Limpopo ANC has confidence in Stan Mathabatha, says PEC spokesperson Jimmy Machaka

Limpopo ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha. Picture: Facebook

Limpopo ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha. Picture: Facebook

Published Feb 13, 2023


Pretoria - Limpopo ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha has allegedly defended himself against his detractors at the first party provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting after the national elective conference held at Nasrec last year.

Mathabatha, also Limpopo premier, was apparently confronted by PEC members at the meeting as to why he decided to fail provincial branches that had decided to support President Cyril Ramaphosa at the party’s 55th conference.

The chairperson and his deputy Florence Radzilani made a U-turn on the eve of nominations of candidates at the conference, supporting Dr Zweli Mkhize, who eventually lost to Ramaphosa by 579 votes.

Mathabatha, nicknamed “Ama-bhubhezi” after he chanted the Struggle song “Wathinta thina wa thinta amabhubhezi” while announcing his U-turn on the sidelines of the conference, has defended his decision.

The meeting, held last Monday, is said to have nearly descended into chaos when the two were confronted by angry PEC members.

A source inside the PEC, who cannot be named because he cannot speak for the party, said a highly emotional Mathabatha told them he made that decision because he was “between a rock and a hard place”.

Mathabatha’s initial defence for the last-minute change of heart was that he had discovered that Ramaphosa had no interest in supporting him for the position of chairperson, which he lost to Gwede Mantashe.

Fearing for his removal from office by the PEC, that has been calling for him to step down as premier after his conduct at Nasrec, Mathabatha vowed he had not sold out ANC branches.

The source said: “The very emotional comrade chairperson told us he was between a rock and hard place and needed to make personal decisions in the last minute.”

Months before the conference the Pretoria News reported that Mathabatha would make the U-turn at the conference because of his close ties with the ANC’s PEC in KwaZulu-Natal.

The two provinces had teamed up for various reasons, including agreeing to scrap the step-aside resolution.

Chief among those who want Mathabatha gone and who apparently led the confrontation at the meeting are Mopani executive mayor Pule Shayi, who is in favour of Ramaphosa and is eyeing the premier position. Shayi lost to Radzilani by a big margin at the provincial conference last year.

Also in favour was Polokwane mayor John Mpe, who was seen to have been 100% behind Ramaphosa, snubbing Mathabatha at the conference.

However, ANC PEC spokesperson Jimmy Machaka said the PEC had not resolved to remove Mathabatha.

He said after the meeting: “The ANC Limpopo PEC noted the continuous onslaught against the provincial chairperson by some section of the media, to this effect the PEC calls on all media houses to refrain from being used against the provincial chairperson and thus seek to divide the PEC.

“The PEC expresses its full confidence in the provincial chairperson Cde Chupu Stanley Mathabatha and call on all members to refrain from public spats that have the potential to divide the ANC.”

Pretoria News