African National Congress members in Tshwane have elected Dr Kgosi Maepa to replace Kgosientso Ramokgopa as ANC chairperson.
Maepa has the arduous task of trying to win back the confidence of Pretoria residents.
The party lost power in the metro following a dismal showing at the 2016 local government elections, a development several leaders of the ANC in Tshwane and the province have said could only be blamed on the party itself. Protests ahead of 2016 election
Ahead of the 2016 elections there were internal squabbles, as the party at national level attempted to impose a mayoral candidate on the ANC in Tshwane amidst infighting. This resulted in violent protests, which spread across the region as residents rejected the move. A coalition lead by the Democratic Alliance now governs the capital city.
On Saturday Ramokgopa, who is also a former mayor, said "2016 was a spectacular setback" where the ANC was "rejected by its people".
Although all odds were tipped for Maepa and his entire slate to win all top 5 positions, delegates emulated the "unity slate" outcome of the ANC’s watershed national elective conference, which took place in 2017 at Nasrec. Members unified leaders contesting slates, electing Cyril Ramaphosa as president, David "DD" Mabuza as deputy president and Ace Magashule as secretary general. The three had appeared on Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's slate.
Maepa was elected leader, Aaron Maluleka as his deputy, Eugene Modise as provincial secretary, Charles Masemola as the deputy secretary and Simphiwe Mbatha as treasurer. All but Maepa featured on former treasurer Paul Mojapelo’s slate. "...replace whoever I have to replace"
Maepa, who comes with a wealth of experience in ANC governance as well as in the corporate sector, told News24 in the lead up to conference that he wanted to become a councillor, so he could lead the liberation movement when dealing with the DA.
"I will go to council, the first day after appointment, I will become a councillor… and replace whoever I have to replace," he said.
Maepa said he wanted to immediately work on an opposition strategy to take on the DA in council. He also questioned why the ANC in Tshwane couldn’t approach the Economic Freedom Fighters in an attempt to regain control of the city. He cited the red berets' decision to support an ANC candidate for mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay during an attempt to remove mayor Athol Trollip. The governing party opted not to field a candidate and as a result the EFF’s wishes failed.
He also said he wanted to rebuild the ANC’s branches in Tshwane and focus on making sure that when members were deployed to government it was with competent people.
"We deploy politicians but politicians must make sure those they appoint to executive positions are competent," he said.
"It will be useless building proper branches and then deploying the wrong people," he continued.