Roads and transport MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu. Picture: France Nyaka
A heated argument broke out between roads and transport MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu and Premier David Mabuza’s former spokesperson Ronald Lamola on Wednesday.
Lamola, who is also the deputy to expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, was the first to lash out at Mahlangu during the ANC’s centenary celebrations at the Thulamahashe Stadium near Bushbuckridge.
This came after Mahlangu gave a speech in which he called for ANC members to support President Jacob Zuma in the ANC’s elective December conference in Mangaung, in the Free State, and also support premier Mabuza in the provincial elective conference next month.
Said Mahlangu: “Members should be loyal to the party and lobbying is allowed in the ANC. People should be allowed to debate about the leadership and if their ideas are not supported, they should accept defeat,” said Mahlangu.
“I have been given a mandate and I’m prepared to follow it. The ANC in Mpumalanga will say it: ‘Zuma for president and DD Mabuza (the premier) for chairperson’. I don’t want anyone to change my mind on this.”
Lamola had earlier given a speech on “economic freedom” to wild cheers in the packed stadium.
A visibly angry Lamola lambasted Mahlangu, saying. “You are out of order. This is a centenary event, what you are doing is wrong.”
He said that within earshot of other ANC members.
“You should stop what you are doing because you are misleading the ANC members with your statement,” said Lamola.
Mahlangu refused to budge.
“I was just referring to the 2007 mandate. The branches will decide. And don’t put words into my mouth. I did not say we had already decided,” said Mahlangu.
Lamola stormed out of the tent and later explained to AENS that Mahlangu had no right to make such statements in public.
When approached for comment, Mahlangu said that a resolution had been taken to support Mabuza for a second term in 2007.
“I was referring to the 2007 mandate and I was not saying that now we will support Mabuza and Zuma.
“The branches of the ANC will decide who will be the provincial chairperson of the ANC and the president after the Mangaung conference,” she said.
ANC provincial spokesperson Paul Mbenyane said Mahlangu would have to clarify her stance because lobbying can only be done within ANC branches.
“There are clear rules. Lobbying is allowed within the proper structures of the ANC, such as branches, regional and national general meetings,” said Mbenyane. “To us it remains an allegation that Mahlangu was lobbying. It’s up to her and Lamola to explain themselves on the matter.” – AENS