New MEC ‘gunning’ for Mpumalanga premiership accused of ‘tribalism’


Mpumalanga ANC provincial chair Mandla Ndlovu’s appointment into the provincial Cabinet is a strategic move to bring him closer to the people, where his passion lies, an expert says.

But Mpumalanga-based political analyst Goodenough Mashego said Ndlovu’s eye is on the main prize – to become the next premier in 2024.

However, the new position would work for him because he enjoyed working with grassroots people. But his weakness was his tribal orientation.

He did not think beyond his Shangaan tribe.

“I look at Mandla Ndlovu’s appointment to cooperative governance and traditional affairs as a strategy to bring him closer to the people since it works with municipalities,” Mashego said.

Service delivery protests take place at that level and often protesters demand to be addressed by the cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC.

Ndlovu is already looking at 2024 general elections and how he can swiftly become premier if he delivers a decisive victory in the province, he added.

Ndlovu was sworn in on Tuesday as an ANC MPL and as MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs.

Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane also announced Busi Shiba as MEC for agriculture, rural development and environmental affairs.

Ndlovu has previously never served in the provincial government but was an ANC chief whip in Bushbuckridge municipality.

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Mtsweni-Tsipane had little choice but to appoint Ndlovu, who was elected ANC chair in April.

This created a chicken and egg situation between them where Mtsweni-Tsipane, as premier, became Ndlovu’s boss and Ndlovu became her political boss in the ANC.

It has been a long journey for the diminutive leader, who endured many years under the imposing shadow of David Mabuza, then provincial chair.

With Mabuza elevated to the ANC and the country’s deputy president, Ndlovu began to emerge as a new political force in the province.

But his alleged tribalistic tendency as a leader bothered Mashego because his new position required he visit communities and brand himself better.

“[But] I should say this will backfire badly given his inability to see beyond tribe. Just last week he replaced long-serving ANC spokesperson Sasekani Manzini with Ngelosi Ndhlovu, someone who does not have a social media presence.

“Why didn’t they look for someone who has the skills and is not tribally linked?” Mashego asked.

The analyst said his appointment as MEC was meant to brand him as a leader who appealed to all, solved problems and was in touch with the people.

“What it will do is expose him to those who don’t know him. It might boost his profile with ANC branches because it will explain his presence wherever he is; whether doing party or government work.

“It’s a chess move that will backfire but an indication that he is in charge of the province regardless, as someone who can instruct the premier to reshuffle her Cabinet,” Mashego said.

Ndlovu filled a vacancy left by Mandla Msibi, who has stepped aside due to allegations of murder and attempted murder.

Msibi was forced out after he was elected treasurer in the Ndlovu-led ANC provincial executive committee despite the charges that emanated from the killing of a man at Coyotes Pub & Shisa Nyama in Mpumalanga.

According to Mtsweni-Tsipane, among Ndlovu’s mandates is to improve municipal audits, remove operational bottlenecks to improve service delivery efficiency and position municipalities as key nodes of economic development via the district development model.

Source: citizen