September 30, 2011

Zuma bloc fights back

President Jacob Zuma's supporters are moving to consolidate his power in Luthuli House and in strategic provinces ahead of the party's 2012 elective conference in Mangaung. Followers of ANC head of organising and campaigns Fikile Mbalula claim Luthuli House is taking away some of his responsibilities in what they view as a plot to weaken him. In North West, Zuma's faction is allegedly working with ANC provincial chairman Supra Mahumapelo to topple the party's deputy secretary general, Thandi Modise, as premier, and Kabelo Mataboge as provincial secretary. Modise and Mataboge are regarded as key supporters of Mbalula and ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, who are being backed -- mainly by the ANC Youth League -- to replace secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Zuma in their respective positions at the conference next year. In Limpopo, Cassel Mathale is fighting to hold on to his role as premier while the provincial South African Communist Party, supported by national office, calls for his government to be placed under administration.

Mathale is a close ally of youth league president Julius Malema and both men have been accused of involvement in irregular tender practices. Mathale said that the ANC in Limpopo was also in conflict with Mantashe over when it should hold its provincial conference. Malema is facing a disciplinary hearing and it appears the support he thought he enjoyed within the ANCYL in KwaZulu-Natal is being eroded as provincial executive committee disown him. The M&G has also learnt that key responsibilities, including controlling the ANC's membership system, have been shifted from Mbalula to Jessie Duarte, who now heads monitoring and evaluation in the ANC. Said an ANC insider close to Mbalula: "They [Zuma and his allies] want to have control of membership in provinces. This would make it easier for them to know who in the provinces supports them and what work needs to do be done in recruiting more members sympathetic to them." Another senior ANC member who is sympathetic to Mbalula echoed the claims that there were moves to strip him of his responsibilities. (Mail & Guardian)

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