PROBED: Lebogang Maile
The ANC’s succession battle in Gauteng is intensifying ahead of the party’s provincial conference next month.

The ANC Youth League in the province - which has become the target of opposition parties ahead of next year’s general elections - has now accused the party’s leadership of using organisational and government machinery to target those they don’t want to lead in the country’s economic hub.

On Monday Jacob Khawe resigned as Emfuleni mayor after Premier David Makhura resolved to place the troubled municipality under administration, a move which was endorsed by the party’s provincial executive committee at its meeting at the weekend.

Khawe has been formally endorsed by the ANCYL in the province to contest current provincial secretary Hope Papo at the conference, while Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile was endorsed as deputy chairperson.

The placement of Emfuleni under administration comes after Makhura called on the Special Investigating Unit to investigate Maile’s department, following a multimillion-rand tender irregularity scandal.

The scandal related to an alleged unlawful R26million prepayment by Maile’s department for motorised three-wheelers that were allegedly never delivered by Enviro Mobi, a company linked to ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe.

Sedibeng ANCYL regional spokesperson Thabiso Hlongwane slammed Makhura, saying his decision had nothing to do with maladministration in the municipality, but about weakening Khawe’s position ahead of the conference.

“This is a clear attack and purge to ensure that Khawe does not contest Hope. We are very worried that people are saying there is maladministration and corruption, but no one is being taken to task or being arrested,” Hlongwane said.

He said Khawe had been credited for turning the municipality around when he took over from ANC regional chairperson Simon Mofokeng in December.

“It was shocking that Khawe was being punished despite the progress he has made.

“He made a strategic decision by resigning because this is an attempt to undermine his integrity so that he becomes weaker as a candidate.

“But we are undeterred. We will lobby every branch to ensure that our candidates win at that conference,” he said.

ANC provincial spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said the endorsement of Makhura’s decision to take over Emfuleni had nothing to do with Khawe.

“The PEC (provincial executive committee) commended him (Khawe) for the manner in which he has tried to salvage the situation, and this process that is being introduced is aimed at strengthening efforts.

“While he is someone that has got a lot of energy, it is not enough to lift the municipality out of the quagmire that is in,” Modiba said.

ANCYL provincial chairperson Matome Chiloane defended Makhura, saying he was implementing the ANC’s national conference resolution of good governance and zero tolerance of corruption.

But ANCYL spokesperson Mbali Hlophe has slammed Chiloane for defending Makhura, saying he cannot speak on behalf of the league’s provincial leadership.

“The PEC spoke strongly against the use of the structure by an individual to air his views. The structure only sat yesterday and therefore no statement was sanctioned to be released on its behalf.

“The collective regards this as ill-discipline and unfortunate,” Hlophe said.

Chiloane, who doesn’t see eye to eye with Maile, didn’t attend the meeting that endorsed both Khawe and Maile.

Modiba dismissed allegations that the ANC leadership was targeting political rivals.

“The ANC PEC dismisses such suggestions with the contempt it deserves. In the spirit of the resolutions of the 54th national conference there must be no equivocation in dealing with maladministration.

“It would be wrong for comrades to start pointing fingers at each other just for the purpose of narrow political gains.”