Africa News 24-7 Team
ANC’s head of economic transformation Enoch Godongwana, a staunch supporter of President Cyril Ramaphosa, has been having secret meetings with ANC leadership of Sekhukhune region in Limpopo buying various leaders with promises of exonerating those implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal in exchange for their public denouncement of ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule and their endorsement of Ramaphosa.
Sekhukhune is Limpopo’s biggest and most influential ANC region. A source who was part of these meetings told Africa News 24-7 that the latest meeting, which was held in Irene, Pretoria on Thursday 21 March, that Godongwana met ANC Sekhukhune region deputy chairperson Julia Mathebe, regional secretary Jerry Maseko, deputy regional secretary Tala Mathope, and treasurer Bella Kupa.
The source said the meeting in Irene, was facilitated by Limpopo businessman Kabelo Matsepe, himself accused of benefiting financially from the VBS saga after he allegedly facilitated several Limpopo municipalities deposits into VBS.
Kupa, who was one of the mayors implicated in the VBS scandal, resigned as Ephraim Mogale mayor after her municipality invested millions of public funds in VBS. Limpopo ANC deputy chairperson Florence Radzilani also resigned as the mayor of the Vhembe District Municipality in December. She also allegedly demanded a bribe of R300 000 after her municipality invested R300m in the bank.
“Apart from the promise that Ramaphosa would quash all investigations into the VBS scandal and exonerate ANC Limpopo mayors and provincial leaders implicated in the scandal, comrade Godongwana came with promises to make us partners in the two shopping malls that are to be built in Tafelkop and in Jane Furse, as a reward for backing comrade Cyril,” said the source.
He added that Godongwana told them in no uncertain terms that Ramaphosa had to have a strong ANC support base ahead of the party’s national general council (NGC) next year. The source said Godongwana said there were fears that Ramaphosa does not enjoy convincing support in the ANC branches and there were some that are actively campaigning for him to be removed as president of the ANC and country.
“He told us that for Ramaphosa to survive, Magashule had to be weakened as he cannot be trusted in the run-up to the NGC.”
The source told Africa News 24-7 that Godongwana also claimed Magashule had plans to disband the ANC provincial leadership of Limpopo and put the province under administration.
“Comrade Godongwana said the SG is lobbying ANC national executive committee (NEC) members to achieve these goals but so far his plans have not been supported by members of the NEC.” The source said Godongwana said going forward, comrade Mondli Gungubele would be the one liaising with Sekhukhune and other ANC regions to implement the whole plan. Contacted for a comment Maseko confirmed being in Irene on 21 March but denied meeting Godongwana. “From time to time I meet several leaders of the organisation and the comrade you are mentioning is no exception. I have never been part of a factional meeting. I only went to Irene because that is where I had booked for accommodation. I went there to sleep after meeting a few leaders of the ANC. However, comrade Godongwana is not one of the leaders I met on that day,” Maseko said.
Mathebe denied being part of the meeting and so did Mathope who claimed to have been in Limpopo on the date of the meeting. He further claimed never to have met Godongwana. “I only see him on TV,” Mathope said. Several attempts to reach Kupa failed as her mobile phone was on voicemail.
Matsepe, who allegedly facilitated the meeting denied organising and attending the meeting. He told Africa News 24-7 that he knew who the source of “these malicious allegations” was.
Asked who the source was, Matsepe mentioned former State Security Minister Bongani Bongo. When told that Bongo was not the source and that he was not at that meeting, Matsepe said he was “absolutely sure” Bongo was the source. Godongwana did not answer several calls to his phone.