Themba Sigudla, a Mpumalanga businessperson and the reportedly estranged friend of Deputy President David Mabuza, is pleased with the performance of his SA National Congress of Traditional Authorities (Sancota), both nationally and provincially.
Sancota is another ANC-breakaway political party.
Multimillionaire Sigudla established the party following a fallout with Mabuza after the ANC December 2017 elective conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg. It was at this gathering were Mabuza was elected ANC deputy president after some last-minute horse-trading.
“We are very proud of our performance so far,” said Sigudla. “It shows that there is no master in politics and that the politics of gatekeeping does not work anymore. Democracy is growing.”
Sigudla said they expected Sancota to do well in areas like Nkomazi, Bushbuckridge, Emalahleni and Dr JS Moroka once all votes had been counted.
The party is associated with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Practical Radical Economic Transformation of SA (PretSA), the ANC’s influential ally in Mpumalanga during Mabuza’s rein there as premier.
Founded by Sigudla in 2017, PretSA had pronounced that it preferred veteran Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be ANC president and Sigudla funded her campaign, leading to everyone thinking Mabuza was backing Dlamini-Zuma.
Mabuza changed his mind at the eleventh hour and backed Cyril Ramaphosa as party president, which led to the fallout between the two former associates.
In happier times when he was Mpumalanga premier, Mabuza ordered his government to work hand-in-hand with PretSA, with the NGO becoming influential within the party.
“We are the rejects from the ANC and our membership is from the belly of the ANC and those who never supported the ANC,” Sigudla said.
He said the party’s campaign strategy was to advise members not to bad-mouth the ANC like other parties did, but instead focus on key issues neglected by the governing party such as rural development and the issue of traditional leadership.
“The more you focus on bad-mouthing the ANC, the more you give them publicity and air time.”
Sigudla said their biggest concern with the elections was that though the Electoral Commission of SA was independent, people who worked for the organisation were ANC members.
He added there was a lot of corruption and loopholes in the electoral system which Sancota had witnessed when it was still a member of the ANC.