mathale likely chair

It WAS a stalemate between ANC provincial secretary Joe Maswanganyi and provincial chairperson Cassel Mathale or victory for the latter.

This is how delegates of the ANC Mopani regional conference described the outcome of the three-day conference held from Friday until yesterday in the Eiland Spa near Tzaneen.

Mathale's camp, led by former ANC Youth League provincial chairperson Joshua Matlou, outflanked Maswanganyi's camp to assume all five coveted positions in the region.

Their victory came after Maswanganyi's camp in the regional ANCYL claimed all the top five positions against Mathale's.

Many ANC members, who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity, said the outcome of the conference was a victory to Mathale in that the powers of the ANC "mother-body" supersedes that of the youth league.

Speaking to Sowetan just after the announcement, Matome Khothonko Mopai of the Peter Teanet Branch in Tzaneen, who was a delegate, said he believed Mathale had a chance as provincial chairperson for the second term.

"This is because his camp has already won three of the five regions of the ANC in the province.

"It remains to be seen if Mathale will make it in the Capricorn and Vhembe regions, which are to hold their elective conferences in two weeks time," Mopai said.

Matlou was voted unchallenged after his rival Dimond Mushwana, purportedly a die-hard Maswanganyi supporter, withdrew his application to stand as regional chairperson.

Joshua Matlou was elected chairperson; David Maake was elected deputy chairperson; Bricks Manzini was elected secretary; Gloria Valoyi was elected deputy secretary and Clement Phalane was elected treasurer.

Matlou is stepping into the shoes of the longest-serving regional chairperson Matome Humphrey Mokgobi, who now serves as a Member of Parliament in Cape Town.

Mokgobi served the region for 17 years where he claimed the name of "the father of service delivery".

This after he single-handedly started several labour- intensive projects for the unemployed, disabled and for young adults, especially in the agriculture and tourism.

Addressing the conference after the announcement of the election, Matlou said:

"The experience I acquired as league provincial chairperson will help me to lead the region for the betterment of all the people of Mopani."