Limpopo Province. President Jacob Zuma and ANC Chairman in Limpopo Cassel Mathale during the Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture delivered by Msholozi. 776 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko


LIMPOPO Premier Cassel Mathale was to report on the state of the province today, at the same time as he was expected to outline his plans for the province.

But the official opposition in the province, Cope, wants him to resign immediately after today’s State of the Province address.

“The only relief for the people of Limpopo (today) when (Mathale) presents his State of the Province address (would be) to hear him saying he (was) relinquishing the premier’s position with his cabinet,” said Cope’s provincial acting chairman, Patrick Sikhutshi.

He likened the province to South Africa’s former bantustans and dictatorial African countries, where, he said, leaders were wealthier than the governments.

“The Limpopo administration has been plagued by corruption since day one of the rule of (Mathale) and his cronies and this province is now in a crisis mode,” said Sikhutshi.

It’s unlikely that Mathale will heed Cope’s call.

But the premier would be ascending to the podium today knowing that the daggers are out against him – and not only from the opposition benches.

Mathale has almost no political support from structures affiliated to the ruling ANC that he leads in the province.

Trade union federation Cosatu, an ally of the ANC, also wants him to resign.

“We think there is no better time for him to resign than now,” said Cosatu’s provincial secretary, Dan Sebabi.

He also took a swipe at Mathale’s plan to challenge in the Constitutional Court President Jacob Zuma’s decision to place Limpopo government departments under administration.

Independent Newspapers revealed yesterday that Mathale had paid R98 000 of taxpayers’ money to legal expert Professor Shadrack Gutto for legal advice on the Constitutional Court challenge.

“We sense a level of arrogance on the part of the premier.

“Do you want to challenge the intervention?

“Sure you think you can have an independently corrupt state of Limpopo,” said Sebabi.

Gilbert Kganyago, provincial secretary of the SA Communist Party, another ANC ally, wants Mathale gone. Kganyago said today’s address was only to bluff Limpopo citizens.

“We have expected that by now the premier would have left the office,” said Kganyago.

The ANC national executive committee will decide on Mathale’s political future on March 15.

The party is expected to announce on the day if it has disbanded Mathale’s provincial party executive, after repeated pleas by branches to dissolve it.