Moutse anger at ANC failure to turn up

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

Thousands of Moutse residents spent Valentine's Day at the local OR Tambo Stadium - waiting for ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe to address them.

They had expected him to discuss the reincorporation of the area back into Mpumalanga from Limpopo, under which Moutse has fallen since March 2006.

The stadium was packed to capacity by 10am but Mantashe failed to arrive. By 2pm the community members were incensed when Moutse Demarcation Forum's William Ramphisa told them that Mantashe would only get there at 4pm.

Residents pulled down ANC election posters and set them alight. By 5pm Sowetan received information from the MDF that Mantashe was on his way to the Philadelphia Hospital in Dennilton, about 7km from Moutse.

Moutse's SACP chairman Seun Mogotji said yesterday that he met Mantashe at Philadelphia hospital where Mantashe undertook to meet them on February 19.

According to the MDF's Mathews Msiza, Mantashe said he had asked for five delegates to speak to - but the MDF refused.

Yesterday Mantashe denied he was meant to speak at the stadium and said the organisers wanted "to anger the community".

Mantashe said he had agreed to meet the MDF at the local municipal offices, but the MDF had refused to attend.

"I have undertaken to meet them and other organisations on Thursday," he said. Mantashe said they would report back to the community after the meeting.

But Msiza is still adamant that Mantashe had stood them up on Saturday.