Appointed premiers divide ANC

ACCORDING to ANC Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura, the ruling party has been "Americanised".

ACCORDING to ANC Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura, the ruling party has been "Americanised".

Makhura was referring in particular to the role that money, not talent and capability to lead, plays in lobbying for votes within the ruling party.

If what the Gauteng provincial secretary says is true, the ruling party is facing a serious challenge.

The "Americanisation" of the ANC means the party's leadership positions will be the preserve of the elites because of their financial muscle.

The recent Gauteng provincial elective conference re-elected Paul Mashatile as chairperson. He defeated his bitter rival Nomvula Mokonyane, who is the Gauteng premier.

The pertinent question is: why did Luthuli House appoint Mokonyane as premier when Mashatile is chairperson? It appears the Gauteng chairperson is not favoured by the ANC's top brass.

The Mashatile saga reminds me of the struggle of Free State Premier Ace Magashule.

During the Thabo Mbeki era, Magashule was overlooked for the premiership on more than one occasion, despite being the chairperson - and that compromised the unity in the province. He only became premier under the Jacob Zuma administration.

The ANC national leadership's tendency to impose its preferred people to lead provinces as premiers should come to an end.

This tendency causes unnecessary rifts within the provinces and among comrades.

Mashatile and Mokonyane worked together in the legislature for a long time. They were like brother and sister. In political terms they were allies. Not anymore. They are now bitter rivals - thanks to Luthuli House.

Word has it that Mokonyane has betrayed Mashatile on the premiership issue.

Apparently the two had agreed that if Luthuli House appointed her premier she would decline. She reneged on the agreement and accepted the appointment. That soured their relations.

When Mokonyane became premier she publicly declared war on the so-called Alexandra Mafia.

She also appeared to target Mashatile's allies who serve in the provincial government and frustrated them. This made her unpopular in the province.

The question is: why is Mokonyane so unpopular on the West Rand, from which she originates? Talk is that, unlike Mashatile, she has forgotten where she comes from.

Trouble started when the Gauteng premier overlooked her homeboy, Uhuru Moiloa, for an MEC position. She instead appointed him as a Gauteng provincial legislature chairperson.

That didn't go down well with the region. As a result, the West Rand region threw its weight behind Mashatile in the recent Gauteng elections.

Despite her nickname, "Mama Action", Mokonyane is all talk but no action.

When she was MEC for housing, she promised the Kagiso residents that low-cost houses were going to be built near Azaadville.

The land remains vacant and the houses are yet to be built.

Mokonyane should appreciate the fact that power lies with the people, not the office she occupies.

I suppose Mashatile's re-election has given her a rude awakening.

If she is to survive provincial politics, she should go back to the basics and remember her roots.