Tue Oct 21 05:43:16 SAST 2014

The protests are our fault

Apr 8, 2012 | ALFRED MOSELAKGOMO |

THE re-elected chairperson of the ANC in Mpumalanga, David Mabuza, has blamed the ANC leadership for the spate of service delivery protests that have hit his province in the past weeks.

FESSING UP: David Mabuza. Picture by Riot Hlatshwayo

Mabuza, who is also the province's premier, said this in his political report while addressing about 3,000 ANC members at the ANC Provincial Conference in Mpumalanga.

"At no stage should branches be part of destabilising municipalities," said Mabuza.

"The spate of protests that hit the province from time to time are largely caused by the absence of leadership from our side.

"We wish to re-emphasise the need to create a healthy space for the councilors to participate in the branch meetings," Mabuza said.

The last service delivery protest was in Zwelisha township outside Nelspruit, where communities burnt tyres and barricaded main roads.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday, Mabuza vowed that he would not reshuffle his cabinet to remove those who did not support him for re-election.

Some members of his cabinet opposed him and health MEC Clifford Mkasi wanted to contest him but did not receive enough nominations to stand.

Mabuza also hinted that he would not stand for another term.

"My feeling is that I will be 20 years in provincial politics and it will only be fair for those children we have groomed to be given opportunities.

"It's personal and I've not tested my view on this with the ANC. I'm prepared to discuss it," he said.

Mabuza said when he was first elected in 2008, the ANC was divided and today there are still a few people who are unhappy, but that does not mean he will reshuffle his cabinet to settle political scores.

However he was clear that his relationship with the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the province had deteriorated and he intends to tackle the party's secretary Bonakele Majuba in public.

"When he (Majuba) is on a public platform, he always attacks me.

"I say no, this is not how alliance partners should work. It has come to a point where I will attack him back.

"You ask yourself who has sent him to say all those things against me,'" a fuming Mabuza said.

To illustrate that the relations between the ANC and its alliance partners in the province had soured, Cosatu and SACP refused to give messages of support during the conference, which started on Thursday and ends today.

It was officially opened by President Jacob Zuma, who used the chance to criticize today's ANC Youth League, saying it did not know the policies of the party.

"All the leagues, be it the woman's league, youth league or veterans league, are part of the ANC, not independent.

"ANCYL should contribute to the policies of the ANC and come up with its own demands, as we see it doing today," said Zuma to a cheering crowd.

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