The ANC’s second attempt to restore calm in the troubled North West province, failed on Thursday.
Members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) were expected to face off with angry party members who were relentless in their call for embattled premier, Supra Mahumapelo, to go.
But three out of the four scheduled meetings between the senior members and party structures in the province collapsed.
Some party leaders have blamed the spectacular failure on ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s planning abilities.
The ANC leaders were forced to return to the province to quell violent protests and growing impatience with the party’s indecision about Mahumapelo’s fate.
In the Dr Ruth Mompati region, senior members failed to show up because the meeting was planned in a far-flung area, near the border with Botswana. An NWC member told Correspondent that the meeting collapsed because the party failed to provide reliable transport to the area.
Meanwhile, in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Ngaka Modiri Molema regions, the meetings were called off because they were dominated by party members calling for Mahumapelo to go.
Only the Bojanala region meeting went ahead. It almost collapsed when members arrived and demanded to be allowed to enter. NEC deployee Violet Siwela allowed all present to attend.
An ANC branch leader, who attended the Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional meeting, said: “Some comrades were closed off outside. They had a legitimate reason to attend, yet this REC [Regional Executive Committee] sat handpicking people to be allowed into the meeting.”
He said only the ANC’s head of organising, Senzo Mchunu, attended the meeting.
“Ace [Magashule] didn’t even make his own meeting,” the branch leader added.
Correspondent understand the meeting collapsed following a clash at the lodge, which many referred to as a “lion’s den”. Outnumbered Mahumapelo supporters, including provincial executive committee members, walked out of the meeting. Only one PEC member, Kim Medupi, remained behind.
“They bring in bouncers to deal with us and call for a meeting far away at a lodge where lions actually roam free. This is a sign that this was all orchestrated. We know where we stand. We don’t want Supra. We decided on this last year already,” said the branch leader.
Mothusi Shupinyane from Ward 30 in Mahikeng, attended the Ngaka Modiri Molema regional meeting and said NEC and NWC members Obed Bapela and Dakota Legoete arrived for the meeting, but that Nomvula Mokonyane and Meokgo Matuba were nowhere to be seen.
Shupinyane added that, although the meeting started, it collapsed while the regional secretary was delivering a report on the state of the party in the area.
“The venue was far. Some people who were seen to be against Supra had to organise their own transport and means to get to the venue. The meeting literally collapsed when those comrades arrived,” he told Correspondent.
Some people, including Legoete, just ran away and that was the end of the meeting, added Shupinyane.
Before the meeting ended, the regional secretary managed to highlight what most ANC members knew about the state of the organisation.
“Boy Noko confirmed what people had been saying. There is no ANC in this region. Only 33 out of 104 branches are in good standing,” said Shupinyane.
Correspondent understands those meant to attend the Dr Ruth Mompati regional meeting did not even bother, including its NWC and NEC deployees.
Some said that the venue close to the Botswana border was simply too far.
‘Supra needs to be removed with immediate effect’
Even though ANC members at the Bojanala regional meeting got off to a rocky start, they eventually kept the much-needed meeting going.
“We are honestly proceeding well. We have said all structures which were fraudulently put together must collapse. We’ve called for the PEC to also be dissolved with immediate effect,” said one ANC branch member who was still at the meeting. It continued well into the night.
“There’s an RTT (regional task team) which is completely biased. It must also go,” said the ANC member.
“Most importantly though, is [that] Supra needs to be removed with immediate effect. We can no longer go on with that man,” he added.
Attempts to reach the ANC for comment were unsuccessful.
The failed meetings are fuelling growing frustrations and putting pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove Mahumapelo.
Mahumapelo is facing a palace revolt, supported by the ANC Veteran’s League and alliance partners the SACP and Sanco.
The Veteran’s League is demanding that Mahumapelo be removed, his provincial executive committee be dissolved, and an interim structure brought in.
It submitted a detailed report to the party’s leadership more than a month ago, before violent protests erupted in the capital Mahikeng and spread to other towns.