The suspension of the Waterberg regional secretary of the ANC, Tolly Mashamaite, has resulted in a protracted friction between party factions and the indefinite closure of the party’s regional offices.
Based in Mokopane, near Polokwane, the party’s regional offices had to be closed a fortnight ago. After weeks of arguments with the party’s national executive committee, the provincial executive committee (PEC) eventually suspended Mashamaite amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
The ANC’s alliance partners had, some time ago, called on the PEC to suspend Mashamaite. The same thing happened to the ANC’s leader in Western Cape, Marius Fransman.
The PEC eventually agreed to endorse the suspension order by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. The suspension, according to the ANC, is to allow investigations into the allegations to continue without undue interference.
Last week, the PEC appointed Meisie Lekalakala in Mashamaite’s position in an acting capacity. After her appointment, rival factions threw stones at each other and the offices were closed.
“We cannot be served by a person of Lekalakala’s character,” said James Mohale, one of the protesters.
“She is the reason the DA is leading some of our municipalities in the province.
“We will fight with everything we have for the PEC to reverse its decision on her appointment.”
The ANC Youth League in the province said some party bigwigs were behind the protracted infighting and called on those “with blood on their hands” to stay out of the fray.
The league said in a statement the time was ripe to reopen the offices.
“Those who closed the offices are hooligans, rented by some [high-ranking] members of the ANC to cause chaos in the region and in province,” the league said.
Police spokesperson in Limpopo Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said they dispatched police officers to the area to restore order, peace and stability.
“We have not opened any criminal case against anyone at the moment, but we are monitoring the situation,” said Ngoepe. “Our police are patrolling, not only at the ANC offices but in Mokopane as a whole.”