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Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.

'I couldn't defend the decision on Mbeki'

By unknown | Sep 30, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ido Lekota

The changing of guard in the government by the ANC leadership has claimed another victim.

Yesterday Gauteng's Premier Mbhazima Shilowa - a well-known supporter of former president Thabo Mbeki - resigned.

On Sunday the Democratic Alliance leader in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, warned that Shilowa was in the cross-hairs of Luthuli House's telescopic rifle.

Bloem was quoted in the media as saying he was aware of a plan to unseat Shilowa in favour of ANC provincial chairman Paul Mashatile.

Shilowa's woes followed his public pro-Mbeki statements after Judge Chris Nicholson's judgment in ANC president Jacob Zuma's case.

At the time he warned that if the ANC were to get rid of Mbeki it would lead to resignations in the cabinet. He also warned that such a move could divide the ANC.

As Shilowa predicted, Mbeki's axing saw the resignation of several cabinet ministers known to be Mbeki loyalists.

Yesterday Shilowa denied that he had been "pushed" to resign but said he was doing it out of principle.

"I am resigning due to my convictions that while the ANC has the right to recall any of its deployed cadres, the decision needs to be based on solid facts, be fair and just.

"I also felt that I would not be able to publicly explain or defend the NEC decision on comrade Thabo Mbeki with conviction," he said.

Shilowa denied rumours that he was starting or would be part of a new political party.

"I know of no group that is starting another party," Shilowa said. "I cannot be party to something I do not know."

The ANC has also denied that Shilowa was pushed.

"His resignation is entirely his own and the ANC thanks him for his contribution throughout the years," spokesman Nkenke Kekana said.

Kekana said the provincial executive committee would discuss Shilowa's resignation and decide on the way forward.

Mashatile - who is the MEC for finance and economic affairs - is expected to be appointed his successor.

lDespite ANC denials, Shilowa seems to be among Mbeki supporters believed to be on Luthuli House's hit list. Also believed to be on the list are Free State Premier Beatrice Marshoff and her Limpopo counterpart Sello Moloto.

Marshoff's fate was to be debated at a meeting yesterday.

lMoloto's fate is also said to be sealed after the swearing-in of new provincial chairman Caswell Mathale as an MPL. Reports say the ANC intends shuffling Moloto's cabinet.


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