ANC Tshwane regional chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa appears to have lost branch nominations to become the governing party’s mayoral candidate in the City of Tshwane in the upcoming local government elections.
In what may be a case of history repeating itself when the ANC in Tshwane names its mayoral candidate for the local government polls, several party members yesterday told the Pretoria News that Maepa is not the preferred candidate for the top job in the capital city.
In fact, some of the party members even claimed that Maepa’s name will not be among the three candidates to be submitted to the provincial executive by the Tshwane region. Branch members have also described the ANC regional structure under Maepa as disorganised and dysfunctional.
“Another matter was his handling and managing of council affairs. He wanted to be mayor so badly that he ignored the fundamental requirement of negotiating with smaller parties for support, despite knowing that we did not have numbers in council,” said a party insider.
This came to the fore especially after we tabled a motion of no confidence against the then mayor, Solly Msimanga. For instance, he would insist that a mayor must come from the ANC. When you go into these talks, you need to have an open mind and be ready to compromise and accept other positions, but not Maepa; he wanted to be mayor and nothing else. His actions smacked of arrogance and selfishness, which has no place in the ANC in Tshwane.”
In accordance with the party process, branch general meetings (BGMs) nominate mayoral candidates as well as ward and PR councillors. The regional executive committee (REC) then submits the names of the preferred candidates to the Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC), which takes the final decision.
ANC sources claimed that following the latest round of BGMs at the weekend, which were mandated with choosing mayoral candidates, among others, Maepa is languishing at third on the nomination list.
The sources also said the margins were so high after the latest BGMs that even if Maepa wins the remaining few branches that were yet to finalise their nominations, he would still not garner enough support to be among the three nominees. The ANC is the official opposition in Tshwane, under a DA-led coalition.
Responding to a question from the Pretoria News, Maepa said the ANC mayoral selection process had not yet begun.
“The mayoral selection process is done at (the) provincial and finalised by the national working committee. We are not yet there with the process and thus don’t know who the ANC will appoint as a mayoral candidate in Tshwane,” he said.
There was a new process introduced for the upcoming polls by the ANC.
“Get a copy of the new ANC guidelines and familiarise yourself with the process,” Maepa said.
The insiders disclosed that the frontrunner was REC member Frans Boshielo, who they said enjoyed the support of several structures in the region, including the influential ANC Youth League.
Boshielo was deputy city manager of the City of Tshwane before 2016 when the then ANC regional chairperson, Dr Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa, was mayor of the metro. He previously served as ANC deputy regional secretary.
The party insiders said Maepa, who previously worked in the office of Ramokgopa and is thus familiar with the high life associated with being Tshwane’s first citizen, lost support because of his involvement with “undesirable organisations”, which are believed to include the FW de Klerk Foundation.
Maepa confirmed last year that he once served in the FW de Klerk Foundation.
At the time, he said he was not the only ANC leader to have served in the foundation, as others worked with the organisation too.
Maepa maintained he had been singled out because he helped to oust the DA in Tshwane. The DA was at the time embroiled in a legal battle to be reinstated as the ruling party after the provincial government placed the metro under administration.
Should Maepa’s marginalisation be confirmed, it will be the second time in as many local government elections that the ANC branches in Tshwane reject a sitting regional leader for a shot at the highest office in the metro.
In 2016, then deputy chairperson Mapiti Matsena, who has since died, was the preferred candidate for the region over Ramokgopa. The PEC and Luthuli House settled for then party MP and current Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza as a so-called “compromise candidate”.
What followed were days of unrest across the metro as people claiming to be supporters of Ramokgopa took to the streets and declared “no Sputla, no vote”. Despite running a solid campaign, Didiza and the ANC lost control of the metro for the first time to the DA. When the DA failed to get an outright majority, it formed a coalition with the EFF and other minority parties.
However, things later went south for the DA. Its first mayor, Solly Msimanga, faced motions of no confidence but survived. He resigned amid allegations of tender corruption to lead a provincial campaign for the DA. He is now provincial leader and caucus leader in the legislature.
He successor, Stevens Mokgalapa, resigned following a sex scandal. The incumbent mayor is Randall Williams. Both the DA and EFF are yet to name their mayoral candidates. Former MMC and acting mayor Abel Tau is the candidate for debutant ActionSA, led by ex-DA Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.