Pretoria - The ANC Peter Mokaba Region in Limpopo has expressed disappointment at the party’s national executive committee (NEC) decision to bar those facing criminal charges from contesting any leadership position.
The step-aside resolution continues to sow divisions within the governing party after its two-day NEC meeting last week barred ANC Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza from contesting in the upcoming provincial elections.
He was to contest for the powerful position of secretary, facing off against incumbent Soviet Lekganyane.
Msiza, who was seen as a frontrunner in the elective conference, was forced to step aside after being indicted by the National Prosecution Authority over his role in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.
The region, which is the most influential and a staunch supporter of Msiza and aligned to premier and provincial chairperson Stan Mathabatha’s slate, said it was saddened and disappointed at the decision but was ready to “soldier on”.
Mathabatha, who is seeking re-election, and his slate have since had to replace Msiza with lesser-known Reuben Madadzhe as a candidate for the provincial secretary position after the NEC announced the new rules.
Madadzhe was in the forefront of a campaign to reinstate Msiza and current provincial deputy chairperson Florence Radzilani when they were suspended by the ANC after they were implicated in advocate Terry Motau’s “Great Bank Heist” that blew the lid off the VBS saga.
Msiza was accused of having influenced municipalities to illegally invest in the now defunct bank. Radzilani, as mayor, illegally invested over R300 million of the Vhembe municipality funds, according to the report.
Speaking to Pretoria News, regional chairperson and Polokwane mayor John Mpe said even though they were disappointed, they had listened to the party’s higher structures.
“We are disciplined members of the movement (ANC) and are still going to listen to our higher structures. Comrade Danny (Msiza) is also a dedicated and disciplined member of the party and has agreed that we replace him with another capable comrade (Madadzhe).
“So we respect the decision and have to soldier on,” Mpe said.
The slate will now be forced to nominate Madadzhe from the floor after the conclusion of the branch general meetings last month.
Efforts to reach Msiza were fruitless.
Last week, addressing the media, ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile said the decision to tighten the step-aside policy was informed by recent developments where party leaders facing criminal charges were elected to top positions such as the regional executive committees and provincial executive committees.
He said: “After a debate at the NEC, we agreed that when a member has stepped aside voluntarily, he or she should not make himself or herself available to be elected in positions.
“The decision was taken just to close that gap. Now we have made it explicit that if you have volunteered to step aside, you shouldn’t accept nominations to any position.”
He added that the party needed to protect its integrity. The new rules will affect several ANC leaders, most of whom oppose President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR22 faction.