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The battle for Limpopo

IT'S gloves off in Limpopo where various factions within the ANC are positioning themselves to take over the province after the December elective conference.

The battle for the soul of the party in the province has turned comrade against comrade.

Just as before the 2007 ANC Polokwane elective conference, anything goes, with comrades throwing skeletons out of one another's closets with abandon.

Limpopo has recently been in the spotlight following allegations about a politically powerful "Limpopo Mafia". Premier Cassel Mathale and his ally, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema are allegedly at the helm of a racket aimed at milking the provincial government dry.

Among the allegations is that the group has become so rapacious that it does not allow even a measly R20000 tender to slip through its fingers. Malema and Mathale have consistently denied the accusations.

As expected with the elective conference around the corner, the allegations of corruption have become the cultural weapons used to clobber political opponents out of the way en route to the Limpopo seat of government.

Corruption is indeed a scourge that needs to be fought and eradicated. As Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has pointed out, it has become a cancer that needs to be fought with all available means.

This because corruption undermines the government's commitment to improving the lives of the millions who continue to live on the margins of the new South Africa.

Having said that, experience has also taught us not to assume that any public declaration against corruption - especially from those susceptible to the scourge by virtue of their political standing - is necessary for the public good.

This means that as the public we need to be vigilant so as not to be led up the garden path by those who use our hatred for corruption to gain public sympathy in their fight for public office.

Our litmus test should be whether they have so far used their positions for the public good or to feather their nests in the name of "transformation" and "black economicempowerment".

As we observe the battles among comrades, we should do so with an understanding that whatever the outcome the leadership battle will inevitably shape how our interests are eventually served by those in office.

It therefore becomes important for us to guard against being used by individuals who "fight" corruption by others simply because they want "their turn to eat".

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