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Mandla Ndlovu elected Mpumalanga ANC chairperson in slate believed to be dominated by RET faction

Newly-elected Mpumalanga ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu, deputy chairperson Speedy Mashilo, secretary Muzi Chirwa and deputy secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali at the party's 13th Provincial Conference at Emalahleni Dam. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Newly-elected Mpumalanga ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu, deputy chairperson Speedy Mashilo, secretary Muzi Chirwa and deputy secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali at the party's 13th Provincial Conference at Emalahleni Dam. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 2, 2022


Emalahleni – Mandla Ndlovu has been elected the new Mpumalanga ANC chairperson, in a slate dominated by leaders aligned to the radical economic transformation (RET) faction which is opposing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second term bid.

Ndlovu defeated former provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa by 162 votes at the 13th Provincial Elective Conference under way at the Witbank Dam in Emalahleni.

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Nkangala ANC regional chairperson Speedy Mashilo was elected deputy provincial chairperson while Muzi Chirwa took over as provincial secretary.

Murder accused and former agriculture MEC Mandla Msibi was elected treasurer while former provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali took the deputy secretary position.

Newly-elected ANC Deputy Secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

More than 700 delegates voted in the early hours of Saturday morning to elect the new top five leaders.

Jubilant delegates of the winning faction chanted struggle songs throughout the announcement.

However, Msibi would not be allowed to assume his leadership role until his case is finalised by the courts.

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He is facing charges of murder and attempted murder following a shooting incident at a Mbombela shisanyama in August last year.

After the results were announced, Gwen Ramokgopha, the co-ordinator in the office of the ANC secretary-general, told the delegates that Msibi would be given a chance to clear his name before he assumed his duties.

“We want to acknowledge that comrade Msibi did not wait for the party to suspend him but took the moral high ground and stepped aside on his own.

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“He said to us, ‘I'm not guilty but I acknowledge my serious charges’.

“The step aside rule applies, comrades.

“We must know that. But we respect that he did not force to be here at this conference.

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“So comrades, the comrade (Msibi) will not be available to do ANC work and it is a dilemma that will face this collective,” Ramokgopa said.

Sources within the ANC in Mpumalanga said the new slate was dominated by leaders linked to former president Jacob Zuma and suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule.

They said the biggest loser was Deputy President David “DD” Mabuza, the former Mpumalanga ANC chairperson, whose supporters lost all the positions they had contested.

While Ndlovu was previously seen as a RET man, he is believed to have switched political allegiance to Ramaphosa’s CR22 camp ahead of the national ANC elective conference in December.

Newly-elected ANC Mpumalanga Chairperson Mandla Ndlovu. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Mashilo, a fierce opponent of Mabuza’s and an ally to Ndlovu, is seen as a closed book on allegiance to the RET and CR22 factions.

Ntshalintshali is a known supporter of Zuma and an ally to Magashule.

She was among senior ANC leaders who attended Zuma’s rally at Nkandla on the eve of his incarceration last year.

Ntshalintshali also attended a rally outside the Bloemfontein High Court in support of Magashule when he appeared on corruption charges in 2021.

A vocal supporter of both Zuma and Mashagule, Ntshalintshali is regarded as the RET’s point person in Mpumalanga.

Chirwa and Msibi are seen as Magashule’s close allies in the province.

Mandla Ndlovu and Muzi Chirwa at the party's 13th Provincial Conference at Emalahleni Dam in Mpumalanga. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

“The RET forces wiped the slate clean in Mpumalanga.

“A heavy defeat for CR and DD. The key player was Lindi.

“A taste of things to come. The loser here is DD. His people lost all the positions.

“It means DD has no province (backing him) now.

“The battle was really between CR and Ace,” said a source.

“Ndlovu was called to a meeting before voting and told that he must stop pronouncing CR or else he would lose the chairmanship.”

The source cited the fact that Ntshantshali was nominated by 10 branches more than Ndlovu as proof that most delegates were sympathetic to the RET group.

Ntshalintshali was nominated by 170 of the 318 branches compared to Ndlovu’s 160.

She was nominated for the powerful position of provincial secretary but declined in favour of the deputy secretary.

Ndlovu was not immediately available for comment on allegations he was given an ultimatum by his supporters to refrain from campaigning for Ramaphosa or kiss the chairperson position goodbye.

Former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who is believed to be challenging Ramaphosa for the ANC presidency at the national conference in December, attended the conference.

Ramaphosa is expected to officially close the conference on Sunday.

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Political Bureau