LIMPOPO ANC provincial deputy chairman Dickson Masemola yesterday played down widespread reports that President Jacob Zuma’s triumph could signal the end of Cassel Mathale, his provincial chairman and premier.

Beaming from ear to ear, Masemola addressed, on the periphery of the 53rd national conference, an animated crowd of about 100 delegates shortly after the top six officials of the ANC were announced.

He called for calm and for his fellow delegates to “extend an olive branch to those who were opposed to Zuma’s re-election”.

“The chairperson continues in his role,” he said after one of his delegation shouted that Mathale will not see the end of his chairmanship and premiership terms.

It is well known that Mathale associated himself with expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Limpopo went to Mangaung with two slates – a delegation led by provincial chairman Mathale, who wanted Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma, while Masemola’s delegation nominated Zuma for re-election.

“I’m happy with the outcome. We voted well,” he said.

“The president has communicated a very clear and loud message: there needs to be unity in the ANC; without such unity the ANC will die.

“Zuma’s re-election is a victory for the ANC,” said Masemola.

Masemola, a non-voting delegate and provincial education MEC, said he and his provincial executive were united and welcomed changes in the ANC.