Sunday, March 8, 2009



Wisani Wa Ka Ngobeni and Ndivhuho Mafela
Mar 08, 2009

Prominent Thabo Mbeki loyalists lose their seats to accommodate women, SACP
The ANC has dumped well over 100 sitting MPs from its list for the election, replacing them with supporters of party president Jacob Zuma.

High-profile casualties include minister of public enterprises Brigitte Mabandla, deputy minister of arts and culture Mantombazana Botha, national council of provinces chairman Mninwa Mahlangu, and deputy minister of agriculture and land affairs Dirk du Toit.

Minister of communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, former ANC Youth League deputy president Reuben Mohlaloga, who is chairman of the agriculture and land affairs portfolio committee, and former Western Cape ANC chairman James Ngculu also did not make the list.

The axe also fell on several former New National Party MPs who joined the ANC after the last elections.

They include Craig Morkel, who joined the DA before defecting to the ANC after a short stint as the sole MP for a now defunct party, the Progressive Independent Movement.

The ANC has, however, retained former NNP leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who is minister of environmental affairs and tourism — and he features among the ANC’s top 100 candidates.

The ANC list is dominated by Zuma supporters and representatives of Cosatu and the SACP, the ANC’s left-wing allies.

Businessman Tokyo Sexwale, former South African National Defence Force chief General Siphiwe Nyanda, national secretary of the Young Communist League Buti Manamela, former youth league president Fikile Mbalula, former youth league leader Songezo Mjongile and Thulas Nxesi, general secretary of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, feature prominently.

The list does include several cabinet ministers who served under former president Thabo Mbeki. The biggest casualty among the ministers appears to be Mabandla. She was axed even though she sits on the party’s powerful national executive committee.

Mabandla served as minister of justice under Mbeki. She was moved to her current position after a cabinet reshuffle sparked by the firing of Mbeki and the subsequent resignations by ministers sympathetic to the former president.

The ANC has 315 MPs serving in both houses of parliament — the national assembly and the national council of provinces.

An analysis by the Sunday Times shows that of the 315 sitting MPs, the ruling party has retained only 183.

A total of 133 MPs — including 38 women — will not be returned to their high-paying jobs after the April 22 poll.

The Sunday Times spoke to a number of the discarded ANC MPs this week. They all expressed different views on why they had been dropped.

Some said they believed that they had not been retained because of the ANC’s decision to raise the proportion of women in the national and provincial legislatures from 30% to 50%.

Others, however, claimed they had been dumped because of their perceived support for Mbeki, or because of suspicion that they might be aligned to the breakaway party, COPE.

Tsietsi Louw, an MP from the Northern Cape, who has been in Parliament for the past 10 years, said he suspected he had been dumped because he was seen as an Mbeki supporter.

“This is a consequence of Polokwane,” Louw said.

“Some of us were thought to be close to Neville Mompati (the former ANC provincial secretary who has since joined COPE),” he said.

Louw said his position had also been complicated by his wife’s decision to join COPE.

“But I cannot divorce my wife because she has joined another organisation. She supports other things which I do not.

“She is a fan of Orlando Pirates and I am a supporter of Kaizer Chiefs. She is a Christian and I am not, and we have been married for many years,” Louw said.

Themba Mahlaba, an MP from KwaZulu-Natal, said he believed the ANC had removed some of the sitting MPs to accommodate members of the SACP and to make way for women.

“We expected that a number of males would be left out. I cannot blame anybody for being left out. The process was fair,” Mahlaba said.

Morkel said that when he decided to cross the floor to the ANC, he had not been given any guarantees that he would remain in parliament.