After the announcement of the Top Six Sunday, it took almost 72 more hours before the media could find out who has made it to the 80-strong national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC.
Zweli Mkhize, who had earlier withdrawn his candidacy for the position of deputy president and left David Mabuza and Lindiwe Sisulu in the running, emerged as the most voted candidate outside of the Top Six with 2550 ballots.
This is higher than what some candidates in the Top Six managed to achieve. Unsprisingly, hot on Mkhize’s heels was Lindiwe Zulu, a women’s league member and NDZ supporter with with 2280 total votes.
At number nine and one notch above the previous conference top NEC candidate, Malusi Gigaba, was Mpumalanga education MEC Reginah Mhaule. Mhaule received 2120 votes, one vote more than the finance minister received.
Of the 4776 registered delegates, only 4288 casted their votes and 59 of those chose to spoil theirs. Mhaule, despite her low profile mainly restricted to Nelspruit, received more votes than Zizi Kodwa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Lindiwe Sisulu, Fikile Mbalula, Bathabile Dlamini, Senzo Mchunu, Pravin Gordhan and Naledi Pandor.
Unfortunately, Mhaule has her own ‘smallanyana skeletons’. In January this year, Media24 reported that a 62-year-old domestic worker who worked for Mhaule opened a fraud case against the MEC in Nelspruit.
This is after she reportedly discovered that someone might have been taking her government issued salary without her knowledge. Linah Mkhabela, who had worked as a cleaner for Mhaule since 2009, said she was unaware that she had been a government employee because she used to get her R2 000 monthly salary in cash.
“I thought that the MEC was doing me a favour because we were going to the same church, but when I applied for an old age pension at the South African Social Security Agency, I was told that I do not qualify because I had been a government employee,” she told the publication.
The documents also show that Mkhabela was earning a salary of between R71 289 and R87 330 per annum between August 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014. She claims she never received that salary, let alone a payslip to show that she was a government employee during that period.
Mhaule received a secondary teachers diploma in 1990; further diploma in education from University of Pretoria in 1997; a Bachelor’s degree from Unisa in 1996; Bachelor of Education Honours from Potchefstroom in 2002; project and programme management certificate and, according to her profile on Mpumalanga provincial government website, “awaiting research results” from University of Pretoria for her Masters in Public Management (MPM).
She had been a member of provincial legislature (MPL) in Mpumalanga and a treasurer of ANCWL in Ehlanzeni region of the province. In October 2015, Mhaule urged people to pray for Premier David Mabuza, who had been on sick leave for more than a month after ‘collapsing from fatigue.’
Mhaule was addressing an exam prayer session for the Gert Sibande and Nkangala districts in Middleburg when she asked that the prayers include Mabuza – “He is much much much better but we should not take anything for granted. Let us pray for him. (As for ) (t)hose who say he is dead, we do not know if maybe they want him dead, so if we don’t pray for, eeeeehhhh, we do not know,” she said.
This is what an NEC insider believes Mhaule’s inclusion in the NEC centers around – to sponsor debates and mobilise support on behalf of Mabuza during anticipated heated debates between his and Ramaphosa camps going forward.
“She is to become Mabuza’s de-facto chief whip during NEC meetings which will be characterised by power dynamics between the two camps. It has been discussed how she will ensure pro-Mabuza members vote accordingly when debates require that members vote for issues. This is the reason DD campaigned rigorously for her,” the source said.