Mathews Phosa withdrew his court bid to nullify branch general meetings (BGMs) that nominated “unity” in Mpumalanga because his campaign manager submitted a false affidavit to court, the Mail & Guardian has learned.
Phosa’s claims that BGMs in Mpumalanga were manipulated to prevent him from being nominated were bogus and based claims by his campaign manager Ronnie Malomane.
The explosive revelation was made by the chairperson of the Mpumalanga branch dispute adjudication committee Billy Masetlha, who met with Malomane to discuss his allegations against the Mpumalanga branch leaders.
“In the vast majority of the wards within the province‚ members of the ANC were not provided with adequate notice of an upcoming BGM‚ nor were some members invited to attend. In many cases‚ notice was only provided to members [one] or [two] days prior to the BGM‚” Malomane argued in papers submitted to the High Court in Johannesburg.
The affidavit with Malomane’s claims was submitted to the high court on December 8 in an urgent application to nullify the 223 branches that nominated the “unity” candidate, and was withdrawn again the next Monday by advocate Dali Mpofu, who said the matter was settled out of court.
But Masetlha said that, when pressed to explain of the manipulation of BGMs and the systematic exclusion of Phosa, Malomane was unable to provide any evidence.
And that, when confronted, Malomane changed his story.
“We have dealt with the disputes thoroughly. Matthews tried to come with a huge story, but they misled him. His story doesn’t exist. I asked the campaign manager, and he said his own branch was fine, it was others that had a problem,” Masetlha told the Mail & Guardian.
“The campaign manager is a liar. I told him don’t take chances. They faked one of the affidavits, we discovered it on Monday. In Mpumalanga, we adjudicated the disputes and some held BGMs again while others were disqualified,” he said.
Malomane was in charge of Phosa’s campaign to be elected president of the party at its national conference in Soweto this weekend. Despite crisscrossing the country to meet with branches, churches and address memorial services, Phosa failed to secure a majority nomination for the position of president from any of the provinces or leagues.
He also did not secure a majority nomination for any of the top six positions, and will now contest to be elected to the national executive committee. Phosa also claimed that he would secure a third of the support from the province’s 800 delegates.
He was upstaged at the provincial general council in Mpumalanga, where former African Union chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa were nominated to take over from president Jacob Zuma.
Mpumalanga chairperson David Mabuza received the most nominations for the position of deputy president. But the most popular candidate in Mpumalanga appeared to be “unity”. It’s not clear who these branches will back in the presidential election.