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North West rebels 'using ANC as cover'

Supra's 'gangsters' said to be behind anti-Cyril, pro-Zuma party in the province

05 August 2018 - 00:05 By APHIWE DEKLERK

In a previous version of this article we incorrectly described Neo Moepi as the nephew of Thandi Modise, chair of the National Council of Provinces. We were reporting on efforts by an ally of then ANC provincial chair Supra Mahumapelo to recruit Moepi to a pro-Jacob Zuma party. Moepi told us he was Modise’s nephew, but we did not confirm this independently. We apologise to Modise for the error. An ally of North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo apparently tried to recruit a former spokesperson to join a new pro-Jacob Zuma party.
Neo Moepi told of the approach this week.
He said a senior official in the North West government tried to lure him to the African Transformation Congress (ATC), which supports Zuma.
He said the official told him the ANC was all but dead.
Speculation about Mahumapelo and his group's involvement in the formation of the party has been rife in the province. Mahumapelo resigned as premier in May but remains as ANC chairperson.
The new party is believed to be a platform for a revolt against President Cyril Ramaphosa and is part of a Zuma fightback.
Mahumapelo resigned as premier following violent protests against his leadership. His fall was seen as a purge of the Zuma grouping by the Ramaphosa leadership. Mahumapelo was the only ANC provincial chair, outside of KwaZulu-Natal, to support Zuma in court.
The ATC was formed by people sympathetic to Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. One of its founders is Bishop Caesar Nongqunga of the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ. He is backed by other religious leaders who have supported Zuma at court.
Moepi's claims link the anti-Ramaphosa group in the ANC to the ATC.
"The person recruiting me was very clear. [He said] the ANC is dead and it's going to die in the hands of Cyril, so we must just forget about it. But in the public domain, all of them are going to pronounce that they are members of the ANC in good standing," he said.
Moepi said there was a recruitment drive aimed at getting ANC members in the North West to join the new party.
He said the recruiter claimed that "most of the heads of departments in the province are members of this new formation, including a number of municipal managers, councillors and mayors".
A member of the provincial legislature who was told about the attempted recruitment said: "Even though [Mahumapelo] didn't approach [Moepi] himself, it is clear [the recruiter] was sent by him."
The ANC Youth League secretary in the North West, Sipho Dial, and the province's head of elections and media, Oupa Matla, said there was a suspicion that Mahumapelo's provincial executive committee (PEC) was working to cripple the ANC in the North West.
Dial, who is a member of the PEC, said party members suspected the executive committee was sabotaging the ANC in the province by not dealing with internal problems.
"When comrades are angry at the ANC, it will be a boost for their campaign of this new party," said Dial.
"My view is that the PEC is not interested to ensure that the ANC emerges victorious in the next election," he said.
Dial said many provincial executive members were working against the ANC silently while holding official positions to sabotage ANC national leadership.
"But before or after they form their own party, they would have attempted to remove Ramaphosa through the [national general council] … they will motivate [it] by saying that under Ramaphosa, the ANC has lost support," he said.
Dial said the North West PEC was dominated by "gangsters who are working with Supra".
He added: "[In provincial executive meetings] they will give each other tasks, and not give comrades that are credible. After that, they simply go and do nothing. For instance, when the deputy president [David Mabuza] was in Mahikeng, they ensured that there was no attendance at the stadium."
Dial said that the night before, the provincial executive had been told that preparations had gone well and that a large crowd was expected.
Matla, a longtime Mahumapelo ally, told the Sunday Times that Mahumapelo was working to establish the ATC just as he had done to form COPE in 2008.
Matla said he and Nikiwe Num, who was an elections co-ordinator, had since been sidelined by the provincial leadership because they had refused to do "un-ANC things" for Mahumapelo's allies.
Num declined to comment.
"[Mahumapelo and his allies] decided to remove me … from ANC payroll because we refused to hand over information to [his people]," said Matla.
He said the information they refused to hand over related to data captured by the party in voting districts.
This information, he said, would have allowed registered voters to be targeted to the benefit of the new party.
Matla said he had taken his grievance at being removed from the payroll to Obed Bapela, the national executive member of the ANC sent to the North West.
He said he would tell Bapela of his unhappiness at being removed from the ANC payroll.
On Thursday, Bapela said he was off sick.
Mahumapelo and the acting ANC provincial secretary, Susanna Dantjie, could not be reached for comment...

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